Leads drive sales, but there is a long journey down an ever-tightening funnel from lead to prospect to sale. Buyers hit a lot of touch points, face a lot of friction and encounter a lot of other options from competitors along the way. Here are some tips to converting leads.
Qualify Leads Before You Chase Them
Chasing unqualified leads is expensive and time consuming. Salespeople can spend thousands of dollars on transportation and wooing just to learn that the lead was never in a position to purchase in the first place. Develop a department-wide protocol for developing leads. This does two things. First, it saves resources that would have been squandered chasing leads that aren’t in a position to buy, and second, it lets salespeople focus those resources on qualified leads.
BANT: The Basics of Qualifying Leads
There are a million different acronyms that salespeople use throughout their industry. BANT is one of the most basic precursors for qualifying leads:
- Budget – Does your lead have the budget to make a purchase? The best lead in the world may be perfect for your product or vice versa, but if that lead simply doesn’t have the money to make a purchase, the lead isn’t worth chasing.
- Authority – Are you talking to the right person? If the lead doesn’t have the authority to make the decision to buy, it isn’t a lead at all.
- Need – Does the lead have the need for the product? Forget what your data says – use your common sense. If you sell commercial ovens, a car dealership probably isn’t worth pursuing.
- Timeline – Finally comes timeline. Everything could be perfect, but if your timing is wrong – if the buyer doesn’t need what you have until after the holidays, for example – than you should abandon the lead.
Remove Pain or Add Pleasure
Finally, know your buyer as intimately as you know your product. As discussed in the article “Accelerate Growth by Converting Leads Into Customers,” it is crucial to know your buyers, their industry, their problems, their concerns and their purchase catalysts. Let them know you’ve done your research by identifying their pain points and positioning your product as the solution – or offer something that could accelerate their business.
The first step to converting leads is to qualify those leads so you know which ones are worth pursuing. Know your product, but know your buyer just as well. Only when a prospect is convinced that you understand his or her industry will that prospect be open to buying. Use BANT to start out, offer something of value and always alleviate your buyer’s pain.