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Life Expectancy of LEADS

What is the life expectancy of a lead?

One of our members raised the subject of leads and referrals. This is an improtant subject indeed, because for many of us leads are the life blood of our business. I have copied my reply to Wayne on here, and have added some footnotes.

If I take a lead by door knocking, I make an appointment to call back that evening to discuss the offer and hopefully make a sign up. Now what you need to understand is that a lead as only got a lifespan of 3 days - if you initiated it, and 8 days if the client initiated it by contacting you. I don't rate internet obtained leads very highly these are too frivolous for my taste, and I am asking you never to buy leads from anyone. Find your own.

The important thing to remember is that door to door obtained leads lose 50% of their value on day 2 if unattended to, 35% of their value on day 3, and 15% of their value on day 4. So a lead taken at the door which is over five days old is not worth the paper its written on. I have no reason whatsoever to believe that telephoned canvass leads, or wwwsite obtained leads are any different. They die on you within 5 days unless you rush out and attend to them.

I would argue that a door lead in which you have spoken to the client is valuable because you yourself have had the opportunity to see and hear the client out. Here's a strange thing to ponder over, you knock on the door, little Johnny, age 10, the son answers he says his mother and father are out, he's in charge, and "He knows for certain that his parents are very interested in your products or services, and/or in fact "are thinking of selling their home", you get quite excited over this and mark on your lead sheet something to the effect of *"Good Lead, must call bk, son says definitely going to sell" The question is *how much is this lead worth*, the answer is ZILCH/ nothing, its the worst type of lead you can get. And lots of little Johnnies and Susannas answer the door or telephone each day and cost sales people millions /$.

Here's something else, a lead taken from a slum area or council housing estate [project] scores 3 in estimated value. A lead from a middle-class area scores 5, a professional high incomes area lead scores 7, now here's the rub, when you turn in your sales sheet, the reverse is true, the slum dwellers placed 6 orders, the middle class placed 1.5 orders, and the high income professionals are inclined to give you the run-around. Unless that is, your a sales wizard and able to outsmart them or out think them. Speed of thought and the quality and reliabilty of the information you convey means more to better educated people. The fact is if you want to sell in bulk home services or just about anything else, your main market is blue collar workers. Another golden rule is after age 55 people are almost impossible to deal with, they see you as an unwanted intruder and nothing you say is going to pursuade them otherwise. In closing may I add that you personally need to SELL your services, you cannot rely on others, you must wake up each day and say to yourself I need sales today, actual orders, not worthless promises, nor does it do any good filling my so called contact books with useless [all in 12 months time] names and addresses. Please remember money buys Houses all the rest is worthless dreams. I worked with someone who called it the promised land, its correct name is the salesmens grave-yard. Here's another good tip, never go back, once you leave the clients house without an order then write them off. Be brutal, point out you are busy and chasing buisness by calling and recalling is not how you operate. Another thing introduce minimum order values. Tell them you must order XYZ /$ or all the love you have for them, is being wasted? - by Incidentally
Here's something else, a lead taken from a slum area or council housing estate [project] scores 3 in estimated value. A lead from a middle-class area scores 5, a professional high incomes area lead scores 7, now here's the rub, when you turn in your sales sheet, the reverse is true, the slum dwellers placed 6 orders, the middle class placed 1.5 orders, and the high income professionals are inclined to give you the run-around.
Can you please expand on this Bob? - by AZBroker
See my post on leads and AZ question to expand part of it:

One of the problems with leads is the quality, meaning is it a good lead or a bad lead, and is it worth rushing around immediately to it, meaning treating it like an house on fire emergency, or it it just another run-of- the mill lead. So this is where your OWN experience comes in. First of all "who took the lead" and how reliable are they as people and individuals, how reliable have there leads been in the past, and here's the nitty-gritty "how are they paid for getting leads", and "how do they go about getting leads themselves". So leads are graded just like diamonds.

The best leads are hand-written letters to you that say in effect; "Your staff did a job for my neighbour Emily Blooodhound, and we want something done similar - so will you have your rep call on us". This scores 9. If they had enclosed a $1000 deposit and a photo of themselves in a bikini - then naturally this would score 10, but this rarely happens.

The worst lead is; Your Sales Manager recruits a team of canvassers average age 20, actual age based on their world-at war knowledge 8 [its a battle out there] He says to them your on commision only and we pay $30 dollars for every lead obtained, and another $30 dollars for a sit-down presentation and another $85 dollars for a sign up. On the face of it this seems okay, but its not. The crafty sods will turn in lead after lead - but very few will be any good. The reason is that leads need to be graded by the taker and the bad leads discarded by him. In practice leads taken by a canvasser need to be REDUCED by as much as 85% / meaning you want him to chuck out the rubbish. Ideally you want from a canvasser just 2 good leads a day, not sacks fulls of rubbish.

Here's a little secret, a dishonest canvasser with 8 ounces of common-sense and out to rip the firm off, will dive into the nearest housing estate or project and sign up druggies, whinos, yobbos and friends of friends, the clue is "he walks into your offices" with 16 leads which he assures you are all winners". If you are on your guard you make sure they have telephone numbers and you ring them all, my experience is few will prove viable. It needs to be said that when you tell him this you know full well an argument is going to take place and "he's going to leave".
A clever telephone canvasser can work the same fiddle and can pull fast strokes also. So watch out for recriminations!

