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Life Health > Running Your Business > Marketing and Lead Generation

"Warm" vs. "cold" leads: Which one should you follow up with?

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Many sales professionals divide their leads into “warm” and “cold” leads. The working assumption is that “warm” leads are more interested and more engaged than “cold” leads.

Most sales professionals assume that it will be much easier and they will be much more successful by reaching out to “warm” leads. Here is a question I recently received from a coaching client who was importing leads into his database and wanted to know the best way to handle them:

“These prospects have had 3 postcards from us already this year…. Would we still consider it a cold situation, a follow up call or maybe even a warm salutation?”

Here are at least six scenarios that I can easily envision happening when prospects receive marketing postcards:

  • Scenario #1: Prospect’s assistant throws postcard out without reading it

  • Scenario #2: Prospect’s assistant reads postcard and files it somewhere

  • Scenario #3: Prospect throws postcard out without reading it

  • Scenario #4: Prospect reads postcard then throws it out

  • Scenario #5: Prospect reads postcard and files it somewhere

  • Scenario #6: Prospect reads postcard and contacts whomever sent the postcard because they are interested

In the six scenarios above, the only one that is truly “warm” is #6: The prospect reads the postcard and then contacts the sender. Just because you have sent someone a postcard, or an email, or a letter, or your brochure or anything else at all, does not mean that your prospect is interested, engaged and ready to talk to you.

“Warm” and “cold” are constructs developed by salespeople. Your prospects do not consider themselves to be “warm” or “cold.” They are not thinking, “I am a warm prospect therefore I’m going to behave in a certain manner.”

All your prospects think when you call them is, “Is this person saying anything I find to be interesting?” If their answer is, no, your call is over before it really starts.

Rather than worrying about whether a particular lead is “warm” or “cold” you are better off developing the communication skills that will enable you to speak compellingly about your offer to any prospect anytime. Then watch your sales explode.

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