You did it. You’ve finally met someone… Someone interested in your product (or service), we mean. We shouldn’t even joke about it. Landing a sales lead is a big deal and shouldn’t be thought of lightly. Part of what makes a business successful are the quantity and quality of its sales leads. The first part – the quantity of leads – is more straightforward. Businesses looking to increase the number of sales leads can employ a number of techniques, like cold-calling and attending more networking events. Impacting the other half of that, though – the quality of sales leads – requires more careful finessing.

Among all the sales leads, there are some that will definitely lead to a sale, some that might lead to a sale after some TLC, and some that won’t ever translate into a sale. So it’s in your best interest to identify which of your sales leads are Good, which are Bad, and which are Ugly.

The Good

These are the easiest prospects to work on. They’re ready to make decisions and spend money. They know they have a problem that needs to resolved because the lack of a solution is affecting them negatively. They understand that your business might have the answer they’re searching for. Your job is to convince them that your product/service is the most effective way of addressing their need(s).

Our advice is to pick one or two values that align with your brand and make sense for consumers, and pitch that as part of your organization. For example, if you’re selling a service, you might want to emphasize that your business focuses on the customer experience through consistent customer service and support.

The Bad

A.K.A. The Window Shopper, The Lookie Lous, the I-Won’t-Ever-Buy-Anything Guy. These folks will refrain from making decisions, which means they will never actually make a purchase. To be fair, they may want to, but they may not have the capacity or influence at their organization to affect a purchase decision.
Generating Leads is FrustratingThey may or may not acknowledge that they have a problem that needs to be met. But they will always ask for more information about your business so that you can continue to have the privilege of having them for company. Which is fine and dandy, except that time is finite and it makes more sense to spend time with those prospects that can be converted into a new client/customer. (Of course, what you do on your own time is completely up to you.)

The Ugly

Alright, we probably shouldn’t label a whole category of potential spenders as ugly, but we wanted to make it clear that working with prospects from this section can get a little less-than-attractive. Half of the people in this category will end up rejecting you and the other half will accept your offer after you’ve invested a bit of time and energy. And you won’t really know who will go which way until you’ve sat down with them. (Sorry, we’ve got no shortcuts or cheat codes for this.)
The reason is, these guys don’t know, with any certainty, whether they have a need that is not being met. You’ll need to arrange a conversation or two with the prospect so that you can learn a little more about them and see why they even wanted to sit down with you. Were they hopeful that you can identify why they’ve been losing money/had so little time in the past year? Or were they just wanting to do a bit of window shopping through you? Like we said, the process is less than ideal. On the bright side, you will either discover a new Good sales lead or identify a Bad one.

Here are 5 questions you can ask the ‘Ugly’ prospect.

  1. In their own words, what’s troubling them? Or what’s prompted them to meet you?
  2. What problems have they experienced recently?What solutions have they tried before?
  3. What is their budget for a solution?
  4. What/Who else are they considering?
  5. Where is the budget coming from? Or who has budgetary authority?

“Every Gun Makes Its Own Tune” - Blondie

Obviously a Bad sales lead doesn’t need to be gunned down but the last piece of wisdom we want to share with you is, don’t be afraid to call it quits. If your gut starts to tell you that an Ugly prospect is a Bad one, it’s probably true. Take the advice of Blondie, out of context as it is, and give your prospect a reason to bow out of the relationship (the ‘tune’) and get out. There are plenty of Good guys to grab yet!


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