Over the years I would bust my behind with lead generators, network meetings, relationship building, lunches, Starbucks, etc. to get a qualified lead for my sales team. “Keep me in the loop” is the only prerequisite I ask in order for them to receive this lead. Simple right?
Not only did they not keep me in the loop… they acted like they found the lead later and had some sort of prior “relationship”. What is up with that!
Rule #1: When someone gives you a lead internally, or externally, keep them in the loop. Why is this so important? Other than just simple manners and respect… It just makes good business sense. If I had a business contact give me a lead and met them later… I would not want to find out that we did not follow up on this opportunity from them. Obviously this would be embarrassing and most likely I would never get a lead from them again. Not good for business.
Rule #2: Never take credit for something you didn’t do no matter how stealthy you think you are. Sales professionals can be an extremely insecure bunch. Partially because sales managers and owners will ask questions like “Where did you get that lead?” Insinuating that it is a less than opportunity because the sales person did not develop it themselves. Of course this is nuts, but now they have a desire to somehow prove they had something to do with the lead generation. Sales Pros… Do not fall into this trap! Your credibility and trustworthiness is at stake here. Possibly jeopardizing your getting more leads in the future.
“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey
Rule #3: When the sale is finished… reward the lead generator. This can be a simple thank you email to some sort of gift or both. You want them to give you more leads, right? While a gift would not be appropriate to your manager an email of thanks would. It always amazes me when this does not happen. It is such a simple gesture. However, somehow this can become an ego thing. “I can’t give them credit or I will look less than!” This couldn’t be further from the truth in most cases. Do not miss this… Critical!
I can tell you from experience… when I have had a salesperson not want to keep me in the loop they don’t get another lead from me. I am looking for a partnership. I might even want to help direct the strategy going forward many times if my relationship is strong with the potential buyer. This applies to internal and external leads as well. Some sales people just can’t handle that. Many times, out of frustration, a sales manager and/or owner will simply just work the deal and keep the commission. While I have never been an advocate of this I can see how they would get to this point.
Stop being a thankless lead salesperson today! Give honest credit where credit is due. You will see more leads and stronger relationships if you do so.Photos courtesy of 123RF