How do you respond when a warm lead hits your email inbox?
A warm lead is the most precious gift a sales organization can receive. It means that someone cares enough to refer you business — or, that your reputation is solid enough to generate buying interest. Congratulations!
Warm leads are prospects who have already demonstrated an interest in your business. We know that customers are conducting research online, and that 57% of the purchase decision is complete before a customer contacts a supplier. So, it stands to reason that most good sales organizations are going to see an increase in warm leads.
Consider these 5 key steps to qualifying and converting warm leads:
Demonstrate a sense of urgency. The minute a prospective buyer hits the send button on an inquiry, the clock starts ticking. Same-day response is required. Faster is preferred. Responding quickly sends the right message to the prospective customer. It also pays to keep in mind you aren’t the only game in town — sales is a competitive sport! Case in point, we recently researched and reached out to a group of five potential vendors for support on a new project. Three of the companies took four days or longer to respond to our inquiry. Game over! Top producers have a sense of urgency when responding to revenue-generating opportunities.
Qualify and advance the relationship simultaneously. Of course you need to qualify the lead and determine fit. The key is doing that in a way that expands the opportunity. Prepare effective, open-ended questions in advance. Then, listen. This is not the time to give a hard sales pitch. Instead, this is the opportunity to develop insight about your prospect’s key decision drivers and the scope of the opportunity. Create a foundation for a much more customized sales engagement.
Do your homework. Respond to warm leads prepared. If you are asking questions that you could easily Google, then you aren’t prepared enough and a prospective buyer will know it. I cannot tell you the number of post-trade show sales calls that I receive from sellers who know absolutely nothing about my business. Do your homework, and avoid wasting your prospects’ time.
Add value. Are you prepared for impact? Big sales impact usually comes from helping a prospective buyer think differently about their business. Helping a customer evaluate your capability and fit is the minimum expectation required. Helping them learn, grow, understand and improve is a whole different level of impact. Offer your customers resources and references to help them make the right buying decision. Look for opportunities to leverage your own expertise and insight to help them in ways that go well beyond your core portfolio of solutions.
Earn commitment. When a warm lead becomes a qualified opportunity, it is important to establish expectations around the buying process and earn some initial commitment. Make it easy for customers to buy, and remember to thank anyone that ever refers you business!
Qualified opportunities are hard to come by. When they hit your inbox, apply these five principles to convert warm leads into successful sales.
Ryan Estis & Associates is a training and development organization helping companies, leaders, sales people and individual contributors embrace change and achieve breakthrough performance in the new economy. We offer keynotes, live classroom training and online learning that blends interaction, energy and actionable content designed to elevate performance. Contact us for programming inquiries and assistance determining the curriculum that could best support your learning and development objectives.
Ryan Estis is a Keynote Speaker & Management Consultant blogging about business performance.