A favorite quote of mine is, “one should never attempt to start a revolution with people who are content with the status quo.” When companies reach a satisfactory level of success, they usually quit innovating and become guardians of the status quo. But yesterday’s business processes will be obsolete tomorrow.
Vinyl records were replaced by 8-track tapes. 8-tracks were replaced by cassettes. Cassettes were replaced by CDs. And now, CDs are being replaced by MP3s. The same is currently happening with business practices.
MIT found that if you call an e-mail lead back in the first five minutes, you’re 100-times more likely to make contact with the buyer than if you wait 30 minutes. Leads360 evaluated several million leads and found that the sales conversion rate improved 391 percent when the lead was called within the first 60 seconds. Yes, I said seconds!
We can now confidently say that a target e-mail response time of 24 hours is obsolete.
But how do we achieve such a fast response in a retail environment that’s not conducive to handling e-mail inquiries?
Numerous retailers are now employing technology that instantly and automatically accelerates e-mail leads into phone calls. In order to better leverage these technologies in the marine industry, more and more dealers are setting up inexpensive cell phones for their dealership. They then direct all e-mail leads as phone calls to these designated cell phones. In essence, they have now created a “lead hotline.”
Internally, it’s common for this phone to get passed from salesperson to salesperson in order to guarantee an instant phone response when a new lead is received. When the phone rings, there is a new level of excitement in the showroom. “When that phone rings, you know it’s time to make some money!” one salesperson said.
I heard from a dealer recently who connected with the buyer by phone and sold a boat just 41 minutes after the initial call was received. Talk about taking a customer off the market!
Another dealer told me that they connected on the first lead they received, talked for 45 minutes, and set an appointment in the dealership for the following day.
Please don’t misunderstand me; simply responding to leads quickly is not the only answer. You still need the right product, price and other elements that go into a buyer’s purchasing decision. But if you respond first, and in an impressive manner, then you’ve taken control of the sales process and are likely to win more often than your competitors.
So don’t be a guardian of the status quo; embrace innovation and take the lead in your market.