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The Myth of the Inbound Sales Lead

A few days ago, I spent an hour or so interviewing a few sales people from a company that has been patiently waiting for a time slot to open up on my schedule so they can engage me to transform their sales team.

Classic problem: Lot’s of activity, diminishing productivity.

One of the reps said to me: “I basically respond to inquiries from people who e-mail or call our company looking for information about our solution. I’ve always figured that they wouldn’t be getting in touch with me unless they weren’t interested in our solution. The problem is, when I call them back, I go into “sales pitch” mode, and then the sales process gets stuck and I lose the sale.”

Is this happening in your company?

This rep had inadvertently put his finger on a major problem with how old-school sales approaches deal with inbound leads — which is that inbound leads are “warm” leads from people who want to buy.

The problem is, that’s a myth.

Why?

Because the truth is:

Inbound e-mails or calls are similar to cold calls except that the leads have taken the first step by contacting you. This means that the inbound “warm” leads we get so excited about are actually no different from “cold” leads.

Why?

Because you can’t assume you have any more of a relationship with an inbound lead than you do with someone you cold call.

YOU AND THE OTHER PERSON ARE STILL COMPLETE STRANGERS.

That means that, just as with a cold call, you need to create a relationship of trust based on their issues or problems, through a natural two-way conversation, focused on identifying if both of you are a fit.

After all, how often, after talking with a so-called warm lead, do you realize that their agenda is a total mismatch with your expectations of how you hoped the call would turn out?

Maybe they were just comparing prices, shopping around, or gathering ideas for the future. No wonder it’s easy to feel discouraged, after you’ve done all the “right” things and they still disappear on you.

When you master Unlock The Game, it always comes down to the same thing: If you don’t take the time to find out what their problem or issue is, and you jump right into your sales pitch, you inadvertently introduce sales pressure, which puts them on the defensive and makes them withdraw.

And this, as you know, makes trust and honest communication virtually impossible.

How you handle your communication with your inbound leads will make the difference between never hearing from them again, or eventually making the sale.

Inbound Lead or Cold Call?: The Goals Are the Same

Although it’s true that inbound leads are obviously open to talking with you because they contacted you first, you can’t assume that your product or solution is a match, so your job is still to find out the truth of their situation.

If you assume you’re a match just because they called you, you’ll be resistant to finding out the truth about what’s on their mind.

Here are the key differences between how old-school selling and Unlock The Game view inbound leads:

Old-Style SellingUnlock The Game
Assume that because the caller initiated contact with you, they’re “pre-sold,” and move forward with your sales process.Find out what their issue, problem, or concern is — in other words, their truth.
Focus on talking about what YOU have to offer.Discuss whether your product or service is a possible fit or not.
Go for the appointment or sale.Let the other person know that it’s up to them to let you know where they “want to go from here.”
Follow up, chase, and close.If both of you decide there isn’t a fit, know it’s okay to walk away without feeling guilty.

If you shift your mindset away from trying to chase the sale and focus on them and creating a trusting connection so they feel comfortable telling you the truth of what they’re thinking, you’ll transform your sales results almost immediately.

Your comments are welcome below.

To your success,

Ari Galper

Ari Galper

Ari Galper is the world’s number one authority on trust-based selling and is the most sought-after sales conversion expert for Business Owners. His newest book, “Unlock The Sales Game”, has become an instant best-seller worldwide. Ari has been featured in CEO Magazine, Forbes, INC Magazine and the Australian Financial Review. He is considered a contrarian in the sales industry and in his book, everything you learned about selling will be turned upside down. No more chasing, no pressure, no closing.

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15 Comments

  1. Jacqueline

    Wise words Ari… I hate being chased or worse still being patronised by someone who assumes they know what I want.

    North Wales, UK

  2. Janine Strachan

    Thanks Ari, I experienced this a few days ago with an inbound call, where I explained my service and through an exchange of emails a time was set up for the service, only then to have them cancel saying too early in their journey, but could I give them a ball park for renovating a house to make it energy efficient. Problem was they did not have a house to renovate yet. I wished them well in their journey of increasing their knowledge and advised them of my soon to be release eBook to increase their knowledge. But not at my expense. I felt quite liberated.

    Melbourne Australia

  3. Riyaz

    Ari,

    I always felt there was something amiss using traditional methods of selling. You proved it.

    Love your methodology.

    Regards
    Riyaz

    Toronto

  4. Andrew Fraser

    Ari – I am relatively new to the sales industry coming form an accounting background. All the traditional selling stuff just sounds SO wrong to me so I find your approach refreshing. To me it just feels like it will work better than the old way. I look forward to winning with the AG way!!

    South Africa

  5. Greg Coates

    You are so right Ari.
    I have been selling B to B using traditional methods in a very hard market for over 20 years. Your approach is like a breath of fresh air.
    You cannot trust prospects any more than they trust you. Opening a conversation by asking for their help and enquiring about their problems shows that you are interested in them and disarms them into talking about their problems and developing trust in you.
    Thank you so much for revealing your method for dispelling suspicion, resistance and rejection.

    Banbury, Oxfordshire, UK

  6. Ash

    Hi Ari,
    I love it. You have a common sense approach. It should be obvious that the sales process be the same whether it be a cold or warm call. Looking forward to improving my effectiveness with your guidance.

    Caboolture, Qld

  7. Joel Nelson Dsouza

    Hello Ari,
    Just got bored with all the gyan the so-called #1 Salesmen recommend in their books. I have to admit that what you have been teaching us so far is the absolute truth and I stand by it.
    A Harmonious relationship is the key to any customer buying from you every time. THE MORE YOU GIVE AWAY WITHOUT EXPECTING IN RETURN, THE FASTER AND BETTER WILL THE CUSTOMER RELY ON YOUR EVERY WORD. 🙂 Cheers mate!

    MANGALORE, Karnataka State, India

  8. CC Padang Laroi

    Like no other! Excellent.thank indeed.

    Myanmar

  9. Sam Dillon

    I have personally increased my sales results 35% – 50% by implementing your program Ari. I resisted your thinking for a long time because I thought I knew it all, but I finally gave in and I now regret not investing in your process years ago.

    You’re right: it’s more profitable to get to the truth than try and chase the sale.

    Sydney, Australia

  10. Michael Levin

    It’s amazing how easy it is for us to make assumptions and bypass the whole process of creating trust just because they called us.

    My sales team continues to level off at a certain conversion rate because they start moving into the sales process quickly without first identifying it’s a fit and getting to the truth.

    I’ve been in sales and sales management for over 25 years and your strategies and ideas are some of the most powerful and profitable strategies I’ve ever seen.

    Well done

    Melbourne, Australia

  11. Dillon Mason

    Excellent distinction Ari, I’ve never looked at inbound leads from that perspective. Again, you are completely correct. You have an uncanny ability to see things that others can’t see, well done.

    New York, New York

  12. Srinath Dolage

    Hi All,

    This is so true. I started to follow Unlock the Game concepts since 2008 or so.

    Thanks to these concepts I become a strategist in Renewable Energy solutions. Bcos in most of the cases RE cannot to implement without the right understanding of both client and the implementor.

    Following Ari’s concepts I became a more truthful person in my personal life also.

  13. Martin Medez

    You are truly right Ari. The old sales technique really molded our mind to always move the conversation forward and to focus only on our OWN agenda. Thank you Ari for revealing to us the reality of our situation and for showing us the true path to genuine interaction/selling.

  14. Thie Convery

    Galper ROCKS it again to make the sales game an easy win!

  15. John Martin

    Ari, I don’t see the opening phrase or the email that put’s an end to email chasing
    in the article above.

    John

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