Finding Good Sales Leads And Making Them Great

08 Jul 2014
by John Foley
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shutterstock_132878873There was a time, not all that long ago, when a salesperson found new customers by asking friends and acquaintances if they knew people that could use his services. This was in the days before Internet, where word of mouth was everything. Times have changed and good sales leads require social media links and marketing expertise. A little knowledge of statistics and database management helps a lot too.

Make Them Want You

Any name in a database can be a lead but a strong lead is one where there is a demand for your product or service. If we assume a rational model then decision making theory dictates that the customer needs to find value in the purchase. A great lead will already know and want your service. These types of leads are usually relegated to friends and family of highly loyal customers. More realistically, you will need to create value as part of the lead generation process. You will need to flex your marketing skills to transform your lead into a valued relationship. Some experts say that each marketing interaction needs to be tailored to the potential customer while others say believe that 80 to 90 percent of your marketing can be preplanned and template while achieving the same results. How you approach consumers may take some experimentation but the key factor to making a potential lead into a great lead is to introduce value.

Get Your Mining Hat On

A business is a network of people within a company interacting with other businesses, each of which is made up of people interacting with others. By looking at an organization as a living network that includes suppliers and customers, we can use novel approaches to data mining for leads. Life insurance companies tend to be especially good at identifying relational data by the very nature of the industry. Part of the value of life insurance is that it protects the extended network, not just the individual. With one marketing swipe of the mouse they are able to create demand and generate strong leads online.

Make Them Come To You

The best lead is one that comes to you. Social media allows a business to establish itself as the authority in an industry without needing to break the bank. Using social media also increases positive brand awareness and trust. According to a survey by marketing firm BrandFog, 82 percent of respondents trust a company more if the CEO comments on social media.

The Black Hole

It may sound trivial, but the best way to turn a warm lead into a hot lead is to actually follow up. Studies show that 70 percent of reputable leads are never acted upon. The possible reasons for this statistic may be the time pressures on salespeople or it may be a lack of trust of the veracity of the lead. Either way, this shows a huge well of potential customers left untapped. This is no magic word that can land a sale but ignoring a lead is a sure way to let a sale slip through your fingers.

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