Converting Cold Leads into Sales Opportunities

By Aldwin Neekon

icelandic stream and narrow path illustrating engaging with a cold leads

Cold leads are one thing. They don’t know you. You can’t take it personally when they don’t return your calls.

But what about the cold leads who used to be engaged, but have since gone cold?

That hurts.

They know you. They read your posts, they downloaded your pdfs, they attended your webinars, they opted into your newsletter!

Any now they just ignore you?

Well, it’s sad to say, but you know what?

Why warm leads become cold leads: It isn’t them. It’s you.

The way we consume vendor information has changed. We binge and ignore.

Think of how you act when you’re the buyer.

When we’re in binge mode, we download everything and scan it.

Once we get the feeling that we have a decent understanding of what the vendor can do for us, we disengage and ignore.

Why?

Vendors have trained us to behave this way

There’s just too much information. It costs too much in the way of time and mental energy to consume vendor information as it comes in.

DING! Here’s an email from a CRM vendor that might have some features that can help us.

DING! Here’s a call from a vendor who promises to lower our costs.

DING! Here’s an webinar invitation from vendor we don’t care about…but their guest speaker is Chris Voss!!!

DING! DING!

It’s all day every day like this.

The only cure is to ignore it all until you need to figure out a vendor.

Then you binge everything they have. And as soon as you think you’ve got them figured out, you ignore them again.

It’s a wonder more of our contacts aren’t cold leads.

So it doesn’t really matter what your marketing team is saying, or what your call script is, or anything like that. Once you’re in the ignore pile, you tend to stay in the ignore pile.

The best you can hope for is:

  1. Stay somewhere in the periphery of their consciousness so they remember you when a need arises.
  2. Get your message into one of the channels that they’re not currently ignoring.

Once you get yourself back onto their attention span, then you can find ways to help them realize that they really do need your stuff right now.

But how do you get back in front of them when they’ve put you on their mental ignore list?

You show up where they’re paying attention.

One area that most of us keep paying attention to is our peers.

If I told you that I had a report showing what your 5 top competitors are doing, would you want to see it?

You probably would.

Let’s go one step further. What if I said I had a report showing what the top 3 sales people at your top 5 competitors were doing.

That’s a little more interesting, right?

Now let’s take it the whole way.

What if I invited you to have a friendly, moderated chat with those 15 top sales people who are as good as you are at what you do? A roundtable of your peers. Would you be interested in trading stories with them?

Maybe I lost you there. Sales people tend to be competitive. Maybe you’re concerned about sharing your secrets. But not everyone is as competitive and guarded as you might be.

This is what we mean when we talk about running an Lead Generation Roundtable. It warms up leads who’ve gone cold and it’s one of the most effective forms of B2B customer research you can run.

How do you do it?

You put 15 CFOs or CEOs or CISOs that fit your target buyer profile around a table.

Then you get the conversation started in just the right way and you’ll see how quickly they open up to one another and start sharing their experiences.

The warm leads who had turned into cold leads start to warm up again.

Figure out a way to steer the topic to problems your company solves, and you’re most of the way there.

Let me know if you need help doing this for your used-to-be-engaged-but-now-they’ve-gone-cold leads. Or if you prefer, you can learn the details of this method in this guide to Lead Generation Roundtables.

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See also: The Art of Cultivating Connections

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