Internet inquiries are often the bread and butter to capturing new leads for several clients. These inquiries can come from phone calls or web forms on the site, and they are a way to generate new business. By converting these leads into real customers, each company can gain new customers as the site becomes more visible on the Internet. How does one convert a lead into a real customer? How quickly should the company respond to web forms? After reading through several articles and working with several different clients, I’ve gathered a list of best practices on how to respond to leads.

According to an Inside Sales report, most companies in their research took an average of 44 hours to respond and at least 55% of these companies did not respond at all. The longer it takes a person in the office to contact the lead, the greater the loss in attention span for these potential customers. Harvard Business Review even reported a lack of urgency in lack in response time by several firms.

Here are the best ways to convert leads:

  • Best Days to Make Contact
    • Wednesday
    • Thursday (preferred day)
  • Best times to make contact
    • Best time to call: 4-5 pm
    • 2nd best time to call: 8 – 9 am
  • Response Time
    • Best within 5 minutes (10x decrease after first 5 minutes)
    • Autoresponders for web forms are good if it’s tailored and personalized
  • Persistence
    • Calling back once is not enough. People may not be able to answer the phone immediately.
    • Making at least 6 call attempts (90% chance of converting) since reps give up too soon

When a customer contacts you via internet form or call, the customer is already interested in you — so seize that opportunity! A lead can turn cold fast if a company does not make the effort to contact the customer back immediately.

In addition to looking at keyword rankings and traffic, form leads and calls are one of the ways we show our value to a client. These leads provide true ROI to our clients and can demonstrate some of our efforts. Once we send these leads to our clients, it is in their hands to convert them into real patients and customers. Is your staff taking the initiative to following up with a customer within 24 hours? Within the hour? You may be losing out on leads.