You’re investing in Google Ads every month. Email and website enquiries are coming in. Now, how do you turn those leads into business? Did you know that 71% of the leads companies generate on the Internet are wasted?

So, what is the problem?


Companies don’t respond fast enough to leads.


In fact, they take 46 hours and 53 minutes to pick up the phone and respond to a lead. And the sales rep who does call only makes 1.3 call attempts before giving up and moving on. And recent research shows it is getting better, but only slightly. Forbes has tested over 10,000 companies in fifteen different “secret shopper” studies over the last five years and these are the combined numbers from all tests. They fill in a lead on their website with a real phone number and email address and track how fast they respond and how many calls or emails they make. Their in-house research shows only 27% of leads ever get contacted. Yet with a combination of awareness, best practices, and technology; companies can contact around 92% of leads.

An increase from 27% to 92% is an increase of 341% lift in results just by responding immediately and persistently to leads.

The Internet is shortening our attention spans, but sales teams still have absolutely no idea how fast they need to respond to online inquiries to be effective. And IT and marketing departments are rarely any better, often tying up leads for hours or days just getting them routed to the right place. The following graph shows results from a study done on the matter:


Graph from original research from Dr. James Oldroyd and showing response time by 5 [+]

What Dr. Oldroyd found was this (taken from the original Executive Summary):

“The odds of calling to contact a lead decrease by over 10 times in the 1st hour.

The odds of calling to qualify a lead decrease by over 6 times in the 1st hour.

After 20 hours every additional dial your salespeople make actually hurts your ability to make contact to qualify a lead.”

“The odds of contacting a lead if called in 5 minutes are 100 times higher versus 30 minutes.

The odds of qualifying a lead if called in 5 minutes are 21 times higher versus 30 minutes.”




The next big question is: why is response time so important?


  1. When we call back immediately we know where they are. It’s called “presence detection.” If they just typed in an inquiry on a website, they are probably still on their computer and by their phone.
  2. When we call back immediately we are still on their minds. This is “top-of-mind-awareness.” The average call back time is 46 hours and 53 minutes. Do you remember any of the sites you were surfing on nearly two days ago?
  3. The “Wow Effect.” Do you remember the first time you called someone with Caller ID and they answered and called you by name? Didn’t it send a shiver up your spine? But when tested, this ‘best practice’ seemed to impress people by the speed or “hustle” that’s exhibited. In surveying them, their most common word was “Wow!” And they exhibited an emotional response that built trust, a feeling like, “that is probably the way they are going to service my account.” It’s called the Wow factor.


Forbes then coined the words “immediacy” for speed of call back, and “persistency” for how many call attempts are made. So then, how many call attempts should we make to call people back? They averaged the contact ratios (the contacts divided by the dials to reach somebody) and found across all industries that they average between 10% and 11%. So if you want to reach someone, make 9-10 dials, not 1.3. And what they just proved again in their most recent study with 39 hour response times is that common knowledge is still not common practice. Companies who know these truths are wreaking havoc amongst their Internet peers who don’t.

In the words of Alese Elkington, our main take away from this research is: “Congratulations guys, you just figured out you need to call people back… quickly!

Need help with generating new leads to start with? Get in touch – we can assist!


For more tips on how to close leads, visit:


Credit: Ken Krogue –

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