Recently a door-to-door salesman came to my door. He opened the conversation with “Are you the homeowner?” I really did not want to talk to him, so I admit it – I lied. I said “No, I rent” The conversation ended abruptly with an immediate retreat and an “Ok, thank you”.
It got me thinking about how we are qualifying leads. Are we reaching them and proving to them we know their pain before we jump to the sale – or are we playing on the online version of “whoever passes out the most business cards wins” – or are we so busy ‘qualifying’ leads we don’t take time to understand?
The door-to-door salesperson was trying to prioritize his time by immediately identifying me as a decision-maker. I get that, and we do it all the time. After all, why waste time chatting with the “subordinates” when they don’t sign cheques?
I’ll tell you why – because good leaders, the kind you want to do business with – listen to those “subordinates”. They regularly solicit opinions and referrals.
There is a reason we call this relationship-based selling.
Qualifying leads means you absolutely have to understand your ideal prospects. You have to know their pains, their aspirations, their limitations, and their goals. And you have to tell them that you do understand.
All of that seems a little hard to do on the first try. Heck, even on a couple of minutes – which is what most people are willing to give you before getting bored and hit you with the “I left something on the burner”. Well, I’m not going to lie, it is. My advice to qualifying leas is to focus on the core issues and hopes of your potential lead and create a specific list of what this person does and wants and prepare a couple of sentences that condense an honest, empathic and convincing response to their needs.
I’m not saying that the door-to-door salesperson could have sold me a new water heater on the spot – but I am thinking he could have at least said ‘hello’…