Here's another scenario, your sat in your office and its your job to grade leads, because your the mug who might be going to "work them", so as a rule of thumb housing project leads score 3/10. Why: because these people are going to fail credit checks, place an order then cancel it, and worst of all not pay their bill, nor, 55% of the time did they intend to pay the bill, and the chances are the goods you deliver and install are resold by them within 7 days. These are the invisible factors that reduce their lead value. Now add this in, your sales reps will call on them and sign them up in droves, the commissions earned are substantial, but the orders received are worthless, the finance documents are worthless, and the employer [your company] is looking at bankruptcy, the withdrawal of finance facilities by the provider and huge staff problems. Direct sales is a dirty business and employing canvassers is even dirtier. This is why I prefer the lone hunter approach, I know its time consuming but he who does best - works alone? - by Incidentally
I've always felt the life span of a lead is the responsibility of the salesperson. If nurtured, a lead will have a long life span as you work with the prospect to meet his or her needs with the value of what you're selling. If you don't follow-up and stay in touch, then it will indeed shrivel. - by Coda1108
Bob my experience matches what you described in your post. You are spot on. ;wi - by AZBroker
AZ you have 40+ years experience here of leads and lead handling.

It neeeds to be said a lead is a lead until you call, then it becomes a possible or propsect. Keep in your head that when two men meet to discuss something there is 3 [three] conversations going on.

What you need to remember is what was IT that was discussed by the clients before you called on them you know they have game-plans as well!!! clients being Mr Mrs Average UK America. They can visualise you, guess almost word for word what you are going to say, have a good idea what you will show them and what promises you will make. And they are spot on. Except when Bob calls:Viz:

1. Can you show me the job you want doing [assess couple / don't like them] Is that the job - sorry - you don't want us, you need a local man, someone cheap, not us, Goodbye.

2. Knock on door, Mr Suspicious comes out, he doesn't invite you in and seems evasive. [me] Can you show me the job, he does so but very reluctantly [me] When do you want it done, [him] Soon, [me] Sorry, we are struggling to cope with the orders we've got, it might be best to get someone else [him] please note he's attitude noticeably improves [he's thinking to himself this guy is genuine] [ME] trying to assess him [meaning trying to guess is he /her more trouble than their worth] I decide they are, [ME] Look I am sorry but we really do have a full order book / Goodbye.

3. Local house in millionaires row: Appt 1.0pm, I arrive 12.50 noon, pm, son says Mum is next door in neighbours, I wait fuming, she comes in 12.40. 40 minutes late, over dressed and playing the millionairess, she show me the job, I say in a MOCK surprised voice "Surely, you haven't dragged me out for this, can't your husband do it, I mean has he no DIY skills at all? You should have saw her face, she decides to double the size of the job, I say "Sorry, we don't tackle small-works, have you tried Yellow Pages"
Whats the game, profit, reduction of headaches bearing in mind some clients are never pleased, size of job, time involved, and value of job and we have to like you, and want your order, make a bad impression and you had better find someone else, not us. I stopped being a servant in 1982. Before that I might have been a fool? who knows. You see I never worry about orders, I worry about the quality and value of the orders. - by Incidentally
Good leads have a lifespan too because the goods ones buy sooner than later. - by Marcus
A good lead is a good lead is a good lead. Full stop.

With a good lead you see if a definite pattern of behaviour emerging, you phone them, they return your call. On the telephone or during a conversation they drop hints, or indicate knowledge which indicates a research of the subject, or a better grasp of the subject than you'd expect, they ask "Lets find out more about this proposition" questions. If your late for the appoinment they phone to see if you are coming, when you arrive they smile, and volunteer information. Sometimes they say "Do you want us both there", or "My husband wants to be there, can we arrange a time to suit all of us". This is the pattern to look out for.

With a bad lead the reverse is true. Tying them down to an appointment is difficult, they say its not urgent, or can you not send us some literature, or my husband cannot be there, or my husband wants you to leave me the details to give him. Please write this down> They are not innocents, they know what they are doing, and its pre-planned calculated behaviour.

A rep like me soons see's through it, I can cut them off, call their bluff, outwit them if I wish too, but a new rep, a newbie falls for their act, he rings them, sends literature, trys to make a fresh appointment/s, runs after them, and they start to feel embarrassed so they begrudgingly grant the newbie an interview - in which they are play acting, stringing him along, and wasting his/her time. So a newbie needs to wise up to whats going on.
How, by experiencing it, and learning. Read this post 25 times, its the best advice you have ever been given, and its free, compliments of your UK cousins. - by Incidentally
resentment and delay in attending to them is the number 1 cause.

Try and imagine you have thought about selling your home for 12 months, you've picked out an agent, you've tidied up the childrens rooms, gone through the imaginary stage of 2nd guessing what he will do, what he will say and want, got a settlement figure from the mortgage company, worked out what you are keeping and throwing away, disposed off the dog [it was bought just for Xmas anyway] then you phone your SELECTED AGENTS, you speak to a bored telephone receptionist, who tells you Mike Dumberto covers your area and she will give him your message and have him phone you. You wait 3 days fuming, and you ring again and again and again.

So you get annoyed, resentment creeps in, and you dig out Yellow Pages, or do a search and phone firm B, the chances are 50-50 the same thing will happen again. Mike Dumberto's got a 1001 brothers, and its almost certain one of them works alongside you. You see sales is that sort of business, the Dumbertos of the world are with you all the time, its even worse when he's the bosses son-in-law and he gets first choice of all the good leads and you get the long-distance, miles away prospects. And don't think it
does not happen. - by Incidentally
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