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Unqualified Leads: Follow-Up or Forget?

“What Should I do With My Unqualified Leads? Should I continue to follow-up or just forget them?”

Depends on your definition of unqualified. For me, a prospect needs to have three things in order to be qualified:

  1. A problem that I can help them solve;
  2. Power to make or at least influence a decision to purchase;
  3. Ability to afford my solution to their problem should they decide they want it.

If they are missing any of those things, they are not qualified. At least not at this moment.

Smile and Dial Days

In the days of smile and dial, we were taught to deep-six the leads that weren’t qualified. Hang-up and dial the next one. That is a huge mistake because as long as the lead meets certain parameters to be a suspect, even though they may not be qualified right now, that doesn’t mean any one of those three criteria can’t change at a moment’s notice.

Back to Basics Phone Skills Training Course

Do you want your sales team to eliminate call reluctance, set more qualified appointments and increase their close rate?

Example: You could be speaking with a decision-maker today who could afford your solution if they wanted it but doesn’t need what you offer only to have a “trigger event” happen two weeks later and now needs a solution like yours. (I’ll explain what a TRIGGER EVENT is in a minute)

Sales Pipeline Jam

On the flip side, I’ve seen way too many sales reps miss quota month after month because they keep following up with the same unqualified leads over and over again.

Sure, the unqualified prospects take your calls, are friendly to you and you even feel “safe” calling them. You also fool yourself into thinking that you are doing a “good job” and are “building the relationship” yet you are wasting time and money and your manager is missing out on his/her bonus because you aren’t hitting your numbers. Too many unqualified leads in the sales pipeline. This is a bad situation to be in.

The Power of a Drip

Here’s what I’ve found to work best when dealing with unqualified leads… Have a drip email marketing campaign in place that flows on a consistent basis. Think of it as “catch and release” when it comes to fishing. You’ve got a prospect that doesn’t measure up to having all three needed criteria for qualification. So you throw them back into the pool and let your drip email marketing take over. This way you stay in contact with them without bogging down your phone time and when a trigger event happens, they contact you. Now you’re dealing with a warm lead.

What’s a Trigger Event?

OK, so what’s a trigger event? It’s when something happens on the prospect’s side that makes them realize they need a solution.

All prospects have it and it’s the only thing that will make a lead “warm”. They become hand-raisers. And you’ll be ready to help when they need it most.

– Michael Pedone

Michael Pedone is the founder of SalesBuzz.com – an on-demand sales training company inside sales teams.