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Society

Build your bridge for sale to a lead

salesman
A salesman presenting new car to clients. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

A lead is a potential sale, not an automatic one. Even a hot lead. A lead can be obtained by a seller being told by a colleague or friend thus: “Call up this person. He is ready to buy. Here is his contact.” Now, on the surface this sounds like an open and shut case. And many times both the seller and lead giver believe so. In practice, it rarely is. And usually it’s the seller’s fault.

The seller could have casually called the lead to say, “I was referred to you by Allan. He said you wanted to open an account with us. When can we meet for you to fill out the forms?” It is the exception not the norm when the lead says, “Oh yes. Come tomorrow at 11.” He is more likely to erect a wall not build a bridge. “No. I didn’t say that …” and he proceeds to reinforce the wall with concrete, much to the shock of the seller. As for the lead giver, he is angered (by the seller) when he hears, “He said he was not interested.” ‘How?’ he wonders. Because the seller didn’t build his bridge.

Instead of presuming to walk on the bridge the lead giver made, as seller, seek to lay out your own. Meaning, don’t be too quick to assume you can ride on the lead giver’s goodwill with the lead.

They may be buddies or met at a place that allowed for a connection to happen. First time contacts in selling (and generally in life) are filled with tension. So, break the ice instead with, “Good morning. My name is Joyce. Your friend Allan is my boss. He mentioned that you may be interested in our services. If you let me, I’d be happy to share with you what we have for you to see if it may be of value to you. If this is okay with you please let me know if a meeting tomorrow at 11 is fine with you or if 2 pm is better” There is no pressure to buy here; only a desire to connect. The lead also feels in charge and is much more likely to be open to connect with this stranger.

Further, to make it even easier to build the bridge, ask the giver to call the lead and let him know that there is a colleague, Joyce, that will be calling him to further the discussion on opening the account. Sometimes, rarely, the lead giver, enamoured by your work ethic and being a centre of influence can, in your presence, call a lead instructing, “I’m sending ‘my daughter’ Joyce over to you for you to open that account. She will be there shortly.”

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In such instance, you may presume to walk on the lead giver’s bridge but with much humility when you tell the lead: “Allan sent me to ask you to complete these forms.”

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