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3 Lead Generation Myths That Will Clog Your Sales Funnel & Keep You From Closing More Sales

by Joanne Black
We've been told that getting more sales is all about your "activity," but is it?

Our job as salespeople is to move as many qualified prospects through the sales funnel as quickly as possible—leading to more sales, better clients, and more income.

The traditional sales funnel to attract new business has maintained the same structure for years. There's a wide opening at the top and a skinny tube at the bottom. The traditional prospecting method crams as many prospects into the top of the funnel as possible, hoping that new clients will magically pop out of the other end. The only thing that mattered was sheer activity.

Today, I'm going to debunk the myth that sheer activity is the ONLY thing that matters along with two other myths that are holding you back from getting more clients now.

3 Sales Lead Generation Myths That Will Hold You Back From Closing More Sales

Myth #1 Sheer Activity is the Only Thing That Matters in Sales

Wrong! Of course, activity is still important, but what really matters is that you feed the right people into the funnel in the first place and nurture those prospects who have been referred to you. