Old school sales guides will tell you that you can sell anything to anyone, with the right skills and approach. It’s simply not true – some products and services are not suitable for everyone. Not every customer is a good fit for what you’re selling, and once you realise that you can manage your time more effectively. Start selling to people who actually want to buy from you, rather than wasting time on those who aren’t interested.
This is known as recognising ‘good’ and ‘bad’ leads. Chasing a bad lead will end up nowhere and so is a huge waste of time. A good lead is a target customer who is likely to be persuaded to buy from you – because you’re selling something they want or need. A good lead is also referred to as a qualified lead, because they are likely to end in a sale.
So, how do we separate the wheat from the chaff? It all depends where you source your leads from in the first place. If you are using a reliable database or targeted lead generation system, then hopefully the majority of your leads should already be qualified. For example, we often use Barbour ABI, which is leading marketing and sales software in the construction industry. By using something which is industry specific, you can narrow your search for the right prospects.
Here are some more general tips for identifying qualified and unqualified (good and bad) leads.
It’s critical that your databases and other sources of leads are up to date and refreshed on a regular basis. Old data is bad data, and without effective data enhancement you’ll find that many of those leads are going bad or worse, their contact details are out of date.
Find out what the customer’s budget is as soon as possible – if your product or service is out of their price range, then it’s another wasted phone call. It can be difficult to get information about a company’s budget before giving the sales pitch, but it helps if you ask at some point to check the viability of the lead.
If you don’t currently have a way to assess leads, try lead nurturing to try and transform as many as possible into qualified leads. This includes keeping bad leads engaged, without taking up much of your time, to try and turn them into advocates for your company if they cannot convert themselves.
Need some help with lead generation? Get in touch with our experts.