The industry seems to have had a roaring start to this year, and this was evident in our showroom last Saturday where we had 21 couples visit us in the space of a six hour day. We haven’t had a day like that in a very long time. All being well we’ll be reading lots more positive news from installers all year round. But whilst I welcome good news and positivity, there is one thing that continues to bug me.
Installers and manufacturers seems to have got into this habit of calling things like brochure requests and visits to showrooms by customers leads. Now when I first started selling 8 years ago, a lead was where you sat down in front of the customer in their home and did the usual demonstration and measuring up of whatever they needed you to measure up for. So in that time, when was the term “lead” redefined?
To me a lead will always be that, a physical sales meeting between the business and the customer. A lead to me is NOT when someone asks for brochures without making an appointment to see a member of staff. It also won’t be a lead if a couple comes to have a look at the showroom only. It also won’t be a lead if a customer rings up to make enquiries over the phone, again without making a follow up appointment. Last one – a lead is also not when someone downloads brochures from a website.
If companies are going to be recording stats like these, then for me they should be being recorded as enquiries. And enquiry is just that, when someone makes an initial attempt to gain information – this is NOT a lead. I realise I am going to get quite a few of you which disagree with that stance, but if we are going to look at this in the strictest terms, leads and enquiries are completely different things.
I think lines have blurred like this over the years because many have realised that a redefining of the word lead would mean that enquiries or brochure requests could also be added to the numbers and give them a significant boost. This is fine, but stuff like this needs to be recorded accurately so it’s not misleading.
It might seem a very small irritation for some, but when companies are boasting about how many “leads” they have had, it isn’t always accurate. For example, I mentioned that we had 21 couples in the showroom. I could have said that we made 21 leads on Saturday, or at the very least had 21 enquiries. But no, the reality is that a third of those who came in made actual appointments (leads), the rest took brochures, explored the showroom and intended to make an appointment with us later on when it suited them.
So, lets keep leads and enquiries defined! Anyway, that’s my bugbear off my chest. Feel free to agree or disagree with me in the comments section below!
Great post and I couldn’t agree more, it is often very misleading. There is a big difference between a ‘sales ready lead’ and a website visit/enquiry for further information or a brochure.
In our marketing business Purplex we have a complex ‘behind the scenes’ process for analysing all this stuff, probably a bit boring but here is a post I wrote about it last July:
Phonetracker. You can’t post this on twitter. But to those in the know, when there’s activity on one, theses activity on the other.
Andrew your post was exactly my thinking.
The only thing at a end of a lead is a dog,
What I am after as a salesman is opportunities, if there a need, decision maker present and funds, cash or finance to make it affordable and very importantly time. The Desire and attachment is what I do , by doing a great sales presentation and demo of product which takes time.
What I don’t do is a quick measure up and post the quote later,. Sell the sizzle not the sausage.
I like finding posts like this which describes good old fashioned industry staples. It restores a bit of faith in me that there are still people out there who get it……A lead to myself and at the company I run the marketing for is defined to strict criterea – decision makers present at a set time with a realistic expectation of replacing the product within a given timeframe if it was affordable to them. The frustrating thing I find and in turn which enabled me to find this blog in my quest for some sanity is that nowadays sales departments… Read more »
I’m glad to see you have PROPER parameters for your leads and don’t just class the slightest bit of interest as a lead! I’m also glad you’ve found this site, I hope you’ll continue to keep reading in the future and contribute to the general conversation here! I also agree with you completely when you say that the industry has damaged itself by failing to acknowledge a lead’s worth.
Thanks for your comment!
Horses for courses is the phrase that springs to mind on this subject. Large companies that use telcan define leads as follows- Raw Confirmed Sits Sales Key targets are set and measured and anything better than a conversion rate of 1 sale for every 3 sits is a good result bearing in mind that the sale has to be made “on the night”. Measuring all these elements determines at what stage the Company is succeeding/failing. You are not alone in not understanding the dynamics of proactive marketing. Finance is also a key element of success in this environment with 30%… Read more »
I think you are wrong.
A lead, is simply information related to the overall sales process, whether this be someone making an enquiry via a website or by telephone. This enquiry is the lead.
What about businesses who don’t sell via an appointment? Does their business not generate leads?
What you are describing as a lead, is an appointment.
Think – police investigation, they call a piece of information helping their investigation, a lead.
I will now stand here and await the firing squad…