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Andy Rich | BizDev3.0 | Philadelphia, PA

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Every salesperson dreams of getting good leads. But what are you supposed to do when you get one?

Let's assume Marketing has gone to the trouble of generating a hot lead for you. Now it's your job to treat that lead with the respect it deserves, by maximizing the possibility of turning it into a sale. How exactly do you do that? Here are three time-tested steps you can follow.

Step 1. Do a little homework. Before you reach out to this person, make sure you understand why he requested information, gave you his name, clicked on an Internet link, or did whatever else he did to get himself on this list. If you don't understand that much, you can't possibly expect to craft a message that relates to this prospective buyer’s circumstances. If it's possible for you to do so, you should experience first-hand the process by which people become leads.

Step 2. Understand the likely pain(s). Now that you know a little about this person's circumstances, think about why your product or service is likely to be valuable to the people on your lead list. What problem(s) are they trying to solve? What goal(s) are they trying to achieve? What outcomes are trying to produce – or avoid? Once you have clear answers to those questions, move on to…

Step 3. Make sure there's a message-to-market match. Now it’s time to hone your message until it matches the market’s dominant concerns. When you finally do connect one-on one with the lead, you should be prepared to engage prospects with a question that’s relevant to the reason that they identified themselves as a prospect in the first place. For instance, if you do a lot of work with homeowners who reach out to you because they are unhappy with their high monthly mortgage payments and are looking for a way to lower them, you might ask: “What is your current mortgage rate?” “Have you refinanced in the past?” And so on.

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