Sales is like dating. It’s all about relationships. You have to decide what you’re looking for in the perfect mate (or prospect), and then figure out the best way to meet that person.
Imagine 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 ideal 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.
You Call That a Lead?
Inquiries are not qualified leads, and neither are those coveted lists of names. Someone who’s downloaded a white paper is not a qualified lead, nor is someone who’s viewed a demo. This kind of thinking is how we get our sales pipelines clogged with cold leads that rarely or 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.
Now That’s a Pipeline
When it comes to sales leads, think quality, not quantity. Good salespeople know that the key to increasing sales pipelines isn’t filling them with as many people as possible. Instead, the goal is to keep it brimming with hot leads—the kind you get with referral based 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 passage through the sales cycle. This decreases the time it takes to close your deal, increasing sales and reducing costs.
So where do you find these Ideal Clients? Probably not in a bar. Probably not from your marketing department (qualifying leads is your job, not theirs). And definitely not through cold calling.
You find them by asking your current Ideal Clients for referrals. It’s as simple as that.
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How have you found your hottest leads and best clients?