How Quickly Should You Respond to Leads?

This article covers how to manage and handle responses from interested prospects to maximize booked meetings and closed deals.

Tyler Gillepsie
Jan 22, 2021
7 min read

How quickly should you respond to leads?

Struggling to reply quickly to leads? 

This is a good problem.

Having a dialogue with prospective customers is like playing a game, by the end of the conversation, you will have either won or lost the customer. This isn’t the time to be sending half-assed replies. You need to get strategic about how you communicate with prospects and manage lead responses. 

My name is Tyler Gillepsie. Over the last few years, I have built several productized services. I recently sold a productized content writing service to a private equity fund. There is nothing I love more than building service-based businesses that can take on a life of its own. I  now help online service business owners scale and grow. Much of this is fueled by personalized cold outreach techniques specifically on places like Linkedin.

In this article, I will be sharing exactly how to handle and manage lead responses from interested prospects. The philosophies, templates and tactics I’ll be sharing are the same ones I’ve used to scale and grow multiple services.

I will be answering the following questions in this article:

  • How quickly should you respond?
  • How can you improve response handling?
  • Can you batch lead responses?
  • Should you respond to every lead?
  • How can you nurture leads?

How fast should you reply to leads?

Research statistics from the Harvard Business Review have found that many companies are particularly slow at responding to leads. Conducting a study of 2,000 American companies, they found 24% took more than 24 hours  - and 23% of the companies never responded at all. This is quite poor. People don’t like to be kept waiting, especially when they are prospective customers.

If you don’t reply to every lead, and fast, they will choose a competitor or forget why they were interested in the first place. The research from Harvard Business Review showed companies who respond to leads within an hour, are 7 times more likely to convert leads to sales.

The faster, the better. I set a one-hour rule for all interested leads. During a regular working day, under normal business hours, how can you respond to all the leads in your inbox within one hour? First, set up email notifications every time a lead comes in with an automatic TAG of “urgent”, or “Lead”—which all email providers have under settings. Then, simply make it a priority to handle those emails within an hour. 

How can you improve response handling?

A person can improve their response handling in several different ways. Response time is important but many other things should also be considered. Before you start engaging with prospects, you need to find out as much information as you can about the potential customer. This will help you to ask targeted questions.

If a question doesn’t need to be asked, why bother asking it? You need to keep communication with prospects smooth. An endless back and forth could potentially disengage the prospect. Ultimately, this will depend on whether they have any questions of their own. The method of communication can also influence how you respond to leads.

For instance, if a lead gets in touch with you via a direct message or a connection request on LinkedIn, the tone is likely to be more conversational than it would be via email. The tone and style of your language needs to reflect this. No matter how new prospects are getting in touch with you, sales scripts must be in place for each marketing channel.

It’s important to have access to sales scripts for your core marketing channels at the click of a button. I would recommend crafting unique sales scripts for each marketing channel.

Storing template responses will help to build a scalable sales operation and speed up the process of responding to individual leads.

Start thinking about the most common questions you get asked by potential customers. Make a list of these questions and draft your answers. When you inevitably get asked one of these questions by a lead, you will have a pre-prepared response to send their way. This is exactly the kind of preparation that separates good lead management from bad lead management.

Can you batch lead responses?

You can certainly batch lead responses and organize them based on urgency. If one person is ready to sign up and another is expressing interest for the future, which do you prioritize? The former, of course. When you have a steady stream of new leads coming in, prioritization is going to help you to get the ball rolling quicker and get off on the right foot with customers.

If someone’s ready to go, don’t leave them waiting. This could cause them to suddenly change their mind. You need to leave regret out of the lead management process. There’s nothing worse than regretting how you responded to a lead. You can avoid these situations by going into every conversation with a game plan, much of this will already have been drafted through templates and sales scripts.

Batching lead responses based on urgency could be beneficial to a business receiving dozens of leads every day. If you are just starting, systematizing your lead management process could still be helpful in the long-term. When you begin scaling the business, having a solid lead management process in place is going to serve you well and assist in driving further growth. 

Should you respond to every lead?

Before you respond to leads, you want to qualify them. If they aren’t qualified, you can put the lead into a nurture sequence. Don’t leave people hanging in the dark, respond to every single person who contacts your business. Building relationships is key to the success of any business. Regardless of whether or not these conversations will result in conversions, you should invest time in talking with those who show an interest in your business. 

How can you nurture leads?

There are so many ways to nurture leads. The best thing you can to nurture leads is to personalize the buyer’s journey based on their specific needs. If they are asking certain questions, you can point them to the answers with educational blog content. Educating prospects can boost their confidence and get them to a point where they feel as though they’re making an informed buying decision.

To educate your prospects, you need to create content around particular pain points. This could be included in regular email newsletters. It’s important not to bombard prospects with emails - only re-engage when necessary. Email isn’t the only method of communication to use, think about other ways to engage prospects.

Most of the time, 50% of the leads in your system are not going to be ready to buy. This means you still have to do some work before they turn into paying customers. Getting leads into the pipeline is only half the battle. The real work begins once they’ve expressed interest. You need to do everything you can to get them over the finish line.

Final Thoughts

I hope this article has given you some ideas on how to handle and manage lead responses. With the right mindset, this doesn’t have to be a challenging endeavor. If you are currently trying to map out an effective lead management process, I would be more than happy to speak with you. I work with a variety of productized services on lead management strategies. Feel free to connect with me anytime here.

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