It’s very easy to become a lead these days. Having finance, visiting a website, clicking on a social media ad, or just walking into a building potentially defines you as a sales opportunity. But most of these are weak reasons to classify you as a lead – for now at least. It’s also easy to be a hot prospect. Fill in a web form, value your existing car, ask for information, configure your ideal product. All these and many more reasons to capture your details are the lifeblood of sales teams, especially car dealers. But where do these leads begin their life? By the time the dealer receives these hot leads, the sales target has probably already decided what car they’d like to buy and even where they’d like to buy it from. All the sales person has to do is meet the price expectation and usually a sale will result.

The problem is that the decision making process about which product and from whom typically begins a long time before the prospect becomes a hot lead. That’s when quality salesmanship and tenacity pays off. If a well-trained sales person has the opportunity of qualifying a potential future customer early enough, a relationship of trust has a good chance of developing. By sensitively staying in touch early on, the sales person stays involved in the future decision making processes rather than picking up the opportunity after the decision has been made.

So today’s sales staff see hot leads as higher priorities because they convert easily. To develop a weak lead requires boldness, ability and character to deal with rejections, overcoming call reluctance (we don’t like making or receiving calls these days), “Sorry, I can’t talk right now”, “Please leave a message after the tone”. Great sales people never give up. They adapt to challenges without becoming nuisances. We all like good sales handling, we just don’t like being sold to. Quality sales people will be perceived as helpful rather than insistent. Leads obtained earlier in the sales decision process need more effort, not less, because they’re the ones that won’t decide to buy your products without encouragement. They’re only poor quality leads because they’re earlier, not because they’re less likely to buy. Nurture them all, carefully, and one day they too might become hot. Ignore them and the chances are your competitor won’t. The pipeline’s longer than you think.