I share my office suite with a small company that is just a two person operation. This two person company survives because they come to work everyday and make sure that they continuously look for opportunities and close deals. We chat every now and then and Jake has a saying which I’ve adopted : “We eat what we kill.” In business, we are hunters. The opportunities don’t come knocking on our door. We have to seek them out. One of the true and tried methods for starting the process is to use one’s personal and professional contacts to start the sales process. Each contact has the potential to be a lead. What is a lead? A lead is a contact with an individual or organization which has a monetary value attached to it. If they don’t have an opportunity, the person is just a person in your rolodex or address book. What qualifies them to be on a lead list is simply the fact that there is a remote possibility of them spending money on something you have to offer. How do we decide if a contact becomes a lead? Here’s a simple process:
1. Initial contact – Request a conversation face to face, phone call, web meeting, etc. It’s important to get this conversation. By talking to them and understanding what the person has been up to, you might be able to put together what their company is up to.
2. Initial conversation – Utilize this conversation to ask questions. We have a script that can be changed around to get the same result. We’re determining what category they fall into. Are they a client, partner, or vendor? Not all contacts need be client leads. If they are not client material, maybe they can help in the future.
3. Defining the opportunity – If the lead is willing to entertain a collaboration where money may change hands they are a lead. This is when they go in the CRM of your choice. There are different CRMs for different people. If you can’t afford to pay 10-20/month for a price of software that helps your business, use Google Spreadsheets which is free until you can upgrade. If you think that a recurring cost of software is too much, you’re living in the wrong times.
The lesson here is that you need to know who your leads are and what makes them your leads. Even if you have a list of contacts in your target market, they are not a real lead until they have an opportunity value.