Hey Credo pro –
You’re on Credo because you want to build your business and get more clients. One of the toughest parts of any sales program is getting responses from leads, and Credo is no exception. When you are responding to an Open Lead on Credo, you’re one of multiple (up to 4) responses, so you still need to set yourself apart from others.
When you respond to a lead on Credo, I receive a notification that you sent a response as well as the response itself. Because of this, I get to see things that multiple people do time and time again. I can then help you out. After all, Credo is not just about leads – it’s about helping you grow your business, whether that’s more leads, sales coaching, or even help with your own marketing.
Back to the point of this post.
When I see your responses to leads, I frequently see responses like this (verbatim):
“Let me know when you’d like to talk about your project.”
That’s it. No introduction, nothing personalized to the lead.
And subsequently, you don’t get a response. And then you’re frustrated.
Let’s talk about some of the basics that you need to have in place on every response to leads that you get, no matter where they come from. By following these guidelines myself, I get a response from a lead 98% of the time (I’ve only not received a response twice in the last year, and those because I took a day to respond).
Make It Personal
People don’t do business with just anyone who can fill their needs. People do business with those they trust. If someone called you the wrong name, would you do business with them? Likely not.
By “make it personal”, I mean that you need to have at minimum these three things in every lead response email:
- Use their name (“Hi James!”)
- Reference their site (“I took a look at http://thecoolestsiteever.com and think there’s a lot of opportunity!”)
- Reference what they say they need.
Through all of this, what you’re trying to do is establish the beginning of a relationship, that you are a real person on the other end and that you genuinely care about them.
Because you do!
Speak To Their Needs
If you’re responding to an Open Lead, you should first of all be sure that you are able to deliver on what they say they need. Many non-marketers don’t know exactly what they need, so they select the services that they think they need.
As a professional, it’s your job to guide them to growing their business in the right way. If they need SEO, then that’s the route you go down. If they need link building, then you do that. If they need Facebook advertising, then you do that.
The point here is, you should make a reference to the services that they say they need.
“Hi James! I see that you’re looking for SEO and content help for TheCoolestSiteEver.com. I’d love to discuss that with you…”
Now they feel heard by you.
Show Your Experience
Next, you need to allay their concerns that you might not know what you are talking about or that you might not be able to actually help them. When dealing with small to medium businesses who operate hand-to-mouth when it comes to revenue and expenses, engaging with a marketing consultant or agency is not a small expense.
Since you’ve already established that you are a real person, you now can help them see that you are able to do what they need. If their site is an ecommerce site, then mention that you’ve helped (number) ecommerce sites grow their traffic and revenues over your career. If you specialize in (their type of site), even better! Tell them that!
“Hi James! I see that you’re looking for SEO and content help for TheCoolestSiteEver.com. I’d love to discuss that with you. I see that your website is set up for ecommerce. We at Best Agency consider ecommerce to be our specialty, and we’ve helped over 75 ecommerce websites grow through digital marketing over the last five years.”
Be Brief, Not Curt
As business owners or even an employee, we have a lot going on all the time. We’re fortunate if we only have one job description – the reality is that many of us have multiple.
Your potential (and current!) clients are the same way. They don’t have time to read lengthy responses from someone they don’t know. If you make them do too much work or give them a paradox of choice (I often call it “paralysis by analysis”), most of them will simply not do anything.
Look at the example we’ve been building through this post. It’s five sentences long.
You don’t have to be verbose, and actually in sales being verbose can be detrimental to accomplishing what you need to accomplish – closing more clients and retaining them.
We’re aiming to be brief, but not curt. When you’re curt, the potential client gets the feeling that you don’t really want or care about their business. They’ll go elsewhere.
But when you use a brief message effectively to build trust, allay their fears, and build their confidence in you, that is when you start to see more success.
Have A Call To Action To “Discuss” Their Project
Finally, have clear next steps. If you want to get them on a call, ask if they have a time available during a specific morning or set of days. Once again, if you leave it open to them to define when they can talk, they won’t do the work.
