Inbound leads are very different than leads on a cold calling list. From their readiness to buy to their receptiveness to your call to their level of qualification, they really couldn’t be much different, in fact. In this article, we’ll compare the two and explain why we prefer the inbound lead.
The cold call lead
When you’re in cold calling mode, you’re probably prospecting from some list of leads. Whether you bought a list or built one by scouring the internet and industry directories, these leads aren’t expecting to hear from you. And when you pick up that phone and start working your way down the list, you’re taking a leap of faith that some small percentage of those you call on will:
- Answer the phone
- Happen to need what you sell
- Happen to need what you sell at that exact moment in time
Even though you know you have something valuable to offer, a majority off these people just don’t care. They don’t want to talk to you because as far as they’re concerned, you’re just a spammer. So sorry to break the news. 🙁
And as far as making a sale goes? Well, that’ll depend on some combination of your list quality, the amount of time you invest in this cold calling session and how lucky you are that particular day. None of this is news to you.
The inbound lead
An inbound lead is the near opposite of a cold call lead. This lead willingly came to you, rather than you hunting for him. He called or filled out a form on your website because he was proactively looking for something.
- If he found you through a Google search, it means he asked Google a question and Google gave him your site to help him find the answer. So he visited your site. And then he filled out a form.
- If he found you on LinkedIn, it’s because he saw something that seemed to fit a need he had. So he clicked a link and visited your site. And then he filled out a form.
- If he came directly to your website, it’s because somehow he learned about you and decided you were worth exploring. And he confirmed that you were worth exploring further when he filled out a form.
And don’t forget – he wasn’t forced to fill out that form. He did it because he chose to do so.
He may have downloaded a white paper because he was trying to learn something – trying to solve a business problem. He may have downloaded a case study because he’s vetting you – trying to determine whether your company is legit and capable of fulfilling his need. He may have downloaded a product catalog because he’s looking for a specific item.
One way or another, this inbound lead has already raised his hand and said, “I need help. I may or may not be primed to buy at this exact moment in time. But I need help, and you can help me.”
So what do you do with an inbound lead who needs help?
Help him. Be a consultative salesman.
He gave you his phone number when he filled out that form, right? Pick up the phone and ask him what questions you can answer and what you can do to make his day easier. Look at this as an opportunity to earn trust and start a relationship with a potential customer.
Not every inbound lead is qualified or course. But wouldn’t you rather start your prospecting from a list of potential customers who have already identified a need you can serve than a list of people whose demographic characteristics indicate they might be interested in what you sell? I certainly would.
Building a pipeline of inbound leads is tough work, but so is cold calling. We prefer the former and that’s why we practice what we preach for our own company and for the work we do for our clients. Build yourself a pipeline of inbound leads and you’ll be a spammer no more. Click here to learn more about online lead generation.