This post was contributed by Joy Gendusa, Founder and CEO of PostcardMania.

How many leads have come into your business this year that did not close?

How many leads have come into your business since the beginning of time that never closed? That is an important question. Probably a lot.

Whether you have a small company or a large one, the best leads are the ones that are easiest to close, right? But what about the prospects that reached out but never closed? They are in an abyss: The Unclosed Sales Lead Abyss.

What are you doing to follow up with them? Are you following up? Do you have a fixed idea of when a deal is lost forever?

Let’s think about it.

What did it cost you to get that lead? We’ll look at a hypothetical analysis for direct mail:

  • Postcard marketers will tell you to send out 5000 postcards to get a response
  • It costs you $2,000 to send out those postcards
  • Let’s say you do that and you get 50 calls
  • Those calls cost you $40.00 each

The Return on Investment (ROI) of this example is:

  • You make $1,000 from every sale
  • You close 20% of those 50 calls, so you get 10 sales that are worth $10,000 total
  • Deduct the $2,000 you spent for the postcards.
  • That gives you $8,000 more in your pocket.

Congratulations! That is a decent ROI, but what about the 40 leads that never closed? You spent $1,600 ($40 X 40 leads that didn’t buy = $1,600) with no ROI.

Now ask yourself, how many of your leads don’t close per month? An average of 40? Multiply $1,600 by 12 months and you are losing $19,200 a year!

What are you doing to close all of those leads?

How many phone calls do you make before you decide that a lead is “unclosable,” zero, two, three? Did you leave a message on their voicemail and when they didn’t call back, you dropped them?

How many of your salespeople are simply cherry-picking their leads, so to speak, and not closing or following up with the rest? How many of these dropped leads do you have? Can you see the waste?

Don’t get discouraged. Getting educated in marketing and determining your ROI is a major step in the right direction. Initial great ROI is what you should be going for, but don’t stop there! There is more to do.

You need to follow up

Even if you didn’t get the ROI you anticipated or needed, you still need to follow up with those leads. But how? More specifically, what kind of campaign should you do to get even more ROI?

Good question. Here’s the answer.

First of all, realize that these prospects reached out to you for your product or service and you CAN rekindle that initial interest. They are much easier to close, and more valuable, than someone who has never shown interest before. Build on that.

You don’t have to send out a mass mailing of postcards again to revitalize their interest. We’re only talking about a small number of leads that need to be followed up on with a catchy message each month.

They responded to a postcard and will respond again to the right communication. The same postcard may work, but you want to send repeat communication to those initial responsive leads and word it in such a way that they will want to reach out again. Send a direct mail postcard, an email, or both. Follow up repeatedly with an even more personal communication than what got them to reach out to you the first time.

What would that message be?

Get as much information as possible from the people who responded to your initial mailing, and mine that data for ideas about what would be most appealing to them to make them contact you again.

It’s called Database Marketing, or CRM (Customer Relationship Management). This means getting data about each one of those people and putting those data points in a database.

What do you need to find out? All kinds of things, including:

  1. How did they find out about you in the first place?
  2. What kind of product are they looking for?
  3. Do they have a deadline for that need? (This tells you how hot they are to buy.)
  4. What is going to cause them to purchase or not purchase? (Ask!)
  5. What makes them want to do business with you? (Again – ask!)

You can find out all of this information while talking to your lead when they first reach out. The more interest you show in that person, the more they will like you and will want to do business with you. It is not how interesting you are, or how low your price is, or how great your company is – it is how much you show interest in them!

If you ask questions and carefully note the answers, your interest in them will cause even your initial closing percentage to go way up. And you will have data about your leads in your database, so you can look for common denominators about those people. Then, you can structure your communications to them based on those common factors.

Take that information and send out small-batch mailings

These particular mailings are for different segments of the people that have already reached out for your product or service; the message is based on what they have told you. Make it personal.

Usually, you have to send out a generic piece of direct mail, with no personalization, and order a large quantity to meet printing companies’ minimum print runs. They have minimums because it’s cost-effective for them to sell to you in that way. But that’s not what you need.

You need to send out postcards that are specific to each prospect, meaning that they have “variable data” fields that can be personalized to each prospect.

“Variable data” is data that changes from postcard to postcard. With PostcardMania, the data can be taken from any database or CRM. This lets you personalize a full-color, glossy postcard without having to type a custom letter.

Some examples:

  • “John, it’s time for your dental cleaning”
  • “John, now is the time to get that pair of sunglasses you wanted”
  • “John, you can refinance your house to pay for Johnny Jr.’s college tuition”

If you were “John,” wouldn’t these get your attention?

Different people need different amounts of communication

Postcard marketing experts tell you to hit your target list with postcards over and over again because some leads call after the first postcard, while some others call after the 5th time. People move at different speeds in life and in business.

And that’s true for closing the sale, too. So, don’t waste those leads.

Consistently put out your communication with a personalized message until they buy.

Here are some steps to get started:

  1. Put it in your calendar to make three different follow-up phone calls
  2. If you get voicemail, then leave a message that really communicates to them
  3. Send a variable data postcard
  4. Send an email

Just stay in touch. You will be glad you did.

Joy Gendusa founded PostcardMania in 1998 with a phone, a computer, and no capital investment. Since then, she has grown the company into one of the nation’s most effective direct mail marketing firms, specializing in postcard marketing for small- to large-sized businesses. Over the years, she expanded to offer mailing list acquisition, website development, and email marketing — all while continuing to educate clients with free marketing advice.

She has been named Tampa Bay CEO of the Year, Business Woman of the Year in Tampa Bay, and has been featured on MSNBC’s “Your Business.” PostcardMania is an Inc. 500 and 5000 company and has won awards for creativity, best business practices, and leadership. If you would like to interview Joy or book her as a speaker, please email joyspeak@postcardmania.com