Your list. Do you have one? List of what, you say? Fair question. Let’s step back a bit. I’m talking about leads, prospects… ie: interested parties.
Does every lead buy the first time they encounter your products and services? The late Chet Holmes always talked about three percent who are ready to buy “right now”. Your business might “meet” 100 people this month who haven’t encountered you before. Using Chet’s numbers, there’d be three who are ready to buy and 97 who aren’t. Yet.
Your prospects might be different than his were, but there’s a percentage that applies to your business and your prospects. You get to analyze your prospects and how long it takes them to work through the lead process and figure that out. There isn’t one number for you and every other business.
That said, if your numbers match Chet’s, then what are you doing with the other 97% of the people you meet? If they don’t match his, that’s OK. The same question remains… what are you doing with the rest of them?
If you know who they are and can reach out to them to educate them (ie: provide them with info to help them learn more about what they said they’re thinking about buying), then you have a list. If you can’t do that, then you don’t have a list.
“People hate being on a list”
You’ve probably heard that. Or said it. Or lived it. Actually, what people seem to hate is being on a bad list.
A bad list is one:
- ..where everyone gets the same thing, every time they’re emailed, mailed and/or called – regardless of age, gender, income, marital status, history as a customer, or time as a prospect.
- ..that gets emailed, mailed and/or called with hard sales pitches about things they haven’t shown an interest in. For example, if I stop in to look at a four wheel drive diesel pickup, I don’t expect you to bug me about the latest hybrid two-seater you received. The reverse is also true.
- ..that’s all about them and rarely about you (the prospective buyer) & your needs. Generally speaking, we don’t care about your end of month sales quota, or your boat payment coming due.
Political campaigns are a good example of a bad list. You get…
- Mailings whose message resonates only to already-decided voters. See above.
- Mailings that are all about the candidate’s party and not one iota about the voter they are trying to convince.
- Mailings that think they can get you to change your mind because someone is, or isn’t wearing a cowboy hat.
If you want an example of what it’s like to be on a bad list… register to vote. If your mailings treat prospects in a manner that’s even close to the way parties and PACs treat their mailing lists, it’s time to reboot.
A good list serves leads
“Lead” is a somewhat impersonal name for these folks – after all, they are real people who have shown an interest in what you do. Leads is just a word. Don’t let it distract you from the purpose of your list of them. Treating them as if they’re all the same is a bad idea.
Why didn’t the other 97% buy? Maybe they’re waiting to get paid. Maybe they need to complete a few other tasks before they can buy. Perhaps they’re starting to learn about something they know they need or want, but they’re far from ready to buy. Maybe they have to wait until their new budget year starts. They all have a reason (want or need) and each one has a timeline. Some are more urgent than others.
You probably know 100 (often taken for granted) things that’d help the 97 (or whatever) percentage of people who didn’t buy figure out what to buy and when. These are the people who, if treated intelligently and kindly, would benefit from being on a good list.
“What do I say to make my list good?”
Imagine that one of your friends decides they need to buy what you sell. What questions would you want them to have the answers to before they make a buying decision? How would you advise them as they navigate the learning & purchase process?
These are the things a good list says. A good list treats leads like a friend who needs advice.