Probably the question I get asked the most is this one, “When do you let a sales lead go?” All right? When do you say, “Okay, I’ve got to move on to something else.”
Here’s what I’ve learned in the last couple of decades.
You’ll say, “Oh, he or she won’t get back to me. They won’t call. They’ve gone dark and they won’t return my messages.” It’s likely because we didn’t qualify them very well. In fact, what I find is, if you’ve got a very good process and you’re qualifying, and you’re having the right conversations along the way, they’re actually closing themselves. When they fall off the radar screen, if you will, it’s probably because of something unique or something disruptive is happening at the company.
Here’s how I break this down. The thing that we want to do, to make sure that we don’t lose them, is to qualify them along the process. What I want you to do is think about the following questions that will help you make sure that the deal is moving forward. The trick is to not avoid asking these questions, or quickly passing through them.
1. What are you going to help that prospect fix? What’s the solution you’re going to provide specifically?
2. Who really makes the decision? Not the person you’re talking to, but who is really making the decision in the company?
3. What’s the date and the specific next step that you have? We’re going to do this by then and the prospect has confirmed that with you.
4. Do they have the money now? It’s one of the reasons why people fall off the radar screen, they get back to me later and say, “Oh, we don’t have the money now but we’ve got it next year.” Ask that question. Do you have the money to join this association now?
5. What’s the deadline for the final go or no go? When do we want to decide to move forward or not? I think it’s really important to have that conversation as early as possible because that gives you a framework of when this ought to be done and the prospect agrees to it. That’s the important part.
6. Who else are you thinking about joining instead of us? This vets out whether you’re moving on something really important and urgent. They’re going to make a call one way or the other, or they’re just kind of listening to you. I think it’s important to know that.
7. If you don’t join, who are you going to join? If you don’t sign up with us, who are you going to join instead to take care of this problem?
8. What can keep this from happening? This is a really good question to ask early on because then you’ll see where they are, “Hey, what can really keep this from occurring? What could keep you from joining the association this year?” The more answers you know to these questions, and the more conversations you’re having about these items, the less likely they’re going to fall off the radar screen because you’ve identified who it is and when the next steps are and when the deadline is. Okay? That will help you alleviate the problem of them falling off the radar screen.
Lastly, I want you to know in the back of your head, or by your metrics, how long and how much work it takes to close a new deal. I’ll give you an example: if you say it takes ten contacts to close the membership within 30 days, and you’re now going to 15 to 20 contacts and it’s now been 60 days, you’ve got to have a really good reason to keep them in your pipeline.
So, when do you let the sales lead go? When you don’t know anything about the sales process and once it starts to live way outside of your data. That’s my advice for you today, thanks for watching!
Hey, if you got any other questions, send them my way.
Critical Factors for an Association’s Survival – Association Field Report (December 24, 2021)
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