Hopefully you are good at time management and have specific times that are best for you to do calls. Even better, have that time blocked out on your calendar so that you’re not scheduling other meetings over it.
There are (at least) three good ways to make responding easier on prospects. I prefer the first two, but your mileage may vary.
Block Off Time
Block off a period during a few days where you dedicate time to talking with new prospects. In your response to a lead, tell them:
“I have time available Monday 1-3 EST and Tuesday 10-12 EST for a 30 minute call to see if there’s a good mutual fit here. Does a time in there work for you?”
Choose A Time For Them
Block off a specific time on your calendar and let them know. If that time doesn’t work for them, then they can respond and let you know.
The psychology behind this is fascinating (I was almost a psychology major in university, hence my nerdiness here). Most people dislike disappointing others or inconveniencing them. By picking a time for them (e.g. “I’ve reserved 10:30AM EST for our call. Please let me know where I can call you, and if that time doesn’t work let me know and we can find a time that does!”)
You’re leveraging their psychology to get the correct desired outcome.
Send Them A Link To A Calendar
One strategy I see a lot of sales people employing these days is sending others a link to either Calendly or their marketing automation system (like Hubspot) to choose a time that works for them. In fact, I do this when I already have a relationship established with them, but not before.
Here’s why. Engaging someone in a conversation as quickly as possible greatly increases your chances of closing the deal. If you just send them a link to schedule a call with you, there are two things at play now:
- You haven’t had a conversation at all with them yet (email conversations count) and thus you have no intuition about if they might be someone you want to work with or not.
- They don’t know you yet, even if you’ve written the best brief response email ever. They are less likely to schedule a call with someone they don’t know than someone they do.
I think tools like Calendly and Hubspot’s scheduling tool are fantastic. As I said, I use Calendly myself. But I don’t use it to schedule initial calls with potential clients, because it doesn’t give me the chance to build a relationship with them off the bat.
“Hi James! I see that you’re looking for SEO and content help for TheCoolestSiteEver.com. I’d love to discuss that with you. I see that your website is set up for ecommerce. We at Best Agency consider ecommerce to be our specialty, and we’ve helped over 75 ecommerce websites grow through digital marketing over the last five years.
We at Best Agency like to have a brief call to get mutually acquainted before we create and send over proposals. Right now, I have available tomorrow 10-12 and Tuesday 3-5 EST. Does a time in there work for you?
I look forward to speaking soon!
Andrew Chen, Sales Manager”
The early bird gets the worm. It’s true in nature and it’s true in sales.
If you get a lead into your email inbox, whether from Credo, your own site, or an introduction from a friend, you need to recognize that this potential client is likely talking with a few other service providers as well. Even if it’s a direct lead to you through your Credo profile, chances are large that you are not the only provider they contacted.
So, you need to respond as soon as possible. You’ve likely seen the statistics that for every second longer your website takes to load, you lose a certain percentage of sales. The same is true for sales. For every additional hour that it takes you to respond to them, your chances of receiving a response and thus closing that business decrease.
Your goal should be to respond to leads within an hour of receiving them, assuming they come in during your business hours. Otherwise, aim to respond in the first hour of the next workday. If you want to respond to emails even when you’re not working, that’s your choice.
I have to be honest – I hesitated to give you the script I have because I don’t want you to just take it verbatim and use it. If that happens, then leads through Credo are going to receive the same message from everyone and you won’t stand out. So take these principles and apply them to your own business:
- Be personal
- Speak to their needs
- Show your experience
- Be brief, not curt
- Have a clear call to action
- Respond quickly
If you want, I am happy to take a look at your proposed response after you’ve put it together. I’ve helped many agencies now get better at sales, and I’d love to help you as well. Just email me firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll get back to you with feedback!
Looking forward to helping you continue to grow your business!