A lead is someone who might become a customer. Someone who has some kind of contact with your business and some sort of interest in your brand. These lead types are interested, they are tempted and it only takes a little effort on your part to guide them towards becoming buyers.
In the process of a lead becoming a buyer, the lead moves through three different stages; Developing from one type of lead to another as they become more engaged with your brand.
Understanding these 3 types of leads and how to manage them will create a shift in your approach to business. You’ll no longer need to try to do everything you can to convince people to buy from you. Instead, your focus will be in building relationships with them and establishing trust.
The Cold Lead.
The first type of the 3 types of leads you should learn how to manage is the cold lead. A cold lead is a lead that you have just acquired without their expressed interest in your specific product or service. One that could know nothing about your business and may or may not have an interest in your product or service. They are considered a lead because you have their contact information and they fit into your target demographic and buyer persona.
If you’ve received a call from a company trying to sell insurance or some other service you might not have heard of, this is because you are a cold lead for the company. The mistake that most sales and marketing professionals make is trying to go straight in for the sale. There was a time when cold leads were the preferred method of generating sales. Today, making a sale from a cold lead is very unlikely. Cold leads haven’t given permission or shown any interest, so they’re not likely to buy right away.
The easiest way to turn a cold lead into a warm lead is to build a relationship with the individual. Rather than reading from a script, or going right for the sale. Try to find some common ground between yourself and the prospect. Do your research to learn about the lead’s interests and provide some information, or something of value that will help them in their work or personal life.
The Warm Lead.
The second type of lead you should learn how to manage is the warm lead. A warm lead has everything the cold lead does. They fit your target demographic and your buyer persona. You have the means to market to them and they are statistically likely to buy from you. The big difference between the warm lead and a cold lead is that they have shown some actual interest in your company. In most cases, they will have permitted you to contact them.
Warm leads might have followed you on social media. They might have joined your newsletter, or they might have contacted you through email or phone to get more information. These leads haven’t necessarily indicated that they want to buy from you, but they have positive feelings about your brand or what your company stands for. Warm leads are therefore much more likely to buy in the future.
The best approach to managing a warm lead is to work on moving the relationship forward. This is someone who has expressed some interest in you, and your company. You don’t want that relationship to go cold. Follow up as soon as you can. Companies that try to contact potential customers within an hour of being contacted are more likely to qualify and convert the lead, than those that tried to follow up later.
The Qualified Lead.
The third type of lead you should learn how to manage is the qualified lead. A qualified lead is one that has taken the next step from being interested in your brand or company to be interested in your specific product or service. This means that they have shown interest in buying from you. Perhaps they have asked for more information about a specific product. They might have asked for a quote, or even mentioned that they want your product.
In any case, the qualified lead is the best type of lead to have. This is someone who wants to buy now, and just needs a tiny bit of encouragement to commit. In businesses with separate sales and marketing departments, these are sometimes categorized as sales qualified leads (SQL) and marketing qualified leads (MQL). The categorization depends on which team qualified the lead for the sale of the product.
For these types of leads, it’s best to focus more on solving their problem, and less on the sale itself. Remember, a qualified lead already wants your service. What they’re looking for now is absolute confirmation that what you have to offer is a perfect match for what they’re looking for. Continue asking questions to get as much information about the problem they’re looking to solve, then demonstrate exactly how you can solve it.
The Bottom Line
Now that you’ve learned these 3 types of leads, you’re in a good position to start forming your strategy! Understanding how to focus your efforts based on the type of lead you’re working on, is crucial. A great lead is not only someone that becomes a buyer, but becomes a repeat buyer. The most important activities they can engage in are building leads, building relationships, and creating value. This is the core difference between success and failure and it’s more true in today’s economic state than ever before.
Generating qualified leads is already a time consuming task that takes up enough of your time. After putting in the work to generate leads without spending a dime, you’ll need to make sure that those leads and prospects convert into sales. Join us for a FREE webinar presentation called How To Convert. This presentation will reveal a simple strategy for converting your leads and prospects into buyers. Use the button below to register.