“What is the number of times a Sales Development Rep (SDR) should attempt to contact a prospect before moving on?”
Before you put a system in place for your inside sales reps to follow, you may want to consider that the lead temperature will have a factor in how many times an SDR will reach out to a prospect, as well as how often.
THERE ARE THREE MAIN “LEAD TEMPERATURE” CATEGORIES:
Below, I’ll show you an example for each one of these lead types for your team to consider but before I do, keep in mind that most sales teams simply use what I call the “RUN AMOK” method, which basically means everyone does their own thing, and there really is no system or rhyme or reason. The RUN AMOK method is causing you to lose deals. Not only do you need an adaptable system (how many times to call a prospect) but you also need to know EXACTLY what to say on each different attempt.
If a lead is “cold” (has not made contact in the last 30-days – or EVER) BUT has the criteria to be at least considered a highly probable suspect, my call schedule (cadence) is going to be less urgent. An example might be calls on Day 1, 3, 5, 10 and 30. This is just an example to help you get your creative juices flowing in order to develop what works best for you and your sales team.
A warm lead can be classified as a hand raiser but not as hot as a proposal request. One option is to give them a call on day 1, 2, 4 and 6 (again, just an example).
If a hot lead comes in (form is filled out on website requesting info / proposal request etc.) I’m going to be all over that lead, calling more than once in the same day for sure. At minimum, I’m calling them twice in one day leaving a voicemail + plus email each time. (You will need to know exactly what to say to increase your call backs – simply saying “I’m following up regarding your request” isn’t going to create the urgency you need in most cases to get them to stop what they are doing to call you back.) So if I call twice and get voicemail twice, I will leave a message and send an email each time. If I call a third time in the same day but get voicemail, I’ll hang up. Sometimes I will also ASK for the gatekeeper for their help in getting ahold of the prospect.
If I don’t hear back after day one, I will try twice on day two and once on day three. If you don’t hear back from them by then, they may have found another solution already, had a hotter fire fall in their lap, or had to go into the witness protection program. I will often EMAIL them asking which of those three options happened to them and I usually get a response back.
PS … I like to also have specific emails that go out the day after I call them for the first time as well as after I’ve called them the second time. So if I know that I am calling a lead on Day 1 and Day 3 and skipping a call on Day 2, I have it set to send them an email on Day 2. It reminds them of the voicemail/email I sent them the day before and I often get a response or an appointment set from my Day 2 emails.
I use the phrase “Day 2” just to make the article as easy as possible to follow however, internally, we don’t use Day 1, Day 2, Day 3 terminology because there are always instances where calling or emailing someone the day after won’t make sense. An example would be where you call a prospect for the first time, get voicemail, leave a message and then send an email, only to get an automated VACATION ALERT auto reply from the prospect. It makes no sense to still schedule a “DAY 2” email if you now know they are out of the office till next week. Therefore, we use 1st Attempt, 2ndAttempt, 3rd Attempt, etc. Hope this helps.
– Michael Pedone
Michael Pedone helps inside sales teams conquer call reluctance by teaching them a step-by-step call process. Michael Pedone’s blueprint for success helps inside sales reps to set more appointments and how to close them. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – an online sales training company.
This infographic from InsideSales.com tracked the best practices when responding to leads.
They are primarily talking about internet leads and the impact of an immediate response, then follow-up with that lead through the sixth attempt.
Look at how few salespeople will actually try past three calls with a new lead!
It also covers the best time of the week and the best time of the day for success in reaching leads effectively.
A recent post Chris made on the insurance forums:
“I really can’t recall reading anyone who just started from day 1 selling 3-5 med sups a week yr round? It just seems med sups are part time selling for 3-5 yrs till it builds up and you’re making $100k plus a yr”
When I started selling Medicare Supplements by phone, I was using direct mail from Mainstreet Powermail and relied heavily on their experience with historical response rates to guide where I would do the mailings. As I could mail anywhere in any state, I asked their rep for guidance as to the absolute best state response rates in the country and then in that best state. Believe it or not, I was getting 4 to 6% response rates in Michigan at the time.
