Converting leads to prospects
Customers decide quickly, move often, change their mind and shift their loyalty easily. Smart businesses make ongoing efforts to forge relationships with customers who match their ideal lead profile and convert those leads to prospects. Prospects are leads who show interest or potential to buy your products or services.
First, determine the best prospects from the leads you've generated. You have identified your prospects once you have found the leads who have:
- a need for your product or service
- the ability to make a decision to buy
- the ability to pay.
This process is called qualifying your leads. Once you've qualified your leads, you may find you have several prospects. Decide where to prioritise your efforts by assessing both the probability of closing the sale, and the value of the sale.
Learn more about the sales process.
Developing a prospecting plan
Make the most of every opportunity you have to turn a lead into a prospect by developing a prospecting plan. Your plan will outline useful information to distribute to your leads through media such as e-newsletters, your website and social media, presentations, marketing and signage.
You can also use your prospecting plan to ensure your information stays relevant, provocative, short, professional and informative — offering useful industry news, trends and business tips. Many potential customers have rejected businesses after receiving inappropriate, repeated or annoying advertising material.
Use your prospecting plan to calculate and define:
- how many genuine prospects are likely from your leads
- how many new customer accounts you can realistically open
- what average sales volume you can expect from new accounts
- how to follow up potential customers regularly without losing impact.
Using a prospecting plan
Your prospecting plan will help you to identify your approaches to converting leads. You may wish to consider the tactics listed below.
Keep good records
Maintain a list of leads so you can inform them about new products, services, offers and business changes. Note the status of each lead so you can tailor the information you send to them.
Make offers with meaning
Tailor offerings or incentives that are targeted specifically to the needs of each lead. A thorough understanding of the needs of your existing customers - and your ability to quickly identify needs - will help you make offers to lure your leads.
Avoid assumptions and stereotyping
Don't always rely on first impressions and don't decide that a lead you determined as a prospect some time ago is still ready to buy your product now.
Listen and investigate
Observe your lead closely and ask questions that will give you the information you need about them; make further enquiries or follow-ups to determine your lead's interest and capacity to buy.
Learn more about negotiation skills to convert your leads to prospects.
Plan your approach
Define your purpose for making contact. For example, your objectives may be to:
- find out more specific information about your prospect's needs and wants
- build rapport
- build further awareness of your business's products and services
- offer information about pricing and current or upcoming sales promotions.