Ask any sales guy, How important are leads for him? He may talk for hours on the same. In fact within sales teams, one major area of conflict is leads ownership. Who owns that lead? Every sales guy wants leads since it’s the starting point of sales lifecycle in any type of business in the universe. Why? Sales guy needs people whom he could approach. Marketing and Sales departments in a company invest significant capital on building contacts data and/or buying contacts and leads from vendors. Once marketing and sales team have contacts, they would start approaching them.
As any Business needs Contacts for product/services selling , an Individual needs Contacts for personal selling.
Do you know your contacts?
You use personal phone. You have one/ multiple personal and work email accounts. You are on social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, Instagram, Quora. The Phone Address Book, Email Contacts, Social Media Followers and friends are Contacts repositories for you. I am sure you would have got your initial people network in your family, school, college, workplaces and local communities. Thanks to Social media, you are constantly exposed to 2nd level or 3rd level or unknown connections and you keep on building your network. You have your contacts but have you ever acknowledged the same. Do you value your contacts? Trust me its the first thing you need to have for opportunity creation. In my next blog, I will tell you about how to build your contacts.
Contacts become leads
In business, a Contact becomes a lead when sales guy considers the contact as a potential buyer and he would want to approach him to propose products/ services offerings.
Similarly, in personal selling context your contacts become your leads when you believe they can be a potential buyer of your offering. Lets take an example, a professional is employed in a company and he plan to stick to that company for couple of years from now. On the way, he keeps on getting prospective job opportunities from recruiters from various companies. The professional would think that since he is happily employed, contacts and those emails don’t hold any value. However, if he responds to recruiters with a Thank you note and keep them as contacts then later on he may use those HR contacts for prospective employment opportunities when he looks for a job. Those HR contacts will become Leads for him.
Leads become opportunities and hence Success
When a sales guy approaches a prospect and prospect expresses his interest in buying then the lead becomes an opportunity (qualified lead). The Sales guy further engages with the qualified lead to close sales.
Lets extend on the example illustrated previously. In personal selling context, when the professional approached the HR guy and proposes himself for a relevant role and HR guy confirms an opening for the proposed role, it would become a qualified opportunity for the professional. The professional would engage with the HR for generating an interview appointment for himself. Post this; it depends on mutual evaluation by the parties for possible engagement. Finally a closure would happen when the professional is offered the Job.
Personal Sales Lifecycle
Your personal sales lifecycle spans across Building Contacts, Identifying Leads, Approaching Leads, Creating Opportunities and finally closing the deal with success of failure. Here, failure is valuable as well as it would give you an opportunity to constantly assess and improvise your value proposition.
I would talk more about Contacts, Leads, Lead Generation techniques and Opportunity creation over next blogs.