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The #1 killer of Mother’s Day plants and unsold leads

Did you know that one-quarter of all plants purchased throughout the year are purchased for Mother’s Day? Mine lasted exactly 12 hours.

My little preschooler knew, per her teacher’s instructions, my plant needed water to eventually bloom. However, her enthusiasm to get the little plant blossoming came in the form of watering by the gallon, six times in one day. Alas, our little sprout lived a short life.

Overwatering, in simple terms, chokes the life right out of your plant. In gardening terms, soil that is constantly wet doesn’t have enough air pockets. As a result, plants are not able to breathe by absorbing oxygen with their roots. When this occurs, your plants start to wilt, giving the appearance of too little water (go figure) even though the soil is wet. Once my daughter saw her Mother’s Day gift start to wilt, she watered it, and watered it some more… and then some more. My poor plant never even stood a chance.

You know that feeling when you find the golden lead, AKA the “ideal customer”? That perfect someone who fits the mold in every way and would stay loyal forever? It’s exciting! Naturally, you want to take really good care of that lead, so you water them with your enthusiasm, information, and education.

Then one day, for whatever reason, that golden customer stops opening your emails. Or returning your calls. Or replying to your texts… In plant terms, your lead starts to wilt. What do you do? You water it some more – if they only had more information…. And some more – if I was just a little more charming…  And some more – if they could just see how amazing this program is… Until that lead is dead.

How not to nurture a lead

I am fairly certain we have all been on the “wilting plant” end of a sale. About 15 years ago, I filled out a sheet somewhere saying I may be interested in a new vacuum cleaner. Not long after, a salesman showed up at my door, unannounced, at dinner time on my birthday. Trying to be kind, I let him in. I told him we were interested but another time would be better. He didn’t listen.

“Being a good listener is probably the most overlooked sales skill of all. Many sales reps spend far too much time talking, and nowhere near enough time listening to what the customer truly wants. If you listen attentively, and pay attention, the customer will tell you everything you need to know in order to close their deal.” — SPIRO

He proceeded to tell us that I needed this vacuum cleaner for my birthday and would be convinced once I saw how it worked. He then went into a very lengthy demo to the tune of screaming children and a dinner that was growing cold… Two hours later we finally rid our home of the vacuum man. I gave him 10 points for moxie and -1000 for nurturing.

Needless to say, if he considered me a potential customer, he dowsed me with so much nurturing that I literally drowned. Not only did I not buy a vacuum from him, but I wrote off that company and any other door-to-door vacuum salesman for the rest of my life. It was that bad.

“79% of marketing leads never convert into sales. Lack of lead nurturing is the common cause of this poor performance.”

What is lead nurturing?

You can actually take the guesswork out of caring for your plants by learning how to read a plant tag. These tags tell you everything you , including sunlight needs, watering requirements, and growth rate! Potential customers come with a set of instructions too.

We call it lead nurturing – everything you need to know to build relationships with individuals who are not currently ready to buy but could be ideal customers in the future.

The goal of lead nurturing is to build a relationship with a lead before trying to push a sale onto them. Trying to make a sale without first building a relationship is like asking someone to marry you on the first date. Sure, it may sometimes work, though rarely, but it is certainly not a recommended.

Only 25% of leads you generate are ready to buy today.

We live in a digital age where nurturing potential customers has conveniently moved from off the doorstep and onto a screen. With that advancement, it is really easy to lose the personal touch. In order to build any relationship, you must keep it personal.

Make it personal

Create a “plant tag” or form to get to know the basics about your lead: name, company (if applicable), age range, interests, form of contact they prefer, best time to contact them. And use a communication platform that allows you to input these personal details.

Every morning I perform an inbox cleaning ritual. I quickly swipe delete nearly every email in my inbox. The only emails that dodge swipe-to-delete are not the ones that use my name or have some sort of personalized subject line but rather those that have personalized content.  

“Consumers are four times as likely to respond if content is personalized.” — AutopilotHQ

This statistic could also read, “Consumers are four times less likely to delete if the content is personalized.”

Here are some best practices to consider when personalizing the content of your message:

  • Segment your lists based on behaviors, location, skills or interests.
  • Incorporate details about their company or family in the email.
  • Find out which product(s) they are interested in.
  • Learn the problems they are trying to solve.
  • Know their pain points.

When you optimize your lead nurturing in this way, you strongly increase our chances of converting a lead.

Use the right tools

While engaging in all the right places is generally the rule, make you sure you understand which communication method your lead prefers. While email or phone calls may be your preferred method of communication, it may not be theirs.

“90% of leads would rather be texted than called on the phone.”

By simply asking them which method of communication they prefer, it is almost a guarantee their eyes will see your message, or their ears will hear your message. If texting is their answer, you need to learn more about how to best text your customers. 

Consider timing

Let’s go back to that vacuum cleaner. Did I need a vacuum? Yes. Was I interested in the exact product that was being pushed? Probably. (I wouldn’t have filled out the form otherwise.)  The deal killer? It was my birthday and we were in the middle of dinner; I wanted to spend time with my family. Terrible timing.

These days, 90% of lead nurturing will likely not take place at the doorstep, but it is a good reminder that timing is everything. Regardless of how amazing your product is, or how interested your lead may be, catch them at the wrong time and you could be written off forever.

Reach your audience where they are – whether they’re on their phone, in their home, or opening emails – at the time they wish to be contacted. As part of the personalization package, make sure you ask them the when that best time is and how they wish to be contacted.

Last, if you have followed all of the instructions and that lead is still hesitant to grow, ask yourself questions like, “Is the lead a good fit for my business?” or “Does this lead need more time?” There’s no amount of nurturing you can do to force a lead to convert if the fit or timing isn’t right. Know when to let go and then do it.

“Some people believe holding on and hanging in there are signs of great strength. However, there are times when it takes much more strength to know when to let go and then do it.” — Ann Landers

If it is a promising lead and you see signs of growth, try adding these three tips to the journey and monitor your results. While this is a great start, find a system that works for you and keep up to date on the latest practices and you will certainly keep those leads alive!