As far as words go, “salesman” is a relatively new one. Before the word “salesman” entered our lexicon, European immigrants brought the term ‘drummer’ to North American shores. As villagers and townsfolk went about their daily lives, they would often hear a loud drumbeat kick up in the distance. From every corner of town, people would come in search of the source of the noise until, finally, they’d stumble upon someone with a cart full of goods.
It’s where marketers get the phrase “drumming up sales” from.
And whether we think of ourselves as salespeople or not – we are. From applying to a new job to drumming up new business in a region, sales are the lifeblood of what most of us do. And the best way to keep that blood flowing is through one thing: lead generation.
Regardless of what business you’re in, leads generally is important. But now, instead of trying to draw attention with a catchy drumbeat, we bring in business through sales and marketing. So, what exactly is a lead and how do we go about getting good ones?
The Basics of Sales Leads
A sales lead is a set of contact information (Name, Address, Phone, Email, etc.) from a person or business, which could facilitate a future sale. Traditionally a lead is a single person who represents a business that is looking to purchase your companies’ goods and/or services. Leads can be influencers or decision makers. The one attribute all leads have is that they’re related to a potential sale.
From there, leads can be broken down into two subcategories: qualified and disqualified.
Qualified leads are leads that produce immediate business. Instead of showing a passing interest or making comments about the potential to work together, they have a defined idea of what they want done and how. In most cases, qualified leads have the following in common:
When you’re trying to decide which type of lead to sink the vast majority of your time and resources into, it should always be qualified leads. They net you the most income and opportunity for your effort.
However, not every person who claims to be interested in doing business with us actually will or can. That’s where we get into category two: disqualified leads. This is the type of lead you don’t want to invest as much of your time and energy into. Maybe they’re interested in your service, but aren’t able to afford what you do or are uncertain how the two of you could work together at this time. Typically, you can tell someone is a disqualified lead if they do one of the following:
Knowing someone is interested in your business, but unable to take you up on a present offer may seem frustrating – but it’s a good thing! A disqualified lead, while the churn rate may be high, still retains the possibility to convert into a qualified lead. Moreover, disqualified leads can be great for something else: referrals. While you don’t need to spend an excessive amount of time on these types of leads, it’s always important to use these opportunities to network. When we build relationships with others and they’re impressed with our work, that can lead to organic referrals and future qualified leads.
Next post, we’ll review how to take these two types of leads and create concrete actions plans around them.