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Managing the Prospect Relationship          Print the current page
by Brian Chmielewski

Increasingly more people are facing the unique challenges associated with business prospecting as they are "leaving the rat race" for their own successful cyber-businesses. Internet marketing ranks high among the toughest fields when it comes to generating new leads and quickly closing sales from them.

Once a business' online marketing engine is operational, generating a healthy flow of qualified leads from advertising and web site traffic generally isn't a problem. The real challenge lies in capitalizing on that flow of leads in order to drive sales and earn profits.

What's one crucial key to generating maximum profit per lead? Yes, there is a fortune in follow up contact.

Why Do We Sometimes Neglect the Follow-up?
The typical marketer may send one follow up email, mail out a single brochure or catalog, make one follow up call, or send out one fax, and then sit back and wait for the prospect to visit their web site, place an order, email with further questions, or take another desired action. Even seasoned marketers that are keenly aware of the value of follow up sometimes neglect this crucial activity.

Offline follow-up, of course, is more time-consuming and expensive than online follow up, considering the time and expense involved in long distance phone and fax calls, mailing or shipping of marketing materials, and so forth. Due to its speed and extremely low cost, email could be considered the ideal follow up marketing tool. However, without an efficient system for implementing email follow up, problems can still arise.

Why the Need For the Follow-up?
It's a fact that most people typically don't buy (or take other desired action) as a result of an initial marketing contact, even if they are perfectly targeted candidates for an offer. It's not unusual for some follow-up marketing contacts to generate approximately the same percentage of sales or other desired action as the initial contact. There are a variety of things that can prevent prospects from taking desired action as a result of initial marketing contact.

For instance, they may have....
* Accidentally deleted, lost or forgotten about your offer.
* Be considering your offer or procrastinating.
* Been burdened with many other priorities.
* Be distracted by "information overload" or other priorities.
* Felt they have not enough information to make a decision.
* Not enough money to buy at this time.
* No trust in you, for any a number of reasons.

You've probably heard the following cliche before, but it's worth repeating: "Marketing is a numbers game." The greater number of contacts you have with a prospect, the greater chance they will finally act on your offer.

Different prospects will, of course, be at various stages of the sales process. Some may be just one follow-up contact away from acting on your offer while other prospects may require several more meetings or phone calls before they're prepared to make a final decision about making a financial commitment.

Do you have a process in place to insure properly following-up with the questions, concerns and information of your prospects? Is this process long and thorough enough to motivate your real prospects to act on your offer?

Regular communication with prospects may seem like a mundane activity, but if you want maximum your sales capabilities, you must seriously consider implementing a systematic follow up system. Otherwise, you're wasting a significant amount of time and money and investing in giving your competition the great advantage of closing leads first.