When I first joined BNI Harvest, I always look forward to every Thursday because I know that  I will be receiving leads / contacts on that day! And to me at that time, a lead is almost equivalent to a done deal. Along the way, I figure out that there is more to sales conversion. The truth is a lead is just a lead, nothing else. It is not even a referral sometimes!

Actually most of my leads from friends and business associates do not convert when I spoke to them (the leads) first time. I started to re-look at my approach and pick up some sales techniques like asking questions and refining my 60 seconds sales pitch, memory hook etc. These techniques work but later then I found out that the most important thing is not in the meetup with your leads / contacts / referrals, it is the follow up that you do after the initial meeting.

For the last 12 months in BNI Harvest, one important lesson I picked up is following up with leads. Hence, I would like to share some of my experience and how you can better convert your leads at a higher chance!

1. Conversion takes time

Do not expect a lead to convert immediately! It is sad but this is true in most cases. Unless someone is urgently looking for your service and came to know about you by word-of-mouth, else, chances are low to convert lead to sales in the first meeting.

Usually it takes more than one meeting to arrive at something concrete. To me, the first meeting is more like understanding my prospect’s business than the other way round. The more I understand someone’s business, the easier for me to think of a solution to its problem.

I guess everyone wants quick business, but if I were to look back, most of my best clients are those who I have followed up countless times for months. One of my financial consultants once commented “Easy business, easy to go”. I agree with him in the sense that if there is no relationship / trust established in a deal, it is just a deal. And this deal can very much be a one-time transaction. In business, most of us are looking for long-term profitability. This is where we need to invest time starting even from the first meeting with anyone.

Most of the time, the deals done today is the result of following up with prospects months ago.

2. Offer to help without any conditions

One powerful technique that I find to convert a lead to sales is to offer to help him / her in some way first. This is not easy if you are not a listener. Most of us have obstacles in our life in some point of time, some obstacles may appear big to your prospects but it can be just a small issue to you. Thus, if you ask your prospects enough questions, you will be able to find out their main concern. Once you know the main thing that is holding them back, you will be able to propose solutions (either within your capability or introduce someone who you know can help them).

If you have noticed, I did not mention that the problem must be related to business or must within the services that you provide.  Until they are comfortable to tell you their main concern, you are not allowed to sell yet! For example, I met a lady sometime ago and one of her concerns is in the sales. She can’t seems to sell or rather, overcome the little voice in her mind. I recommend my sales training partner to her. And now I am receiving quality referrals from her from time to time =)

3. Refer business to your leads

Instead of getting business from your leads, try referring businesses to them! This simple but powerful technique will almost guarantee a sales, if not, a referral from your prospect! This technique, however, only works if you are meeting someone who runs his / her own business.

Humans tend to reciprocate what others did to us. And when I receive a business from someone, that person will be at the top of my list for referring businesses back. This technique also make you easier to follow up with them later. Simply call them back sometime later and they will be glad to share with you and appreciate your time as well.

I hope that you find the above tips useful and do let me know the results after you apply them! I will also continue to share valuable lessons I learn along the way as a BNI member.