Sales professionals can pull out leads from almost any source and turn them into buying customers. The biggest weapon any sales professional has is confidence, and your confidence is bolstered when you learn effective ways to turn casual conversations into sources of revenue.
The process of converting cold leads into buying clients does get easier as you get better at it. To develop this skill you need to follow a proven method for turning cold leads into buying customers, which you will learn how to do in this article.
Qualifying The Lead
Qualifying a sales lead is the process of determining whether or not the lead is worth your effort. You should develop a criteria for determining what an ideal lead looks like, and then apply those specifications to each cold lead on your list.
If you are able to put your cold leads into a spreadsheet, then you can qualify thousands of leads rapidly. It's worth setting up a sheet in Excel or Google Drive. Consider your standards to qualify these opportunities. Are you only interested in talking to clients that have more than 50 employees? Or are you limiting your leads to companies within a specific geographic area? Set your qualifying criteria and weed out the companies that do not meet that benchmark.
Your sales manager or marketing department can provide you with the ideal customer profile for you to target. If your company does not have that information readily available, then it's something you need to create on your own. You cannot qualify leads without having an ideal customer profile. These are the customers that would most benefit from your product and be most interested in talking to you about what you have for sale.
The best way to do your preliminary research is to answer these five questions:
- Why would the prospect want to hear about my product?
- What value does my product bring to the prospect?
- Which prospect contact do I call on my initial sales call?
- What problem does my product solve for the client?
- What short-term and long-term benefits does my product bring to the client?
One of the more important questions in this list is the question dealing with solving the prospect's problem. When you make your initial sales call, you will have maybe five to eight seconds to ask the prospect a question about a problem he is having that will get his attention. Once you have his attention, you have to immediately offer your product as the solution.
Send An Introduction Letter
I never made a single cold call in my entire sales career. How is that possible? It is possible because I always took the time to send out customized introduction letters to each qualified lead. Those letters contained just enough information to interest my prospect in my product, but not so much information that I was trying to close a sale in the letter.
Whenever I called leads, I would always mention that I was following up on information that I had sent in the mail. Some read the letter; some did not. But the majority found that statement compelling enough to let me propose my initial pitch.
Whenever I trained sales professionals, I was often discouraged at how many would dismiss the introduction letter as a waste of time. Yet, I'd consistently get letters from those professionals who did use introduction letters and found closing the sale much easier. They found sales letters to be an effective tool.
It's not common to have customers calling you based on your introduction letter, but a well-crafted introduction letter can help put your foot in the door, opening up the opportunity for you to make your initial pitch.
When you put together your introduction letter, you only need to include:
- All of your contact information, including your company name.
- A generic overview of what your product does and what problem it solves.
- A promise to follow up on the letter via a phone call within two weeks' time.
That's it. When you make your call, you can reference the introduction letter and you will be shocked at how many people read your letter and are willing to give you the 10 seconds you need to make your pitch.
Closing The Sale
If your job is to close a prospect in one call, then you have done all of the preliminary work you need to do to accomplish that goal. When that silence happens on the other end of the line after your initial pitch, then go for the close. Use your script, but adjust it as needed to get that sale.
If you are an inside sales professional who is trying to establish a long-term relationship with your prospect, then you have laid the foundation for creating interest with the client. Your company offers a variety of solutions, but your initial pitch focused on only one product. You can choose to close the sale with the client at this point, or you can offer to send out comprehensive information that gives the client more of an idea as to how your company can become a partner with his company.
Do not let the customer off the hook if he is giving you buying signals. By all means, close the sale if the customer sounds ready to buy. If the customer indicates he is interested but does not have the time to finalize anything right now, then set up a time to call back and send out that information. You have now established a direct channel to a decision maker that will yield revenue.
If you are an outside sales professional, then your goal is to become a part of your customer's business. The work you have done to this point has shown the prospect the value that you offer. Now it is time to set up the sales meeting where you will close the sale.