Sales and Sales Management Blog

May 18, 2007

Why are My Leads So Crappy?

Filed under: prospecting,Uncategorized — Paul McCord @ 11:21 am

Donna Hinds from Florida asked me to help her understand why the leads she gets are so lousy.  This is actually a fairly common question and one that almost always leads back to a lack of understanding on the salesperson’s (or company’s, if from corporate lead generation) lack of focus on who is a real prospect.

Salespeople often mistakenly view their product or service as being applicable to a broader audience than it really is.  Seldom is the issue that the salesperson isn’t thinking broadly enough.  Rather, the issue typically comes down to the salesperson’s, or company’s, thinking isn’t focused.  They haven’t defined who their market is.  Consequently, they end up with a lead generation program that brings in more “trash” than anything else does. 

In order to generate a large number of high quality leads–no matter your lead generation method–you must be able to concentrate your efforts on the areas where you’re most likely to find quality prospects and then use methods that will effectively reach that target audience.  Coming out trying to reach too broad an audience dilutes your efforts; and using methods that are ineffective for your target will simply prove to waste your time, effort and investment. 

Let me give a couple of examples.  

One of my clients, a dentist, spent a good deal of time and lots of money developing a campaign to bring in new clients from the surrounding apartment complexes.  He felt that he was losing lots of potential customers from his local area.  Unfortunately, for him, his office was in a high-end medical complex, while the surrounding apartment communities were working class.  His fees, partly due to his rent, were higher than most of his immediate competition who had offices in much cheaper strip centers about a mile away from his office.  The dentist’s clients were higher income individuals who worked near or visited other medical professionals in his complex.  His focus was completely wrong.  We refocused his marketing to the individuals in the businesses near his office, not the apartment tenants near his office.  He had simply lost focus of the fact that his apartment neighbors were not likely to choose a high-end dentist–but the professionals and local business owners very well might.  The dentist simply saw large numbers of “potential” clients.  He completely missed the much smaller number of, but much more likely client base, professionals and business owners around his office.  

Another client, an insurance agent in Kansas, viewed his prospect base as virtually anyone who could breathe.  But his products were geared for young, new families that really didn’t have the means to invest a great deal of money into their life and health insurance program.  His marketing was primarily focused toward direct mail and networking business owners.  As with the dentist, we refocused his marketing to reflect his product base–he began to concentrate his efforts on the apartment dwellers, more moderately priced neighborhoods and relatively new small business owners.  His business has blossomed simply because he is matching his product to the right audience. 

The more detailed your definition of your ideal prospect, the more focus you can bring to your marketing and lead generation program.  You must make every lead generation dollar and hour you spend work to the maximum.  Using a shotgun may nail a few prospects, but using a rifle can be not only far more cost effective, but help you build your pipeline much faster.  The temptation is to go broad the need is to focus. 

 

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