FROM THE DESK OF MIKE L SMITH, PROFIT-POINT SUCCESS ADVISORS (www.Profit-Point.net)
I have a passion for helping homeowners with remodeling projects so I spend a couple days each week running leads and selling projects. For the last month, the leads have been noticeably different and sub-par in quality. I have never defined a great lead as someone who buys because we’ve all had that customer, client, or patient who we wish NEVER said “yes” because they were a nightmare to work with once the deal was agreed on.
My definition of a great lead is where all decision makers are present and available and willing to engage in a conversation about the project that they are interested in. If I’m not able to sell the deal after that, I can accept it.
So many direct sales companies get caught up with ‘quantity’ of leads so they can fill a salesperson’s day with appointments. What happens when quantity is the focus is that the basic lead qualification criteria gets ‘fuzzy’ and lots of leads that should never even be set for an appointment are set and they frustrate and grind down your sales team.
Salespeople understand that every lead is not going to be a home run. But, when quantity of leads is the focus, the salesperson is the victim of these bad appointments which leaves them feeling like they are just wasting their days speaking to people who can’t or won’t make a decision and that just want to know their price.
In many cases, the reason a salesperson can be wildly successful or just average, depends on their ability to “TURN CHICKEN S–T INTO CHICKEN SALAD”. That has to do with a salesperson’s ability to think on their feet and just roll with the situation they are given. Mastering that mental game can be tough for many salespeople.
If you ask most salespeople who have experience, they will happily tell you that they would accept half as many leads in exchange for more qualified leads. When ‘quality’ is the focus, salespeople can have successful appointments with potential customers and even if they don’t sell the lead, they are able to engage in a great discussion, do a presentation and demo, offer pricing, overcome objections, and ask for referrals. Of course, you’ll win some and lose some but you’ll be spending your time in selling situations with real money-making opportunities. Having days like that are what dreams are made of for salespeople.
Here’s 3 Ways to Find Out if the lead quality is suffering at your company:
- There are lots of ‘One-Leg’ appointments- When quantity of appointments is the focus, the need for all decision makers to be present and available is one of the first things that appointment setters will disregard to put an appointment on the book.
- You’ll see ‘No Demo’s’ for appointments set with people who can’t make a decision- Another way lead quality is compromised is over who the appointment is actually set with. A desperate phone room will happily set an appointment with someone who will be home at the needed appointment time, even if they aren’t decision makers. I can’t begin to tell you how many times I’ve seen appointments set with renters, relatives, or friends. These are people who in most cases, can’t buy your product or service. It’s just a way for the phone room to get an appointment and for the customer to get your price.
- There are ‘No Shows’ or ‘Not Home’ appointments- The pressure for phone rooms to set appointments can also lead to appointments set with very desperate and reaching time frames. The standard appointment times can quickly turn into “Are you going to be at home sometime on Thursday?” Then a salesperson makes the trip only to get no answer or to not have their contact not at the home.
Even the best appointment setters have leads that don’t work out but that should be the exception, not the norm.
‘Use It Now’ Tip- In order to build team relationships and get better results, I like to try a cross-training strategy. I think it’s important to make sure that the sales department and the appointment setters understand how important they are to each other. I have my appointment setters run with the salespeople for one day every month and they split the commissions when a sale is made. I do the same thing with the salespeople and let them spend one day in the phone room working with the appointment setters.
That activity alone has created tremendous team morale and a true appreciation for each department to understand how important they are to each other. You don’t need to spend any money to implement this strategy but the added bonus of having better-quality appointments set can lead to more sales, happier salespeople and marketers, and increased profits.
This blog post is an example of some of the Tips, Tricks, and Strategies we cover on our Monthly Group Coaching Program. Check out www.ProfitProGroupCoaching.com for more information.