Category: Lead Response

Sales Success Hinges on Picking Up the Phone and Calling

When a lead comes in, smart marketers call fast and aim to call first

Lead response is the key to sales success. Slow response produces low success, while no response equals no success. “The flip side—a fast response produces optimum results—provides today’s sales objective: Call fast and respond first,” says Adam Berkson, president of LiveVoice, a boutique call center company, that specializes in providing successful lead response services geared to today’s time-strapped buyer.

REspond First

With today’s impatient buyers, they tend to go with the vendor who responds first. Though studies vary somewhat, this happens in about half of all cases. “While not to put too fine a point on this, the leading success factor in handling sales leads is not price, not product quality, not available features, and not customer service, but simply being the first to respond,” says Berkson. “While it certainly helps to be good, being fast seems to be the essential element.”

Respond Fast

The study continues with the startling finding that sales reps who respond to leads within five minutes are twenty-one times more likely to qualify the lead then those who call within thirty minutes.

Median and Average Responses are Subpar

Where things really get interesting, however, is looking at the length of time it takes for companies to call back. The median time (a measurement of the centrality of a dataset) is an abysmal three hours and eight minutes, which is almost thirty-eight (37.6) times longer than the desired five-minute response time.

However, the average response time (another representative number) stands far worse at sixty-one hours, which is over two and a half days. Even more shocking is that 47 percent of the vendors in this study didn’t bother to respond at all.

“This represents quite a range,” Berkson adds, “from a five-minute response standard, which outpaces a thirty minute slow reaction, to a medium of three hours and eight minutes, to an average of two and a half days, to ‘let’s not even bother’ to call at all.”

Response Speed Communicates Much

“The response time sends a strong message to the prospect,” says Anthony Vesho, chief operating officer at TeleServices Direct, a worldwide provider of outsource call center services. Five minutes says that they’re “highly motivated and want to make things happen.” Thirty minutes says, “Consider us as a backup vendor.” A three-hour delay communicates that they’re “a second tier outfit” and two days shows they don’t have their act together, while not responding at all proves that they don’t care. “In today’s economy, speed means everything.”

The New Gold Standard

Berkson seconds this need for speed by setting a new standard in lead response rates. His company’s objective blows the old ideal of five minutes out of the water. “Our goal is to respond to leads within sixty seconds, a mere minute.” His company’s results confirm just how important it is to respond to a lead that fast. “We want to call them before they’ve had a chance to mentally move on to something else. As the old saying goes, ‘Strike while the iron is hot.’ That’s the key to sales success.”

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.