If you are fortunate enough to receive sales leads in advance, you ultimately have a major decision to make right away. It doesn’t really matter if you are selling over the phone or in a face-to-face format – you will be required to decide which of your leads get called on first and which ones go to the bottom of the pile. As professional sales and marketing executives, we hold extremely busy schedules with limited time. While every lead can be an opportunity to close a sale, it’s important to prioritize your leads so you don’t get overwhelmed and stressed out.
Prioritizing your leads is a great way to manage your time, but it can be a slippery slope if done incorrectly. The first thing that a lot of salespeople want to do is call on those prospects who they believe are going to purchase. While this sounds good in theory, it’s nearly impossible to tell who will buy and who will not. If we knew exactly who would be purchasing and who would not be, salespeople would be the richest people on this planet. Unfortunately, as much as you might think you know, we really don’t have any idea who will say “yes” and who will say “no”.
In lieu of that, we can still prioritize leads to help manage our business effectively and efficiently. While we never know who will buy, we can look and see who is statistically more likely to be receptive to our information. Here are some tips on prioritizing your leads to increase the chances of making a sale.
If you are able to hold on to sales leads for long periods of time, it’s always a great idea to call on those with open inquiries or questions first. Prospects who are interested in your product/service will certainly be attempting to contact you. Putting these leads first is important because it will show the prospect that you truly care about their business and will reach out to them ASAP to answer any questions or solve any misconceptions. If you wait to contact these leads until last, they will certainly feel as if they are being left behind, which is the opposite of what you ultimately want.
It’s also important to note that if you previously called on a lead and promised you would get back to them regarding a price/issue/whatever, they should be taken care of first too. The idea is to have any open-ended interactions closed up before you start knocking on doors or calling new leads. Love the one your with.
Longest Time Since Last Contact
In direct opposition to the first point, your next round of calls should be to those who have not had contact with you in a long time. The duration is subjective – if most of your leads were contacted last week, but a few were contacted last month, put those next on your list. If you go too long without talking to a prospect, they will forget about you. Prospects, both consumers, and corporations have extremely busy schedules too. The same idea applies if you get “fresh” leads every week. Even if you have never contacted them before, look for the ones who have not had contact with your company in a while. If you or the company go months without talking to them, they will simply forget that you exist. Not only that but once you do call on them, they will assume that you forgot about them too. Don’t let this happen – make these leads priority #2.
If you are in an instance where you can do some research on your leads, take full advantage and use a strategy for call preparation. If you notice that some leads will benefit the most from your product/service, make those priority #3. Again, this is subjective and base don your own personal industry, but if you are able to look at a lead and think “They would benefit from this because of ________”, you are in a strong position. Make those leads your next call – your confidence will carry you to close these leads with ease.
The Tough Ones
I almost didn’t put this one in here because judging leads based on toughness is an extremely slippery slope. However, facts are facts. There are just some prospects who are inherently more difficult to close than others. For example, prospects who are extremely loyal or have legally binding contracts with your competition are obviously more difficult to close. That being said, you should still call these leads. Never leave a lead untouched. You might get these prospects down the road, so never ignore a lead.
The idea here is to maximize your time and maximize your income potential. Calling prospects who have current contracts with the competition before those who have an open inquiry is not the best use of your time. It’s easy to get overwhelmed with leads. Prioritizing them is a great way that you can maximize your time, keep your business organized, and increase your income.
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