A Lead Is a Lottery Ticket

A lead is a lottery ticket. You don’t know whether you win anything until you scratch the card. Why wouldn’t you check to see if you have won anything? Why not take a look and see what you’ve got—if anything.

Some sales folks make the mistake of deciding that because many of their leads don’t turn out to be real opportunities, none of their leads will turn out to be opportunities. First, because something is true about some leads says nothing about other leads. Second, most of the time many of the leads are decent; the problem is the salesperson doesn’t know how to create value for the lead in the early stage of the buying process, preferring instead “ready-to-buy leads.”

Other salespeople believe they don’t have time to follow up on leads. They make a single call, and then they give up and go away. For these reps, if it takes more than a call or two to reach someone, they move on to receptive prospects, regardless of whether they are any better than the leads with whom they are having trouble contacting.

The right thing to do with a lead is to call them. You are not guaranteed that the lead is worth your time. You are not guaranteed that it will turn into an opportunity, nor are you certain to convert that opportunity. You are not promised that anyone will get back to you, let alone engage with you in the process of exploring change.

Just like you aren’t guaranteed that a lottery ticket is a winner, a lead comes with no guarantees. You just have to play it to see what happens. If you want to do your very best work, targets are still greater than leads, but there is no reason not to scratch a lottery ticket, even if that isn’t your plan to succeed. Why would you throw the lead away when you lose nothing by playing the game?

Make the call.

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