The definition of a lead has changed drastically as technology has changed. Some define a lead as a click on a website; others think it’s the number of visitors to a vendor booth. But to truly be a qualified sales lead, the customer must have a need for your product or service. Just because the person has an interest in talking, does not mean that there is a sale looming soon.

Sift Leads

Your time is very valuable. Time wasted on leads that go nowhere, is time that could be closing the deal with another customer. You wouldn’t try to sell ice to the folks in Alaska, instead sell it the people in Hawaii. Let’s say you have a list of names, but where do you go from there? You must prioritize, research, or “sift” through the names to find where your time is best spent. Breakdown the names from least to most profitable.

Some of the criteria you should use to do this are:

  • Is this person qualified to make the purchase?
  • Is this person interested in making a purchase?
  • Is this product really appropriate for the situation?

Time vs. Cost of Pursuing Leads

You need to constantly be mindful of the time you spend pursuing your leads. For example, it is not profitable for you to spend hours and miles to visit a lead that will purchase $20 worth of product. You can however, stop by their shop on your way from the million-dollar sale. You need to keep a positive relationship with the $20 client, but you can service them, without a lot cost.

After sifting your leads and prioritizing, keep your leads list up to date. Make sure that your contact list is current. Little details like that can steal your valuable time. 

Let Go of Leads Going Nowhere

A solid list of leads is a must have, but in this case, bigger is not necessarily better. In a long list of possibilities, good and bad, the leads that need your attention, could get lost. Letting go of the leads that are not profitable, is a task that needs to be done frequently.

How do you let go? Prioritize your list of leads. First, weed out the prospects that do not need your product or service. Often times, leads are generated from competitors, contests, etc. Get rid of the leads that will never purchase from you. Second, you can lower the priority of those that cannot financially afford your product. Set an alert for in the future, and check on the client at that time. Another customer you can lower the priority on are those that are unpleasant or difficult. These customers cost you in labor hours, motivation, and your time is better spent with positive leads.

Focus on Positive Leads

You have your list of leads. You have updated all of the information and contacts. Where do you start? Focus your attention on the positive. Yes, that is a good attitude for day to day life, but you can also apply it to your sales. Focus your attentions on the leads that want to talk to you, not the ones that have no use for your product. It makes no sense, or profit, to spend your time and energy on the leads that lead to negative results.

Get to know the positive leads on your list. Hopefully, you will be able to not only solve their current problem, but possibly uncover other solutions that you may have for them.

Case Study 

Andrew just returned from the vendor show with a list of one hundred names of visitors. Feeling overwhelmed, he asks Pat to assist in sifting through the leads. They decide to prioritize the leads first. Pat tells him to focus on the positive leads. Which ones are genuine possibilities and which ones just wanted the free cookies at the show. They go through the list, listing the clients by possibility of purchase. Then they did some research and found out that several of the clients were out of town, and would cost more to call on. The two of them worked on the list until they had let go of several of the clients that were not financially able to purchase, or were not authorized to purchase. When they were finished, Andrew was not as overwhelmed, and he had a great list to get to work on the next day.