Hot Inbound Leads – 3 Simple Questions to Identify
When we are struggling to find people that are interested in, or otherwise qualified to buy from our business, here is something to remember. We need to think about the questions that we ask. If we ask the wrong questions, we miss hot inbound leads or devote too much time chasing after those that are not going to buy from us in the first place. When we ask the right questions we are able to quickly identify hot prospects, avoid frustration, and eliminate wasted time.
There are many opinions that we should not call a person simply because they completed a form on a website, created a free account, or signed up for free content. The opinion here is that this prospect is not ready to buy, and will need to be “dripped” on with additional information or content. We can all agree that this person is not necessarily ready to buy, however research shows that 70% of potential clients and customers would rather speak to a salesperson in the beginning of the purchasing process.
So when the next prospect completes a form, or inquires on a website or social media account, we need to pick up the phone!
When we reach a potential client or customer, what should we say? Some are already aware, the most productive salesperson will ask questions. By asking questions, instead of “pitching”, we are able to show genuine interest, and our prospect will likely share exactly what we need to know. So, when is the best time to call, and what are the best questions to ask?
— James W (@SucceedOnlineUs) February 15, 2017
When Is The Best Time To Phone an Inbound Lead?
We are 10 times more likely to reach a person that has inquired about our product or service within the first 5 minutes. If we wait 30 minutes, they may have left for lunch, or moved on to a different task. Whaaat?!?! So what about those we cannot follow up with right away, or even the same day? Well it’s simple. The first vendor to respond wins the sale about 50% of the time.
It certainly pays to do some research too. Even a hot prospect can turn into a cold lead if we are not relevant when we connect. Obviously, if someone has inquired about our product or service, we already know enough about the lead to get through the initial conversation. What about the follow up? If the point of every interaction is to schedule the next opportunity to close a sale, after the initial conversation, we are going to want to gather some details. For now, the following three questions will identify what stage of the buying process the lead is in. After the initial follow up we can invest some time to get to know them.
Write this down…
Hot Inbound leads — act, then learn, then act
Cold Outbound leads — learn, act, learn
Every second that passes after a hot inbound lead contacts us reduces the chance of earning a new client or customer. We should not wait! Send a message if you are currently unavailable, “On the phone, I’ll connect with you in 10”, etc.
What Are The Best Questions To Ask an Inbound Lead or Prospect?
When you reach your prospect on the phone, greet them respectfully, and state something like this, “I really appreciate your inquiry! (if possible find a genuine way to compliment them) I know your time is valuable, and so is mine, can I ask three really simple questions?” I cannot recall one “no” to this approach.
Now we have their permission and attention, waste no time. Transition to these 3 questions.
1) “Did you get the email with links to the resources you’re looking for?”
We need to make sure that they found the information they are looking for. Perhaps they misspelled their email, we can resend to the correct email address. If the form reply ended up in their junk or spam folder, we can help them locate it. We should always invite them to add our email address to their contacts. In most email client software, this will “whitelist” future email communications, and we can avoid ending up in the “junk” folder.
We demonstrate reliability and offer value by following through in this way.
2) “When you discovered this opportunity, what inspired you to think, ‘I should check this out’?”
If we invite our leads to tell us where they heard about us in the initial form, that question is already out of the way. By asking the question above (2), we are able to identify key words, images, or ideas that compelled a prospect to take action.
Subtle pieces of information will help both marketing and sales. If we work strictly in sales, we want to relay this information to our marketing team. If we are both sales and marketing, we make note of what is working. We can use what we learn to fine tune our future campaigns.
3) “Out of curiosity, what is your desire, pain, problem, or struggle (choose wisely) that led you to seek a solution, or a benefit?”
The answer to this question identifies the trigger that compelled our lead to take action, and also reveals what buying stage they are in. Now that we know the stage, we know how to move forward. There are 3 fundamental stages that any lead or prospect can be in.
The Average Joe or Simple Susan: This type of prospect has probably not reached a point to make a decision. As referred to in the automotive sales industry, the “tire kickers”, should be placed into a “drip” campaign that will reach, educate, and inspire them until they have reached a deciding moment.
Price Shoppers or “Looking for Alternatives”: We do not want to waste much, if any, time. This prospect has likely already made a decision to use another opportunity and is now price shopping to justify their decision.
Ready to Act “Need a Solution”: Sell! This is our hot inbound lead. If our prospect says, “I have ‘this’ problem, and I need a solution!”, go get ’em! This type of lead is hot and ready to buy!
If we follow a few simple suggestions, we can avoid wasted time, and time is money!
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Remember, practice, practice, practice. Modify these 3 questions to fit your specific product or service, then practice, practice, practice. When we are on point, we are efficient, and do not waste anyone’s precious time. Thank you, “make it a great day!”