"The Phone is what?"

Improve sales lead generation and conversions.

Your marketing strategy is in place and it’s performing well across all platforms. Your phone is ringing with qualified leads ready to invest in your services. So, what’s your next move? You spend so much time planning and implementing your strategy, but you never planned for what would happen if your strategy provided the results you’re looking for!

The primary goal for any marketing strategy will be sales lead generation. Whether it’s directly through your website, social media, or special events, a healthy stream of new leads is important. It’s the main foundation for the development of your brand and services.

However, sales lead generation is only half the battle. A lead is just that, a lead. Converting your marketing efforts into new clients is great, but it’s counterproductive if all of your new leads are just wasting your time and have no intention of spending money on your services. You need to understand your target audience and know right away if they’re willing to open their wallets. Otherwise, you’ll waste time following-up and chasing unqualified leads when you could be cultivating new business from fresh prospects.

How do you make a real “connection” with new prospects?

It’s important to note that it is not so much what you sell but how you sell that will make a world of difference. Customers have choices for almost any product or service they’re interested in. All of them, in the prospect’s eyes, are the same. Sure, you can see the difference as to why your product or service is better than your competition. Your ideal future customer may not see the differences right away. That is why they call looking for more information in the form of pricing, quotes, or proposals. If you’re not distinguishing yourself by how you sell, then the most common way prospects can distinguish you from your competition is…… well, price, right.? This is a race to the bottom no company wants to win.

So, when that phone starts ringing or the emails for more information come rolling in, how will you capitalize on these new leads? When the prospect starts asking questions you are so familiar hearing, will you be quick to answer? Ask yourself this, “How can I demonstrate that I know more about the problem the prospect is calling about than they do?” How can you make it known that you are an expert in your field without telling them?

What if I told you that you differentiate yourself from your competition not by the answers you provide, but by the questions you ask? You demonstrate your credibility by the information you gather, rather than the information you provide. By asking the right questions, you simultaneously gather relevant information you can use to connect with the new prospect and show that you’re familiar with their pain points.

Your competitors will throw out answer after answer, removing the connection to the client. Anyone can look up a question in Google and get an answer. You want your clients to know that you’re knowledgeable about their issues and the solutions to their issues. They want to be reassured that they’re talking to an expert who can get to the point of their query and provide an answer they can understand. By asking the right questions, you can reach an “ah ha!” moment with your clients, allowing them to feel confident in choosing your services over your competitors.

Some initial questions you might want to ask when first receiving an inquiry are:

What prompted you to reach out to us?

Of all the problems your company may be facing, where would you rate this one?

What are you currently doing, if anything, to solve this issue?

Let us pretend it is 6 months from now and you decided to use us. What would have to happen for you to say, “Using Company X was the best idea I had all year.”

Using these questions or some variation should uncover the prospect’s motivation, challenges they are currently experiencing, what they are currently doing now to solve the issue. Most importantly, you can determine what a successful outcome would look like. Based on the answers you receive you should have a good idea of how motivated a prospect is to move forward and worth your time and attention. You can then decide whether drawing up a quote or proposal or setting up an appointment is the next step.

Have some “curiosity” in your sales lead generation response.

Lastly, have a mindset of curiosity when you receive a request for more information. Ask yourself what might be happening in their world to cause them to want to learn more about my product or service. Let us go one step further and be skeptical. Push back a bit. Make them fight for their problem. If they are not willing to stand up for their problem, should you be spending time on requests for more information?

Some questions that will help you be curious and skeptical and will really separate you from your competition are:

“You’ve gone this long without it, why now?”

Of all the companies that do X (your product or service) why contact us?

“What we do is not for everyone. Would you like to hear some of the reasons why?” This is where you give a bracketed price structure (remember, you are not the cheapest) or 2-3 things that you determine ahead of time as to why you are not for everyone.

With any new skill you are learning, practice will be the key. I find it helpful to write down 2-3 of the most common requests you receive from a new lead. Ask for help from a co-worker or family member. Ask them to pop quiz you randomly throughout the day. Have them stop by your office, see you in the hall, or give you a phone call…with a practice question. When you can confidently deliver your questions and/or answers and gather the information you need, you are ready for the real deal.

As you can now see, just because the phone is ringing does not mean your job is done. The mindset you have and the questions you ask will go a long way in weeding out tire kickers and time wasters. This will give you time to focus on your new clients and less time following-up and chasing leads that are not worth your time.

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