Following the Lead[er]

“Everybody shows up once,” offers Dan Kennedy, author, marketing guru, and presenter at New York’s Infusionsoft marketing event, “Fix Your Follow-Up” tour. Kennedy took to the stage in four cities over four short days, instructing audiences that contacting customers once is not enough -- in fact, the absence or inadequacy of the follow-up is the biggest expense a company will face, he says. Kennedy shares some of his marketing secrets, all of which he says wouldn’t be possible without Infusionsoft’s marketing automation software. Infusionsoft sponsored the event and the company’s CEO and president articulated his vision for true small businesses and entrepreneurs. 

“All businesses have some success at sticking to the operations system,” Kennedy says. “Hardly anyone has a marketing system. Most people have random erratic acts and because they don’t have a system, they can’t do good follow-up.” Kennedy, an author of 13 books and a marketing coach for many high-level companies, provides that the average customer is susceptible to 13,412 marketing messages per 24-hour cycle. To prove his point about the importance of following up, Kennedy shares details of a home-grown experiment he conducted after buying a new house. When home mortgage postcards and mailings began to flood his mailbox, Kennedy laid all of the printed flyers, postcards, and letters onto two large tables. By the end of an eight-week period, the two tables were covered end to end with home mortgage mailings from different companies. However, only in two cases, did a company send more than one mailing and in only one case, did he have three postcards from the same company. “Everybody shows up once,” he reiterates, emphasizing the point of making and keeping contact with leads. 

“Trust is built with a certain number of contacts, conversations, communications, and showing up a certain number of times,” Kennedy says. Building trust leads to closing sales – something that just can not be done with one measly postcard mailing. Kennedy offers some of the reasons why companies may not follow up with prospects. One of which is due to manual headaches and overall business complications. However, he advises, the more complicated the marketing system, the better. 

Clate Mask, Infusionsoft CEO and president, explores the pain points that many small companies run into when trying to executive effective marketing. He shares that small businesses and entrepreneurs often are so consumed with putting out daily fires that following up with leads falls to the wayside. Mask, who says he personally experienced the pains of trying to grow a business, is on a mission to show entrepreneurs and the five-man-shops that it doesn’t have to be so hard. The Infusionsoft product automates marketing plans and takes out the manual grunt work. “We are not just a software company. We are about empowering entrepreneurs,” Mask says. Infusionsoft will be releasing a new version of its software at the end of the month, a product that Mask says will “revolutionize” marketing for true small businesses. Up until this point, Infusionsoft has been geared towards companies doing direct marketing, but the company executives say the new release will greatly expand customer possibilities.  

When asked what they have learned from the prospective customers attending the week’s marketing tour, Mask and Infusionsoft vice president of sales, Adam Ross, say that it is obvious that people are tired of the “old way of trying to grow a business.” Ross says the economic climate and the need to “recession proof” businesses has also been evident. “By looking and understanding that putting marketing before sales, keeping your existing customers happy, and returning and not letting the leads slip through the cracks and making the most of every single one of them – That’s how you recession proof your business,” Ross says. “If you want to do that, then you have to make the commitment.” He goes on to say that in the current economic climate, many companies cannot afford to close on only one out of ten leads. 

On that same note, Kennedy says the worst thing a company can do in the time of a recession is to lower its prices. “If you try to live off one out of 21 [leads], you will starve,” he says. “Profit is not in the low-hanging fruit.” Kennedy explains that in times of a recession, especially, companies should focus on establishing a follow-up system, one that happens on a regular schedule. He goes on to provide a list of five ways a company can increase its profits – advice especially appreciated in today’s tough economy:

  1. Always provide good, better, and best pricing options. Five percent of customers will buy the “best” product even when it makes no sense at all. A staggering twenty percent will buy “better” if it’s offered. The impact on the bottom line can be huge.
  2. In a recession, make up with volume loss by raising prices. Look at it this way: Ten percent of those affected by recession won’t come because of the economic situation. However, even if you lowered prices, those ten percent still wouldn’t come.
  3. Target better customers.
  4. Take advantage of upsells. The best – and easiest— time to get customers to buy is when they are already buying.
  5. Multiply customers with a post-sale follow-up. This is easier than trying to find a new customer. Sometimes customers are not ready to buy, but that doesn’t mean they are lost forever. Sixteen percent of non-buyers come back and buy. What’s the lesson to be learned? Follow up.

News relevant to the customer relationship management industry is posted several times a day on destinationCRM.com, in addition to the news section Insight that appears every month in the pages of CRM magazine. You may leave a public comment regarding this article by clicking on "Comments" at the top; to contact the editors, please email editor@destinationCRM.com.

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