The leads are rolling in. Customers are telling their friends about you. Google searches are resulting in phone calls and contact form emails. Word of mouth advertising is really starting to take off.
And there’s a problem.
The people contacting you are not your ideal customers. You just know that what you’re offering is not the perfect solution for their problems, and you know they’re not going to be satisfied, long-term clients.
Believe it or not, you do have a significant amount of control over what type of leads you receive, as well as how you handle the ones you’d rather not have.
Let’s talk about it.
Unqualified vs Qualified Leads
When you’re new at this, it can be difficult to tell the difference between an unqualified and a qualified lead. Here are some points to help you:
- have the specific problem you’re solving
- are ready to solve that problem
- are willing to pay your price
- are progressing quickly through your sales funnel
- ask to learn more
- have a lot in common with your loyal customers (and were probably referred by one)
- know details about your brand
- are curious about the next step
- do not fit your ideal customer profile
- balk about your price
- ask for modifications to fit their needs
- are not interested in learning more
- have little in common with your loyal customers
- found you randomly
- were referred by someone who doesn’t know your brand
- know very little about your brand
- resist taking the next step
- have difficulty seeing the intrinsic value in what you’re offering
- only care about getting a price for now
I would hate for you to have to the learn the hard way that unqualified leads will NEVER turn into qualified leads. They are, in the most direct language, wastes of time.
How to Get More Qualified Leads
So how can you make sure that the majority of the leads you’re receiving are qualified leads?
Here’s what I suggest:
- Ask your Best Customers for Leads. You know the ones: the customers who buy from you again and again, who appreciate what you provide, who never complain about price and who speak highly of your brand to their own networks. These are your ideal customers, and they’re the most likely to have connections to more people like them. Ask these customers if they know others who would benefit from working with your brand. Start a rewards programme for references that result in qualified leads. Use the riches you already have to create more wealth.
- Use SEO to Cut Down on Unqualified Leads. You can’t get around the research here. You’re going to have to find out what your ideal customers are searching for on the internet, and then use those same keyword phrases in your web content, blog articles and hashtags. Be too general, and you’re going to attract an unfocussed crowd.
- Screen Potential Customers with your Landing Page. When potential customers find your brand online, you can “weed out” the less-than-ideal possibilities with a sales funnel that makes the purpose of your brand clear. When they find your landing page, get right to it. Speak only to your ideal client, in language only he or she will gravitate to. It’s okay to scare all the wrong people away—in fact, that’s the right way to go.
- Save the Talking for Later. Your sales funnel should be doing much of the lead vetting for you. If you talk to every lead right away, you’ll spend all your time on the phone with little pay out. Schedule calls after they have moved through your funnel…and they’re still interested.
- Get Comfortable with Saying No. Regardless of what you’ve been led to believe up until now, it’s okay to say “no thanks” to a customer, and even refer them to a brand that would be a better fit. Look at it this way: You’re doing them a favour. They wouldn’t have been satisfied with your brand experience anyway.
Too many times, brand builders spend valuable time they’ll never get back talking to unqualified leads. They feel guilty, or they think they can convert those leads to qualified ones. I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t work, and you’ll regret every minute you have to spend with that less-than-ideal customer.
The Real Damage Caused by Unqualified Leads
Sometimes, leads come to you in a state of being unqualified—they aren’t qualified now, and they never will be. Others may be qualified in the near future, but for now, they haven’t had enough time to acknowledge their problem or to trust your brand to solve it.
Lead vetting really is about relationship building, and it takes time.
That doesn’t mean that time has to be spent one-on-one with those prospects.
When you move forward with unqualified leads, your brand will develop a poor reputation. Your unqualified customers’ problems will go unsolved because you never had the solution for the problem they had. They will not buy enough to cover the cost of acquisition, and they will speak badly about your brand.
They will not associate their bad experience with their own lack of awareness about your brand and what it does. Instead, they will assume that you delivered a poor product or service.
And if you’ve been in business for any amount of time, you know that a good reputation is not only necessary to staying in business, it’s difficult to repair once it’s been damaged.
So, starting today, I want you to stop taking every lead that comes to you. Instead, create a system that channels leads through a sales funnel and then sends only qualified leads to you or your staff.
Need help with creating that sales funnel? Or with determining who your ideal customer really is? Then you need a 1-Hour Intensive Brand Audit. I’ll take a good look at your brand, your goals, what you’ve done and what you plan to do—and then recommend your next branding and marketing steps. Click here to read feedback from others who have booked the brand audit or to schedule your own.