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How to Improve Close Rates on Warm (Inbound) Leads

“We’ve seen an increase in inbound (warm) leads and the number of our presentations are up, but our closing ratios are not. Any advice?”

There could be lots of reasons for this; however, when it comes to handling warm leads, one must be careful not to assume that the prospect is ready for a solution. In addition, inbound leads could be from “information gatherers” disguised as decision-makers.

No matter if you are speaking with an information gatherer or the actual decision-maker, a fundamental fact needs to be uncovered before giving a presentation, and that is:

Have they decided to purchase and are looking for the best solution?


Are they investigating to see what solutions are out there to determine if the problem is worth solving?


The difference is this: one is already closed on wanting a solution, and the other is not.

You have to handle prospects that have already decided to make a purchase and are in the research stage differently than prospects that aren’t sure if they should make a switch.

Ever give a stellar presentation that the prospect loves, only not to have them buy from anyone, including your competitors?

In most cases, it’s because they haven’t yet decided to solve the original problem. And that’s a problem for you if it goes unchecked.

If a prospect has decided to find a solution and is looking for the best one, we ask sales questions that will uncover what their ideal solution looks like to them and why (so we know how to customize our presentation to their needs/desires)

If they are in the investigative mode, we ask questions that uncover the motivation behind looking into possible solutions.

Prospects need to be “closed” on wanting a solution before we can close them to selecting our solution.

So How Do I Know Where They Are In the Sales Process?

Try customizing the following sales question to your specific industry:

“Mr. Prospect, have you decided to replace your current _____________ and want to see which option would be best or are you still investigating whether you should make a switch?”

Only two choices available from the prospect:

Choice 1: “Yes, we know we want a new solution. We need to find out which one would be best for our needs” (and look at that… the perfect segue into asking sales questions that will identify what matters most to them)


Choice 2: “No, we haven’t yet decided if we should make a switch; we are just in research mode.”

If you get this response, ask questions that will uncover why they are looking for a potential new solution.

The bottom line is, if you want to increase your close rate, you have to confirm your prospects are “closed” on wanting a new solution. And if they are not, ask questions that will help them get there before giving them a presentation.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone teaches inside sales teams how to pick up the phone and close business. He is the CEO/FOUNDER of SalesBuzz.com – An online sales training company.


Register Now for Our Next 8-Week Phone Skills Improvement Program!

  • Eliminate “No, Thanks”, “Not Interested” & “We’re All Set” Responses
  • Learn a step-by-step process for Cold Calling and Warm Calling
  • Neutralize Gatekeepers & Get Voicemails Returned
  • Ask Engaging Questions Instead of Probing
  • Improve your Qualifying Skills
  • Learn more effective Sales Questions to ask (and ones to avoid)
  • Give Stellar Presentations & Handle Objections
  • Close Follow-up Calls and Get Targeted Referrals
  • How to Set & Achieve Your Toughest Sales Goals
  • Improve Your Time Management Skills

Duration: 1 hour per week for 8 weeks
Where: Online @ your desk, conference room or home
Presenters: Michael Pedone