You Call THAT a Lead?

BY: ON MONDAY, JULY 21, 2014

Sales is like dating. You start by defining the qualities you’re looking for in the ideal mate (or prospect), and then figure out the best way to meet that person.

Let’s say you're single and looking for a long-term relationship. You're a little older and wiser now, so you take time to reflect on the profile of your perfect match. It turns out you want someone sober, smart, hard working, and honest, and who loves theater and concerts. Would you go looking for that person in a bar? Probably not.

It’s the same with “qualified” leads. We have to change how we talk about sales leads so that we’re looking for the right customers in the right places.

That’s Not a Lead—It’s a Waste of Time

Inquiries are not qualified leads, and neither are those coveted lists of names. Someone who visited your website and downloaded a white paper is not a qualified lead, nor is someone who viewed a demo. This kind of thinking is how we get our sales pipelines clogged with cold leads that almost never pan out.

Leads are people who are truly interested in talking to you about your product or service. They match the profile of your Ideal Client. They have budget—and a need. And they want to learn more about how you can help grow their businesses.

Think Quality, Not Quantity

Good salespeople know the key to increasing a sales pipeline isn’t filling it with as many people as possible. Instead, the goal is to keep it brimming with hot leads—the kind you get with referral selling.

Activity is important, but what really makes a difference in your business-development efforts is talking to the right people, nurturing those prospects, and hastening their way through your sales cycle. This decreases the time it takes to close your deal, thus increasing sales and reducing costs.

So where do you find these Ideal Clients? Probably not in a bar. And definitely not by cold calling.

You find them by asking your current Ideal Clients for referrals. It’s as simple as that.

Image via Shutterstock

About the Author

Joanne Black
Joanne Black is America’s leading authority on referral selling and a sales executive with contrarian points of view. As the founder of No More Cold Calling™, Joanne works with sales teams to build disciplined and measurable referral programs that enable salespeople to score meetings in the C-Suite, derail the competition, and convert prospects into clients more than 50 percent of the time.
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