Have your children ever asked for a puppy? You probably had some variation of the standard reply, “Puppies are a lot of work. If you get one, you’re going to have to take care of it.” And then you followed with a long list of difficult tasks that come with having a puppy.

So it goes with leads. Everyone wants them, but are you willing to put in the hard work to take care of yours?  Yes? Well then, with thanks to the sales expertise of InsuranceNewsNet’s account representatives, here’s your to-do list for proper care of your “puppy”:

Prompt Follow-Up

Whether a digital lead or an inbound call message, make sure you call as soon as possible, ideally within five minutes. Just like you need to scold or reward a puppy immediately so they connect their action to your reaction, your busy and distractible lead will also need to connect your call with the ad he or she responded to.

Prepare for the Call

Whether the leads are inbound, or you’re calling to follow up, make sure you and/or your marketers have a script or general outline. Puppies won’t behave well if you’re not firm and sure of yourself, and prospects are the same way. Preparation exudes professionalism and trustworthiness because it enables confidence, organization, focus and clarity. It also makes sure the important points you want to cover aren’t omitted.

That Goes for Voicemail, Too

Make sure you know exactly what to say if you have to leave a message. Or don’t leave a message. That’ll make them curious about who called and why. Then when you call again, they’ll see that same number and be compelled to answer – to see why you keep calling!

What Not to Say

Don’t say you’re calling to “follow up” or “touch base.” Have something exciting to share. If you’re leaving a message, give them a reason to call you back. Promise them something, but don’t say what it is, and they’ll be begging for it like the last bite of your steak. Again, never simply say you’re “following up.” That’s a dead end.

Keep at It

Consistency, repetition and fortitude are crucial in raising a puppy. The same is true with your lead. If you can’t reach them on the first try, try again. And again. And again. Try different times of day. If phone calls don’t work at first, try to get through in a different way, such as email or direct mail.

When you do make contact, make sure you set up the next step before getting off the phone. Schedule an appointment or the next call or establish a timeframe when they’d like to receive an email from you. There are a lot of different beliefs out there about how many touch points it takes to make a sale. Some say five to eight, some say seven or more. Either way, it’s more than one.

Be patient, keep reaching out, be firm and consistent, and don’t give up until your “puppy” finally “listens.”

Be Positive

Rewarding good behavior is a much better way to train a puppy than by scolding bad behavior. Friendliness and a positive attitude go a long way no matter what you’re doing. Call with a smile on your face.

Be enthusiastic. Love what you do and glow with that passion. Use humor. These are all ways to make yourself a person your prospects want to talk to.

Don’t get too discouraged if your lead isn’t friendly back. He or she might just need a nap. Try again another day or time, and catch them at a better moment.

Just like raising a puppy, when you put in the work to take care of your lead, your reward is a trained and loyal ally for years to come.