Alchemists in the Middle Ages believed they could turn a base metal like lead into something much more valuable, like gold. Those old wizards and cranks never quite perfected the recipe. Luckily, it actually is possible to turn your sales lead into sales gold.
If you’re not currently following a proven process for converting prospects into sales, we have 3 steps that will help. These steps are better than any Middle Ages alchemy and have been proven to actually turn lead to gold.
Here are 3 Steps for Turning Sales Lead(s) to Gold:
Step 1 – Commit to Quickly Acting
According to a 2011 Harvard Business Review article: You are 60x more likely to qualify a lead if you follow up within an hour than if you take 24 hours or more to follow up.
Shockingly, that article also says that 23% of companies in their study never followed up at all. Some reports suggest that percentage is as high as 50%.
We did our own research, and though it may not match the prestige of HBR, it’s even more startling:
You are 7193x more likely to qualify a lead if you actually follow up, at all!
The first critical step in creating gold, is to commit to following up on all of your leads; the sooner the better.
Once you’ve committed, you’ll need to implement some type of system to effectively capture and organize your incoming leads. Make sure the system notifies you when a new lead comes in and triggers the necessary actions to ensure quick follow up.
Step 2 – Make Initial Contact (within 30 minutes)
Woody Allen once said, “90% of success is just showing up.” Now that you’ve made the commitment to “show up” as soon as possible, take a moment to carefully consider how you are going to follow-up.
The first part of an effective follow-up is the initial contact, which requires a couple things:
- That you understand that the objective is to make contact and start the conversation (you are not going to sell your software on the 1st contact),
- That you provide relevant information to addresses the question or needs of the prospect (they do not want a sales-y, automated email response), and
- That you gauge the interest level of the prospect, and set up a call. The easiest way to do this is to ask something like, “On a scale of 1 to 10, how interested are you in learning more?” 5 or above – set a call. 5 or less – put them on a nurture track.
Basically, answer their initial question and determine how soon the next action should take place.
Though some may argue that you shouldn’t let them go if/when you make initial contact, it’s better to give them a chance to review the information you’ve given them . In addition, gauging their interest and setting the next appropriate action prevents you from wasting valuable time on prospects that aren’t ready yet.
Tip: Reach out using the prospect’s preferred method(email or phone). When it’s email, 30 minutes should be a breeze provided you have your system in place.
Step 3 – Master the 1st Call (within 2 days)
For prospects that are interested, the 1st call should ideally occur 24 – 48 hours after the initial outreach. Your chances drop with each passing day. If they told you they were interested, push through the common “I’m really busy” excuse and set a time to talk, soon.
Like the initial contact, an exceptional 1st call requires a few things:
- That you understand that the objective is to gather information about the prospect and determine how you can best help them,
- That you start by asking questions about them and their needs. Learn as much about them as possible before you start talking about how great your software is,
- That you tailor your “presentation” and material to what they have just told you; personalize the education to them, and
- That you work with them to determine what the next step should be.
An effective 1st call sets the stage for all future conversations and creates a strong foundation for the relationship.
To paraphrase Zig Ziglar’s famous quote, “You can get what you want if you will just help the prospect get what they want.”
By consistently following these 3 steps you will position yourself as their trusted advisor and start building a strong relationship, which gives you a tremendous advantage. It’s the 3-step alchemical process for turning sales lead to gold.