Getting great leads is really important, but even the best leads will result in almost zero success without good nurturing.  What do I mean by nurturing?  I mean taking care of the leads the way you would if each one of them were seeds in a field.  You wouldn’t just dump them in the field, water them once and expect them to grow immediately, would you?  And yet, that’s what we often do as salespeople.  We give up on the lead before we’ve even given in the minimum amount of nourishment to help it sprout.

We All Do It  (Even You)

If you are in sales, or have ever been in sales, don’t pretend that you’re not guilty of it.  We all know that it takes a lot of hard work to turn a lead into a customer, and yet we give up so easily most of the time.  It seems so much easier to wait for another lead than to work on the previous ones we’ve received.  But all of us know, that the most effective salespeople are the ones that follow up early, follow up often, and nurture the lead through the entire sales process.

We Lie to Ourselves

Common misconceptions among salespeople Lies We Tell Ourselves as Salespeople:

  •  It’s enough to call each lead once or twice before dumping it
    • What’s the real answer here?  How many initial calls are typically made before getting the sale?  Anyone….Anyone???  Well, trick question;  it actually depends on your industry, but in the world of Web Design Leads and SEO Leads the average is normally well over 10.  And that’s the number of calls that it takes when someone answers.  If you count the number of times you had to leave a voicemail, it’s usually double or triple.
  •  Prospects will call you back
    • Ok, I know, I know… Sometimes they call back.  It’s true.  But in general, you have to chase the prospects down.  They feel that it’s your responsibility to catch them at a time when they have time to speak with you, and they’re right.  That’s your job!  Never, Never, Never expect the prospect to return your call.  Make it your general rule to expect that you’ll always have to chase them down.  Then every once in a while, you’ll be pleasantly surprised when they do call back.  Again, this is different from industry to industry and from lead type to lead type.  The colder the leads are, the more you’ll have to chase them down.
  •  Emailing first is best
    • I have heard this from so many salespeople, and guess what?  None of them were successful salespeople.  It takes more drive to get yourself to make the call then to send the email, but it’s 10 times more effective.  Never send an email out first before you call if you’re calling on Web Design Leads or SEO Leads.  The phone call builds rapport and trust phenomenally faster.  Not that email doesn’t have it’s place, it definitely does, but it should never be used in lieu of phone conversations.  Sales are made on the phone much easier than over email.
  •  I will lose sales if I follow up too much and become annoying
    • Not true at all.  First off, everyone that you’re talking to knows that your job as a salesperson is to follow up relentlessly.  They expect it, and not only that, if they’re interested in what you’re selling they usually appreciate it.  You’re making it easier for them to make the decision to move forward.  The fact is that if you lose an “actual” sale at some point by following up too much, you are probably the greatest salesperson on the planet, because you’re following up at a frequency that actually is a little bit too much for 1 potential sale.  On that same token though, you probably got 5000% more sales than you would have by not following up as much.   Better to lose 1 sale and gain 50, right?

The Continuous Battle:  Lead Generators Vs. Salespeoplelead-nurturing

There’s a never ending battle between the marketing department and sales department.  How familiar are these statements:

Sales Team:  “We need more leads.”
Marketing Team:  “You’re not taking care of the leads we’re giving you.”

Both can be correct, but in my experience I’ve found that 80% of the time the problem is that the leads are not being nurtured well-enough, and 20% of the time there just aren’t enough leads.

The Takeway

There has to be a balance between the quantity of leads and how well they’re nurtured.  The companies that work the hardest on nurturing the leads are the most successful companies.

Change your mentality regarding what needs to be done with each lead.  Leads are seeds.  Treat them like they’re in a field.  Give them water, sunshine and nourishment and they will grow.  Don’t let yourself fall into the trap of thinking that leads are already fully developed and ripe for the plucking.

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