Having a list of sales prospects or potential customers is great, but not if it isn’t organized in a way that will ultimately benefit you and keep you from wasting time. In order to do this you are going to want to split your leads into categories and then spend a little time working from each list as appropriate.
The Four Main Lead Categories
Start by breaking your leads down into four main categories. For the purposes of illustration we’ll call them hot, warm, cool, and cold. These categorizations are a reference to the quality of a lead; the hotter they are, the more likely they are to actually convert.
Now, let’s get in-depth. Here’s how they break down.
Hot leads are the ones most likely to buy from you. It may not be right away but they use the type of product you sell on a regular basis and have expressed interest. They may also be great influencers with a network of friends and family members who take what they have to say seriously, often trying the things they recommend.
You should begin cultivating relationships with these leads right away. Stay in regular contact and make sure they understand what you have to offer from the start. Try to set an appointment for a meeting, consultation, or home gathering right away.
Warm leads are potential buyers but don’t come with the same sense of urgency as hot leads. They may already use a similar product, or they’ve expressed genuine interest, but they aren’t necessarily ready to buy right now. You may or may not have gotten their contact info as a referral from a current customer or a hot lead. They may be part of the “warm market” you were told about when you started in sales - friends and family you can turn to as you are getting started. You’ll need to gauge the level of interest of a warm lead and decide when and how to follow up. Staying connected is important, but the occasional phone call or email may be best until they show genuine interest in hearing about what you have to share.
Cool leads generally have some sort of common interest but it may be a step or two removed. Maybe they know people you have already done business with, or maybe you move in similar circles but haven’t had an opportunity to connect yet.
They may not even be the actual leads you’re looking for, but they can still be people who can point you in the right direction. Often, they have contacts you can cultivate later on through word of mouth and organic shares.
Cool leads shouldn’t be top-priority, but you should definitely work to introduce yourself and maintain a distant relationship with them. When times are slow, you can turn to them for advice or leads.
Cold leads are usually pretty useless.
Not sure how or why you have the name and number? Did you do a little social research and find you have absolutely zero in common with each other?
Maybe you did some research and found this person sells for a company with products similar to yours, whether directly or indirectly.
Sometimes people throw their names and emails onto contact lists to win giveaways with no intention of actually considering a product or service. Unless you uncover something incredibly interesting that you really, genuinely want to know more about (like a service they offer that could help you) it’s time to toss these leads. They will keep you running in circles and will regularly waste your time.
Additional Classifications to Consider
Once you’ve filtered your leads into these four main categories you can start to break things down even further. You should take an especially close look at your hot and warm leads and ask yourself a few questions.
Did the lead come in as part of a targeted sales campaign?
Did you run an ad on Facebook, hand out flyers, or send out an email newsletter that generated interest? Leads that came as replies to any of these should be considered top priority. These people are showing interested based on a specific piece of information you shared and need your attention right away.
Once you’ve sorted out your top priority leads you should look through the list for the people you feel the most confident about. They have a higher value because they have shown interest and they’ve landed on your hot or warm lists for any number of reasons. Make them your focus when you do not have any immediate and urgent leads available.
Does the lead have a very specific interest?
Some people aren’t necessarily interested in your entire product line as much as they are in something very specific. They may want information, multiple products, or even just the convenience of ordering through you versus someone else.
Here’s a few examples that may qualify as a “special interest:”
● Are you having a sale on that specific item?
● Are there any discounts or incentives for buying that product alone?
● Are they interested in bundling with another product?
Reach out and let your prospects know that there are specials related to their specific areas of interest. These may end up being smaller, focused sales, but they will appreciate you paying attention to the details and remembering what they were really focused on.
Don’t forget about your current customers. They’re still hot leads, especially if they aren’t on any sort of automatic refill or subscription system. Check in to see if they need refills or if they’re interested in new, complimentary products.
Success Comes from the Follow-Up
Any successful salesperson (whether they’re in network marketing or not), will tell you that success comes from following-up. Did you send an email and receive no response? Send another. Touch base with your prospects on a regular basis - a length of time determined by their request or level of interest. You may find that someone who simply wasn’t ready in August is suddenly hot in October. You’ll miss out on opportunities if you don’t make the time to stay in touch!
Classify and reclassify your leads as often as needed within your CRM system to ensure you are getting the most out of each contact. Using regular reminder systems will ensure the lines of communication stay open, even if you aren’t talking to someone daily or weekly. Knowing the type of lead you are working with is critical to maintaining a workable relationship that will last months or years.