Do you really need more leads?

Sure, cold calling techniques put lots of leads in the pipe. Enough for management to see that reps made the requisite number of phone calls, email pitches, and social media connections. But are those really leads, or just smoke-and-mirror numbers?

Reps have their cold call list, and they go at it—with automatic dialers, AI virtual assistants, and other automation technology. In doing so, they consistently waste their time, because the cold calling success rate is dismal. It can take a dozen touches to reach a prospect this way, and are they even prospects? Are they qualified? More often than not, they’re just names of people who don’t want to be on a cold call list.

Management doesn’t need more leads in the pipe; they need more qualified leads. Qualified means the prospect is vetted, has budget and a timeline, and needs our solution, and the decision-makers are on board. Qualified means we can put a probability percentage to close, and the forecast will be accurate within a single-digit percent. In this case, fewer is better.

Don’t you think it’s time to ditch your cold calling techniques and get referrals instead? That’s how you get fewer, qualified leads and maximize the prospecting time of your reps.

Find out the reasons fewer is better in Jill Konrath’s provocative post, “Cold Calling Revisited: What if Sales Is Not a Numbers Game?” Here’s a snippet:

Salespeople who have tons of potential opportunities tend to run through them as fast as they can, hoping to close a quick deal. They rarely engage in the right conversations. They’re too eager to find the hot prospect and make an easy sale. But usually, they’re just brushed off – and they should be, because they’re just in it for themselves.

On the other hand, top sellers play a different game. They’re not pounding the phones or sending email blasts to poorly qualified lists. Cold calling is not part of their game plan.

Instead, top sellers know who their best prospects are and they focus all their sales efforts there. They also know which trigger events change an organization’s priorities and loosen the grip of the status quo.

For top sellers, fewer is better. Now most people think that’s heresy. It’s not. Actually, it’s what’s called “smart selling”.

(Read the rest of Jill’s blog post.)

Want to help your team fill the pipeline with nothing but hot, qualified referral leads? Invite me to speak at your annual Sales Kickoff meeting.

Follow me on Twitter @ReferralSales.