“The leads are no good,” says just about every home improvement salesperson at least once in his or her career. For me (yes, including me), this was almost always an excuse I’d use when I was in a slump, rather than looking in the mirror for more legitimate answers.

I think this is a great kickoff point for the first installment in our series on “Making Salespeople Great Again.”

As I mentioned during our last visit, I started my career in this business as an in-home, one-call closer—mainly selling gutters and gutter protection products. Those were the days before the “Do Not Call” list, and, in larger organizations like ours, big telemarketing rooms using predictive dialers were the best way to generate a massive number of leads.

I remember a sales meeting I attended one day, where several guys were complaining about the quality of their leads. The Sales Manager was actually in a pretty good mood that day and just started laughing.

He then went into the process of explaining how leads were created out of the telemarketing room:

  • The telemarketer connected with a homeowner and went through the script.
  • The homeowner agreed to an in-home demonstration.
  • The telemarketer took the lead sheet to the manager.
  • The manager immediately called the homeowner back and confirmed that the homeowner had just made the appointment.
  • Finally, if it wasn’t a same- or next-day lead, on the day of the appointment the confirmer would call the homeowner back to confirm.

The Sales Manager then looked at one of the biggest complainers and said, “If that appointment gets confirmed, how many times did that homeowner say ‘Yes’?”

“Three,” the salesman replied, sheepishly.

Then, regarding the follow-up that closed the deal, ”How many chances did the homeowner have to say ‘No’?” the manager asked, to which the salesperson provided the same response.

“I guess that was a pretty darn good lead you ran last night, wasn’t it?” the manager replied.

Today, we’ve strategically maximized the number of lead generation sources we use to the point that the majority of those sources require the homeowner to reach out to us.

But as funny as it sounds, I still hear sales folks talk about lead quality.

It’s all about attitude. While those of us who lived through running telemarketing leads from 90 percent cold calls could make a case about the quality of those leads, today there are no excuses.

The attitude should be, “These folks evidently have a need, and, as such, they’re planning on making a purchase to fill that need. My job is to help them choose my company, my product, and me, in order to fill that need.”

I think the struggle pertains to the way people buy today, which makes leads so much more competitive.

As my good friend likes to say, “Therein lies the rub.” Don’t fall into the trap of comparing quality to competitiveness.

This leads right into our next conversation—about the secret to closing more competitive, high-quality leads.

Talk then.

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