The Law of Time-Decay for Leads

There is an unscientific law that applies to leads you gather, regardless of where they come from. This law applies to leads from Google AdWords, a form on your web site, a message left on your answering machine or a form filled out at a tradeshow.

The law is this: as time goes on, the interest level of the lead continues to go down.

The way it works is similar to the half-life decay of radioactive materials. On Day 1 just after a prospect has submitted a lead, they are the most radioactive or keenly interested in your product/service. If you get hold of the prospect on Day 1, your chances of moving them along the sales process is very good.

Starting from Day 2 on, every day that goes by where you do not speak with a prospect means that the likelihood they remain interested continues to deteriorate.

After about ten days have gone by, you might as well move the lead to your “cold” pile. If you hadn’t gotten hold of them by now, it’s unlikely they’ll still be interested UNLESS your product or service is so unique that your competitors are few and far between OR your sales process is extremely long (years).

If you have any sort of sales automation software or even if you track prospects in Excel, simply create a column for “Date Submitted” and “Date Contacted”, along with “Date Closed”. You’ll find that leads with a large difference between “Submitted” and “Contacted” are rarely closed.

So what does this mean? It means that you must do everything in your power to make first contact with a lead within the first 24 to 48 hours. Sometimes it is out of your control in terms of their availability, but we’re talking about what is under your control.

Don’t waste your marketing budget on generating leads only to let them sit and decay.