Leads Vs Prospects

Whether you work for a company or own a business, prospects, and leads can be confusing. Many companies talk about filling a funnel with people; you will often hear it is a numbers game. Although numbers may be necessary, remember you can't count what isn't valid. This article will explain the differences between leads and prospects and why one is more critical for your success. 

Leads are defined as someone who has shown interest in your product/service; however, they are often less valuable. Prospects are those who have indicated an interest but need, want, and can afford your product or service. Thus, an opportunity has gone through additional screening and qualification questions to see if they will be a good fit for your products/services.

The typical sales mythology is to throw enough things at a wall, and something will hopefully stick.   Doing this is highly inefficient in both time and money and may tarnish a company's reputation. The lead mentality is concerned mainly with the number you have and about hoping to catch someone that might buy. 

Leads may be responsible for other problems, including employee turnover, rejections, annual costs, complaints, and new representatives not being able to meet their expected sales goals continuously. To understand this more clearly, let us pretend you were selling swimming pool maintenance, and your company says you need to talk to 10 people daily. Remember, it should not just be a # of people today, instead people that meet your sales qualifications.

Building a training program to educate new sales representatives is vital for success, and they must have the research built-in for them. We know the representative must talk to 10 people who own swimming pools daily. Based on this information and some research, a typical set of qualification questions for our most profitable swimming pool maintenance may be.   Must be at least 14 x 28 or larger, those with a gas or propane heater, in the ground pool, and a family with at least two kids. 

What size is your swimming pool? Is your pool above ground or in the background? What type of filtering system do you have:  sand, diatomaceous earth, or a cartridge? Does your pool have a gas/propane heater? How many kids do you have in your family? Now with this data, we can move on politely if any question does not fall within our screening data. Mr.  Johnson, when we spoke on the phone, you had told me it was in the ground, but I just learned it's above ground, and we don't handle pools needing that type of service.

The critical thing to know is that when researching your most profitable service clients, you don't waste time on business you don't want. Doing the research and crafting the questions to gather the data you need quickly may take some time, but it will be worth it in the long run. The other thing to note is that as soon as the person answers a question outside your range, you politely thank them and inform them that we don't handle pools that need this type of service.

From all of this, we can deduce that no one wants a lead but instead a qualified, interested prospect with a problem they want to solve and are ready to do so. Many marketing companies have people changing their tails while they bill them for leads that are not even their target audience. Many companies get upset with marketing/advertising companies because they get no ROI when they should be building a set of criteria questions to qualify or eliminate the prospect.




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