I was writing 3 to 5 deals a week and only working Med Supps two days a week in the early days. I then continued to mail, fill the pipeline, and moved eventually to doing it five days a week, away from a mix of doing local final expense sales in person. Making that transition was a balancing act, because the final expense sales paid more, up front, but I knew from the residual income aspect that it was a better, long term play to get into the Medicare Supplements.
When the direct mail returns started to go down and we had two postage rate increases close to each other, I turned to telemarketing. I paid a local guy to do my calling and he would gauge interest and then build me up to the potential client on the phone, setting an appointment for me to go over their options based on how much they would save by switching to a new carrier on the same plan. This, too, worked very consistently.
Fast forward six years later and the phone rings all week from referrals now.
I write three to eight deals every week from referrals, spouses of clients, or posts I’ve put on the internet that are discovered by those shopping.
It is nice not having to do outbound marketing. This is something that I was told, early on, would happen but was hard to believe when it felt like it was so hard to get any traction in the business.
“It just seems med sups are part time selling for 3-5 yrs till it builds up and you’re making $100k plus a yr”
You can do it part-time and get there slower, for sure. I know many agents who started selling Medicare Supplements at night after their full-time jobs. I started part-time doing it just two days per week but set those entire days aside to concentrate on this aspect of my business before going full-time.
If I had it to do over again, I would have done it the exact same way. I probably worked 30 hours in those two days, early on. I know for a fact that it greatly depends on how hungry you are. I see, day in and day out, agents who rely on their spouse’s income to support their family and they treat their business as a part-time hobby. That won’t cut it. Those in that scenario do not have the fortitude to weather the rejection and stay long enough to enjoy the income.
On the other hand, I see agents who commit to cutting their safety net and it is sink or swim. They swim. Their commitment level is do or die and that makes all of the difference in their mindset to working the hours necessary and doing whatever it takes to make enough presentations.
Whichever direction you choose to go in, I strongly suggest investing in help with the prospecting, then the prospecting and pre-screening as soon as you can afford to do so. There is no greater time waster than spending YOUR valuable, limited and precious time with those that are uninterested. Even worse is spending 95% of your time with those that are uninterested and even if they were interested, unqualified to take action (due to health, qualification to buy a Med Supp, etc.).
I continue to find it extremely liberating to have someone on your schedule that understands what you do, knows the price of the best plan for them, knows that they will likely qualify based on the health questions OF that plan and knows exactly what their savings will be once they consummate that transaction with you.
This was my best lesson learned in this business:
Personal observation in my neighborhood about positioning and the insurance professional.
If you are considering local marketing, please use the methods described in this post.
The results are much better and the positioning makes you out as the expert you are.
Leaving flyers, door to door, for insurance leads is not only a tough way to go, but doing this yourself means you have nothing better to do and leaves you in a very bad position in the mind of your prospect. There is a way to do it where you can introduce yourself, show what you have to offer (much better than a corporate brochure) and have others deliver these packets much more efficiently FOR YOU.
See the post: Getting Started Without Leads
It is ALWAYS better when you develop your own leads for insurance sales. Rather than relying on lead vendors, who very often rip off the unsuspecting agent, when you learn to create your own leads you can control the quality, the quantity of leads, and your costs along the way.
Many of my clients are now finding my agency from the online world.
It is getting to be essential to have a presence online that is credible, persuasive, and looks professional.
This is the neatest thing I’ve seen in a very long time.
It makes the nicest looking pages I’ve ever seen, but adds animation and lots more, if you want it.
Here, I show a couple of demo sites that I created in 10 minutes and 15 minutes, respectively.
You can check out this awesome software and see more comprehensive demonstrations here: MedicareAgentTraining.com/profitbuilder
The question will naturally be “Can you make members one of these cool web sites?”
The answer is no, not at this time. With my schedule, it’s just impossible, and with this super easy tool, it is too easy for anyone who wants a great looking site, to build it in minutes. Learning how to directly control your internet presence is essential, and becoming more so each and every day.