In an ideal world, every lead we generate would have the potential for becoming a customer.
Sadly, that’s not the case. In the real world, some of your leads have good potential meaning they are have the ability and interest to buy in the near term. But many more do not meet these criteria. They either have a long term interest or no interest at all. Some may even be competitors.
This will vary, of course with the method you used to generate the leads in the first place.
If you are using direct mail or email – and you carefully selected your list – you could expect a large percentage to be qualified. On the other hand, leads that are generated from media or search engines don’t have any such selection criteria so you could receive responses from pretty much anyone.
Use the phone to qualify
Regardless of the source of your leads, at some point you need to find out which leads are most qualified, which are least qualified and which fall in the middle.
This is called Lead Qualification or Lead Scoring – and this is best accomplished with a phone call.
A telephone qualification call is not a cold call. This is a follow up call made as a courtesy call to make sure your prospect received their report without difficulty. Once you have them on the phone, you can your qualifying questions.
You can make these calls yourself or you can use an outside professional.
If you find that too many leads are turning out to be unqualified, you may decide that the phone is too expensive given the small percentage that qualify.
This is sometimes the case with trade show leads if, for example, your sales people simply scanned the badges of everyone who walked by. In this case, you may consider replacing the phone with online surveys to qualify these prospects.
Get the answers you need
Keep in mind the goal of qualification is not to sell your services or promote your business. The goal is to get answers to some key questions, such as:
- Do you have a need for our service?
- Do you have an interest in our service?
- Do you have a budget for our service?
- Do you have decision-making authority?
- What is your timetable making a decision?
At the end of each completed call, you will be able to assign a score based on how the questions were answered. This will help you establish a priority list for each prospect – and it will help you identify the appropriate follow up contact strategy.