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Posted: 2006-07-21 / Author: Larry Klein

Turning Leads Into Sales

Turning Leads Into Sales: Some people in sales think a lead is a name from a list. That’s not correct. A name from a list is not a lead--it’s a suspect, a total stranger and it does not matter if they meet some criteria (e.g. age, occupation, net worth). A true lead meets your criteria AND has expressed interest in what you offer. Specifically, the lead has responded to an email, a print ad, a piece of direct mail, etc. A true marketer and sales professional only contacts people that have first expressed interest.

Now that you have a lead, how do you turn it into a sale?

You don’t call the lead and say, “I’m following up…..” EVERY sales person says this and the phrase has now become synonymous with “get ready for my sales pitch.” Your lead automatically gets defensive (no one likes to be sold) and your chance of a sale is close to zero. Rather, call the lead and say “Bob, you returned a card expressing your interest in having more…..better…(fill in the blank), is that still of interest to you?” The only words that should come out of your mouth are the benefits your lead desires. Your first task is to engage your lead, not to talk about your product.

Next, you don’t say “we have” or “my company offers” as these phrases are synonymous with “get ready for my pitch.” Again, these will make your lead defensive. You do say, “I don’t know if I can help you…may I ask you a few questions about your (business/heath/investments, fill in the blank)?” You disarm the defensiveness of the prospect by stating you don’t know if you can help.

Next, you ask intelligent questions about what’s important to HIM. The best thing you can do here is forget about the features and benefits of your product because your lead does not care. He cares only about what’s important to him. So to really listen, you need to forget your spiel. As your prospect reveals answers to your questions, you ask deeper questions to reveal their emotional desires. Questions like:

Why is that important to you?
If you could have that, how would it impact you?
If you don’t solve that, what’s the long term cost to you?
How does that make you feel?
Are you satisfied with that?

Since people buy emotionally, you must get them to reveal what motivates them emotionally. Until you do, do not proceed to your next step (to set an appointment, ask for the credit card, close the deal) as you will fail. Too many sellers ask for the order too early and they get objections. First, get your prospect to reveal what motivates him emotionally and then you ask if he would be interested in a solution to that problem/opportunity. Only when he says yes, do you proceed to the next step.

“Bob, if there were a solution to that problem, what would that be worth to you? So if you could have the solution for only 10% of that amount, you would want to know about it? Great, then (set an appointment, ask for the credit card, close the deal).”

I know that sellers tell me they are client focused or customer focused but it’s not true. They are product focused and my-agenda focused. If your personal mission or company mission is to really help someone, then it becomes easy to turn leads into sales. Because your objective changes from “getting” people to buy your product to “finding” people who want what your product offers. You can only determine that by asking questions. And when you encounter someone that does not have an interest in your product, you move on.

The key to turning a lead into a sale is to leave your agenda to the end of the conversation and get your lead to reveal his emotional agenda first. Then you have the relatively simple process of showing your prospect how your product fits his agenda (rather than convincing the prospect why they should have interest in your agenda).

About The Author: Larry Klein CPA/PFS, CFP(r), CRFA(tm) is an expert marketer of financial services and author of "Marketing Financial Services to Seniors." His Internet-based lead system for financial professionals is at

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