Leading the Lead: The Art of Lead Conversion

July 6, 2020

Lead Conversion How-To: Information Extraction

The Lead Conversion Game Begins

It’s 2pm, you’ve made 50 calls, sent just as many emails, and so far your highlight of the day has been a 20-minute conversation with a secretary named Jan. She promises to forward your information to someone in the right department, you thank her, and the conversation is over.

We’ve all had these days. It seems as if the world has taken a day off when you pick up the phone to try the ever elusive VP of Sales whom you’ve begun to question even works. As the phone approaches the last ring all hope seems lost when a new voice answers, “Hello?” You quickly gather yourself, straighten your chair, find your pen, and attempt to deal with this sudden surprise.

Introductions go smoothly, and Mr. VP seems to be that exact person you were looking to speak with. As if you were playing heads-up poker, you two exchange questions and answers like bets and calls. He expresses a sign of weakness, his solution just simply does not have this particular capability. Licking your lips you instantly push, ALL-IN! You begin rattling off every way your company can help him and his team. He seems interested as you push for the golden prize: the demo. However, just like any good poker player, he’s not going to just show you his hand. Rather than take a demo he requests a few white papers and says he’ll plan to follow up. He folds his cards leaving you with a decently sized pot, but you weren’t able to knock him out of the tournament.

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How to Lead… the Lead

Where did we go wrong? How did we not bust this guy? Well, I’m a firm believer in one philosophy, and if we’re still using poker terms it’s ‘don’t show how strong your hand is until it’s the right time’. Any marketer can get excited when they have a potential lead on the phone especially when they see there could be a fit between client and company. With that said, sometimes we look to close the deal too quickly without truly understanding our opportunity.

I’ll be the first to say I’ve been guilty of this multiple times. Often, these potential leads have plenty to tell you, and you just have to give them an opportunity to do so. Take the example I gave above. Mr. VP told us a problem and instead of running with it and finding out more we jumped right into our solution and went for the close. Now picture we heard his problem, and instead went with the following:

You“Oh yes, that’s an issue we often find many of our clients are dealing with using their current solution. If you don’t mind me asking what’s stopped you from exploring other solutions and trying to fix this problem?”

VP Sales“Well, our budget has been tight so it’s been tough to explore other options.”

By asking one quick question you can arm yourself with the tools you need to take this prospect to the Promised Land. From there you may ask what their current budget may be, and it turns out that it fits exactly into your pricing model. Jackpot! Picture his excitement knowing that he has now found a solution that can fix their problem and is within their budget. At this point there’s no way he can reasonably deny a demo, right? Our product fixes his problem and fixes his budget; it’s a no-brainer.

Hold The Poker Face

Now, not every lead conversation is going to go as perfectly as this one, and I know that from experience. The point I want to make is this: until someone forces you to show your hand, why should you? Why tell someone everything about your company, what your product is, and how it helps when you hold the power? When you are the one asking the questions, you hold control. Seize the moment and get all the information you can: What’s your problem? Why haven’t you solved it? What’s your budget? Do you make the decision?

This is Day 1 lead conversion training, but as reps we often forget our fundamentals as we lose ourselves in the excitement of a potential lead conversion. Remember, don’t push all your chips into the middle until you have the information that allows you to knock the prospect off the table.

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aj alonzo

AJ Alonzo is the Head of Marketing at demandDrive. A former SDR turned marketing leader, he's made it his goal to develop resources for sales reps who are looking to level up and for managers who are looking for guidance. Outside of work you can find him trying to shoot under par at his local disc golf course, sipping on a bourbon on the rocks, or continuing his quest to be the very best like no one ever was.
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