Category: Lead Response

When is the Best Time to Call a Prospect?

The strategic timing of lead follow up shouldn’t overrule the need to respond fast

A systematically determined answer to this nagging question of the best time to call a prospect comes from a study by Their lead response management analysis considered three years of data to review callback success results for web-generated leads.

The study addresses two key preliminary goals: initial contact and lead qualification. It did not consider close ratios. While this may seem shortsighted, Steve Knight, senior VP of client services at TeleServices Direct, a worldwide provider of outsource call center services, points out that without making contact and qualifying the lead, “You will never have an opportunity to close, so it’s essential to pay close attention to these two initial objectives. Though closing is the ultimate goal, you need to walk before you run.”

Initial Contact Times:

The study found that making initial contact had the highest success rate at the end of the business day, from 4 to 5 p.m. This is over twice as high (114 percent better) than calling right before lunch. Interestingly, the second best time of the day to make the initial contact is after the normal business day, from 5 to 6 p.m., followed closely by 8 to 10 a.m. Middays, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. were the worst times to make the initial contact.

“This runs counter to what most salespeople think,” says Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, a boutique phone support service that is emerging as a leader in lead response services. “Though they rule out lunch, they also often avoid calls at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, yet those are statistically the best two times to call.”

Lead Qualification Times:

When it comes to lead qualification, the pattern is similar, though not exact. In this case calling the first thing in the morning, from 8 to 9 a.m., is tops, which is 164 percent better than the worst time of the day, right after lunch from 1 to 2 p.m. Following closely behind the beginning of the workday as being a good time to qualify the lead is the end of the workday, from 4 to 5 p.m. However, in this case, 5 to 6 p.m. is not good at all, contrary to the findings for initial contact success. The lunch hour is also a bad time to qualify a lead, with the rest of the day producing intermediate results.

Contact to Qualify Times:

The best time to contact a lead to qualify that lead is 4 to 5 p.m. “This aligns nicely with the two prior analyses,” says Adam Berkson. Interestingly, 2 to 3 p.m. is the second best, with 8 to 9 a.m., 9 to 10 a.m., and 3 to 4 p.m. in a virtual tie for third place. Ten a.m. to 2 p.m. are the worst times, as is calling outside of regular business hours.

“This is all interesting, but it is marginalized by the next part of the findings,” adds Berkson. Specifically, the chances of calling to connect with a lead decreases tenfold after the first hour, followed by another sharp drop of threefold after two hours. “This shows that minutes count, which is why our goal at LiveVoice is to call back leads within one minute,” adds Berkson. “Whenever you get a lead, act on it fast. Don’t wait for the ideal day and time to call, as that will only serve to work against you. Pick up the phone and dial.”

LiveVoice understands how important every call is to your business. Contact them about customizing their flexible, premium phone support service so you can turn opportunity into profit.

Peter DeHaan, PhD, is a freelance writer, call center authority, and publisher of Connections Magazine, which covers the call center industry.