Get the Facts About Lead Response Times

April 22, 2023 07:20 PM By Will Andre

When you run a small business, every opportunity matters. The next person who's looking for your product or service could turn out to be your best long-term customer or client. Responding to leads in a timely manner could mean the difference between life-changing wealth and a lifetime of struggle. 

Does lead response time matter?

A 2011 study conducted by the Harvard Business Review found that companies that responded to leads within an hour were seven times more likely to qualify the lead as compared to those that responded just an hour later. Additionally, they were 60 times more likely to close the deal than companies that waited 24 hours or longer.

t's important to note that there are likely to be a range of factors that can influence the success of closing a business opportunity, and response time is just one of them. Other factors may include the quality of the product or service being offered, the competitiveness of your pricing, the expertise and experience of your sales team, and the overall fit between the opportunity and the needs of the customer.

In other words, the faster you respond to leads, the more likely it is you'll convert them into a customer. Yes, lead response time matters–a lot.

How can I improve my lead response time?

There are a few things that you, the small business owner or salesperson, can do to improve your lead response time. This may sound obvious, but first, think about your best-performing sales channels. For example, think about the way you handle inquiries that come in on the phone versus, say, Twitter. Are you more of a talker or a typer? If you're a better salesperson on the phone, you probably want people to call you. On the other hand, if you're not often in a quiet place, or you prefer to sell through messages and DMs, maybe WhatsApp or Telegram are what you want to put in front of customers as your preferred contact methods. 

Another thing to think about is ease of contact for your customers. If you're responding to a lead with a message that makes it harder for them to contact you, you are hurting your response time. For example, let's say you're an accountant and you see a post on social media where someone says "I'd like to speak with an accountant about my taxes." Many accountants would respond to this with "here's my phone number, call me any time," or "I'd love to help you, here's a link to my website."

While those are helpful responses, they don't make it easy for this customer to contact you. The reality is, unless they specifically ask for it, sending someone to a website today is like sending them backwards in time; they're just going to get buried in information instead of getting in touch with you. In marketing speak, this is called sending them back to the "top of the funnel," which is starting them over in their quest for a solution. Even sharing a phone number isn't very helpful when it's in a social media post or comment. Phone numbers aren't clickable on any social media platform, so you're essentially asking the customer to care enough to remember your phone number and to then type it into their phone app–it ain't gonna happen.

All that said, there is a very important caveat here. Your prospects have their favorite ways of communicating, too. So, you need to make sure you try to "read" the prospect when they reach out to you, and communicate with them in the way that makes the most sense for both of you at that moment. For example, if someone sends an email saying something like, "Please contact me , I need help with a broken pipe," you probably don't want to send an email asking where it's located on their property. No, in that case you'd probably want to pick up the phone and call, because a broken pipe is an emergency, and you can be the hero if you read the customer right.