I’m putting together a 2011 budget right now for my little corner of the operation for which I work.

We do several outdoor events each year and need to replace (and upgrade) our 10′ x 10′ pop-up tent.  A colleague and I briefly searched online, found a solid-looking vendor with a nice range of products and narrowed down their offerings to our specific interests.  Because it wasn’t perfectly clear from their website how our combination of tent, accessories and printing would cost, I actually picked up the phone and called their 800 number to speak with someone directly.

I am deep in the funnel.  I am a highly qualified lead.  I know what I want.  I know you provide it.  I’m on the phone with you RIGHT NOW.

I am a $2,800 sale waiting to happen.

Sales, Funnel, Conversion, Leads, Prospects, Customers, Generate, Convert, Sell, Qualify, Highly Qualified

A basic sales funnel out of which I was allowed to jump.

So what’s the issue?  I spoke directly with an employee for three to five minutes about purchasing $2,800 of goods and services from her organization.  At no point, however, did she ask for my name, my phone number, my email address, the organization on whose behalf I was calling … nothing!  No system.  No protocol.  No foresight.  If she’d asked, I’d certainly have given her all four of those pieces of information.

How do you expect to close highly qualified leads – to convert them into paying customers – if you can’t even follow-up with them?

There are many vendors who provide these kinds of promotional displays.  There are probably many competitors who provide the goods and services you provide.

When you’re lucky enough to have a highly qualified lead fall into your lap, don’t let them jump out of your sales funnel.  Set up a basic system to follow up with them.

It seems elementary because it is.