#BlogSomething2012: Converting prospects to qualified leads

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Museum of Fine Arts Boston

Imagine sitting down for dinner at a table in a fancy restaurant and being handed a menu with no prices on it. Wouldn’t you find that a bit unsettling? Is the food free? Is it so expensive that no one dares put the price on the menu? What if the waiter extols the virtues of the special but doesn’t tell you about the price, the name, or what’s in it, just that it’s really special and incredible.

This is the situation that so many prospective customers find themselves in when on a website, especially in B2B (although there’s plenty of price-free landing pages in B2C too).

Now think about the things that make someone a qualified lead, a true potential customer:
+ Can they even afford our product?
+ Are they the decision maker?
+ Do they actually have a need for our product?
+ Are they going to make a purchase in the reasonably near future?

A number of digital marketers tend to create obscenely long landing pages that never actually let prospects answer these questions for themselves. I totally understand that, especially if your product is expensive, like a television or a car. The prevailing school of thought in lead-focused marketing is to acquire the lead fast and first, then worry about quality later, because a good sales department could possibly convert people who are on the fence. The flaw with this school of thought is that it makes for more effort for your sales team to process all those leads.

If the diner has sat down at your table, they’ve demonstrated a need, namely they’re hungry enough to show up at your table. They’ve also come in and sat down, which means that you can reasonably expect them to make a purchase at some time in the near future. If you clearly list who shouldn’t be eating which foods and what the prices are, you’ll lose some prospects (especially the people standing at the door reading the posted menu) but those who come in, sit down, and pick up the menu are saying they’re ready to begin doing business with you.

Suppose you handled your marketing in the same way? Here’s the menu, here are the prices, here is our list of who our product is appropriate for and who it’s not appropriate for. Will your prospect volume go down? Unquestionably. But the percentage of prospects who are more qualified as a percentage of all prospects should rise conversely, because the folks who clearly can’t afford you or clearly couldn’t benefit from your product won’t even bother sitting down at the table.

Something to chew on.

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One response to “#BlogSomething2012: Converting prospects to qualified leads”

  1. I went in this morning and put my rates back on my site. I had no other reason for not listing my rates because I saw other freelancers don’t list theirs.

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