Here’s a question I often get: “At what point should you stop marketing to someone on your list?” My personal opinion is that you never stop unless they specifically tell you to stop, give you reason to believe they will never buy from you or they give some indication that they aren’t the type of client you’d want to acquire. No point in shooting bullets at targets that, even if you hit them, don’t count for anything. But for most, leads are given up on way too soon. Considering the fact that most businesses are on a 3-5 year schedule to upgrade their server or network, you need to let a prospect “simmer” for at least that long before you can count them unconvertible.
In a business builder interview I did with Dean Jackson, he gave some powerful insight into this question. Dean has spent the greater part of his professional career developing marketing strategies for realtors. One of the strategies he teaches them is to use a monthly newsletter and/or postcard to stay in front of potential prospects so that when that prospect is ready to sell their house, they will think of that realtor and give them the business. Simple. Given the fact that most people don’t sell their house all that often, this question comes up frequently with his clients as well because sending a monthly MAILED newsletter year after year can get pricey.
But Dean shared that one of his clients who was excellent at tracking and reporting numbers showed him recently that only 5% of the leads they generate decide to list their home with his real estate practice in the first 3 months of showing interest. But, 10% would list with them within 3-6 months, and 40% would list with them in the 6-12 month range. Even more interesting is that 25% would list with them 12-18 months after their initial contact, and 20% after 18 months. That means a full 45% of the clients they acquired came in AFTER the SECOND year of marketing to them. If they gave up marketing to these leads after 3 months, they would be missing out on 95% of the business they could get. And given the fact that most real estate deals represent thousands of dollars in commission, I think it can easily be argued that the money invested over 2 years in monthly newsletters is a BARGAIN compared to the return.
My questions to you are:
1. What are you doing with the leads and contacts you’re generating that don’t close? Are you giving up after a month? A week? Are you even following up at all? Acres of diamonds, babe!
2. What are you doing with the CUSTOMERS who haven’t bought from you in a while? So often I see businesses focused exclusively on getting new clients while completely overlooking the dozens of people who, at one point, wrote them a check only to never return. Do you at least know WHY they didn’t return?