Using leads, pt. 2 — preparation and methods
Last week, we began a series designed to help you determine if and how you should be using high-quality business leads. We discussed the consistent volume of data available and the potential high return on investment in working with businesses. In this installment, we will discuss the preparation suggested and decisions required before undertaking a new marketing program.
It doesn’t require a new business model to use business leads. However, a considerable amount of research and planning should be done to ensure that you will reach your highest conversion potential. In choosing which company to use, you should have asked: How are the leads generated? Who else will be receiving the same information as I am? How fresh is the information that I have on hand? You will want the highest quality leads that your budget can afford.
You should make certain that the data that you receive is accurate and up-to-date. Be aware that some lead companies offer incentives for information gathered from prospects and regularly invite "quote shoppers." Some agents thrive on non-exclusive leads, while others may prefer to purchase leads produced for themselves exclusively. Determine how quickly you can respond to a new lead and whether you can be competitve in a fast-quote environment or whether you prefer to develop a relationship with a prospect first.
Develop a method: Many agents have made a call to a cold prospect at some point in their careers. It pays to be consistent. Work out a concise way to express who you are, how you are qualified and to ask for an appointment. You should not be selling anything other than yourself on first contact. Any questions will be happily answered during your introduction/consultation. Also, be prepared to handle standard objections. Ask questions to overcome responses like “I’m already taken care of” or “Send me information.”
Manage your leads: You now have the freshest data available on your prospective business. It’s time to act! Efficient management and distribution of your leads is crucial to converting prospects to clients. A CRM/Lead Management Program will solve many of the common technical challenges. These programs can help you to assign leads to multiple producers, automate follow-up E-mails, track contact history and schedule reminders, and instantly track progress with metrics like ROI.
Follow up: Many producers make the mistake of declaring a lead “dead” after a couple of attempts to contact. Remember that not all quality leads are ready to close right away — even if you are the best salesman in the world. In our next installment, we will go into more detail on how to guide such long-term prospects through your sales funnel.