Screening sales leads for the digital age has become even more important. Here is why:
You start a Google AdWords campaign and you start getting leads. Lots of leads. But as you start talking with the leads they don’t seem to pan out. Worse, down the line after signing up many of the customers are really unhappy with the customer experience and tell their friends, post on social media and do great damage to your brand. Your brand that you built literally brick by brick or byte by byte- if you are a digital only brand.
You are in bigger trouble if your product or service costs in excess of $10,000, a pop, that we define as high value. And cost is about not only what the customer pays but the perceived cost of trouble or time in sorting out issues. Issues could be a perceived defect in a car or home remodel at the B2C end and troubles with machinery or services in B2B contexts.
The trouble is that you have been over eager in converting leads to customers without screening them well. Here are five tips on better screening of sales leads:
1. Does the customer really need your product/service?
Just because it has become so easy to find your business on the Internet, does not mean that the sales lead is a perfect fit for your services. Ask how they found you. If it is through an existing customer, you can expect that the prospect has a better sense of what to expect when signing up with you. If it is through your advertising spend more time on upfront consulting with your prospect.
2. Never forget that if the prospect is hiring you- you are also hiring a lifelong customer
The value of a satisfied,happy and loyal customer is truly great. The happy customer will buy again,will refer others and become your advocate. There are detailed ways of calculating customer lifetime value (CLV) but you get the idea. Frequently as sales people, we are too eager to close the deal. If you are the CEO, think about how the sales people are compensated. Commissions on closed deals drive the eagerness to close- at any cost.
3.Have a meeting with the implementation folks and the qualified prospect for setting up expectations and measures of success
Heard about how to get out of a real estate contract? The legal processes have developed for good reasons. (Disclaimer: we don’t offer legal advice). For your qualified prospect now in discussion with your implementation consultants, make it easy to walk out.If your implementation folks think that it’s really hard to make this customer really happy. If you take deposits, consider a refund and request for referrals. A qualified prospect that you could truly not satisfy will appreciate your integrity and talk about it.Remember you want “happy” talk from everyone you are trying to serve.
4.Ask your implementation folks only one question: Will we be able to make this customer happy?
The discussion with implementation folks should be around trying to make the customer happy. Your implementation folks will find many cases where the sales team promised something that they can’t deliver. Being very clear about expectations that are in the contract and that are implied because of earlier sales conversations need to be sorted out. So implementation consultants need to explicitly explain that “we are not able to do this- right now” and “we are trying to look at options of offering this,” if other customers have been asking.
5.Make sure you deliver- have a satisfaction survey at the end of the process
Finally, try to deliver more than you promised. And always have a satisfaction survey to understand where your customer experience can be improved.
In summary, its as important to screen prospects as it is for prospects to screen you.