There Is No Such Thing as a Ready-to-Buy Lead

There Is No Such Thing as a Ready-to-Buy Lead

A ready to buy lead is a unicorn. It’s a fairy tale.

If you’re going to succeed in sales, you take your leads where you find them. So what if they’re not yet ready to buy? The question you should be asking yourself is “who is going to help get them ready to buy?”

If your not-so-ready to buy lead is very early in the buying process, you can help them understand and define their needs. If you can do one thing to improve your results in sales it is to get in front of a deal. There aren’t many things that put you further in front than catching your prospect right as they start to recognize their dissatisfaction and looking for answers.

If your not-quite-there yet lead is trying to evaluate their options, you get the chance to help them understand what choices are available to them, to understand and weigh the trade-offs that accompany those choices, and to differentiate your offering from the field. You might not be as far in front as you’d like to be, but you have an opportunity to create value. Because you have the opportunity to create value, you can help guide your lead closer to the buying decision.

Even if the lead that’s dropped on your desk has already made the decision to buy from your competitor and is only calling you confirm their decision to buy, you still have a chance to convert the lead. You have to be brave enough to ask them not to make the decision without seeing you first, and you have to be doubly brave to ask them what would cause them not decide to buy from your competitor. (I have had to do this a half a dozen times because I happened to make a call and connect with a prospect when they were already trying to resolve their concerns. I was successful a few times, and I won a few more when the client didn’t get what they wanted from someone else).

It would be wonderful if marketing provided you with a lead that only required that you answer a few questions and send over the paperwork. But you know that isn’t going to happen. You take your leads as they lie.

Selling isn’t easy. If it was, everybody would be great at selling.

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  • Douglas E Rice

    It’s like the joke about the economist and the $20 bill. He refuses to pick it up, because he doesn’t think it’s real. If it were, someone would have picked it up already. Same with leads. If they were really ready to buy, they wouldn’t be talking to you. They would have already bought.

    Besides, what does “ready” even mean? Are any of us ever “ready” when we actually make decisions? No, I don’t think so. Buyers are not different. They don’t buy when they’re ready. They buy when they’re persuaded that they are ready “enough.” Great post.

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      I love that one, Doug!

  • Sherman Smith

    I was reading that sales is about providing value and helping the customer make a sound decision to buy from you. It’s in the process of marketing. This was a great post and I appreciate you sharing!

    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Well, I think marketing is the process of selling, but okay!

  • Jacques Werth

    On the other hand, if you know how to find prospects that are ready, willing, and able to buy, you don’t need “leads.”

  • Marc Zazeela

    Anthony – Ready to buy is rare and just plain lucky. Not something I one can rely on to make an honest living in sales.

    As you have pointed out, most of the “leads” you get or find will be in various stages of waiting to buy, needs to buy, will buy later, may buy sometime, etc. It is our job to help them understand that the time is now. The benefits are immediate and to procrastinate costs time and money.


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      Your last sentence is spot on, Marc!