I can tell you how NOT to get them:  don’t ask questions.  And certainly don’t ask the questions you are afraid to ask because you might find out you don’t have a lead.

What?

Let me clear it up:  you must, must, must ask good questions to find out if you have good, qualified leads, can set appointments with them and can sign them as clients.  And, furthermore, you need to ask questions that might be somewhat straightforward, which many of us shy away from, so that you don’t get surprised and end up with a bad lead and time wasted.

Too many new salespeople get so excited when they have someone who they think is interested, that they assume everything and don’t ask the questions to find out if the prospect has the means to buy or sell, what, if anything, is their motivation, and if they’re interviewing other sales people.

Do you want to be an order taker, or an order maker?  5-7 years ago, you could have made a decent living being an order taker.  The economy was good, so there were plenty of people just looking to spend money.

Now, it’s not so easy.  The economy isn’t doing to well, the real estate market isn’t doing too well, mortgages are harder to get, gas and food is higher than ever.  So, there aren’t that many orders to take.

And, because of that, many salespeople are less likely to ask the questions because they don’t want to hear that the prospect isn’t really a viable prospect.  They would rather “feel like” they’re working by doing all the research, going on the appointments, etc. than to realize they don’t have a viable client and go find someone who would be such.

Ask good questions, even the one’s you’re afraid to hear the answers to.

A kid, no older than 21 came to my house the other day with a clipboard.  He knocked on the door and when I looked through the glass, he said, “Don’t worry, I’m not selling anything.”

Whether or not that was true, or the right thing to say, I was curious and so I opened the door.

He told me that the contracting company he worked for was doing some work “in the area” and that he wanted to know, “…if money wasn’t an issue, which of these four things would you repair or replace?”  The list showed SIDING, ROOF, WINDOWS and something else that I don’t remember.

I picked siding.  To which he said, his company would come over and do a free, no obligation estimate so that I could know how much it would cost if I wanted to do it.

I’m in the business of sales, and I like to be sold, so I went along with it. 

He then filled out my information, and called the office so I could speak with the “appointment setter.”  And, she was pretty good.  She asked me some decent questions, set the appointment making sure my wife and I would both be there.  Then he spoke with her for 30 seconds, hung up, and I signed a paper saying I wanted them to come over on Tuesday night.  He then thanked me and left.

Problem was, I didn’t want siding.  At no point was I asked if I wanted siding, or how long in the future was I thinking about replacing my siding.  I was only asked, “If money wasn’t an issue, which would of these would you do next?”

Well, gee, Hoss, if money wasn’t an issue I’d buy a Lear Jet for every member of my family.

My point, clearly, is that I wasn’t a qualified lead.  The company also didn’t give me a number, they were going to call to confirm the appointment the day of, so I defintely have my doubts about the ethics, since I was told he wasn’t selling something, had no way to call them to cancel, and was basically being set up for a “hard sell” under the guise of a free estimate. 

Needless to say, I cancelled when they called to confirm.  However, if it wasn’t going to eat into my family time, I had half a mind to let the estimator come in for his appointment (which would have been an hour drive, by the way) and then just not let him sell me.  But, I’m really not that evil!

I know many real estate agents that kind of do the same thing.  They go to a potential client’s house (perhaps a For Sale By Owner) under the guise of a preview, without telling the seller that they’re really going to try to list the house.  That almost NEVER works.  It’s an unqualified lead.

In my contractor boy’s case, if he had followed up the “which one of these” question with a “…and when do you think you’re going to want to replace the siding, in the next 30-90 days, within 6 months, or longer?”, he would have realized I wasn’t qualified for his appointment.

You need to ask questions to get the business you want and to not waste your time, energy and mindset on unqualified leads.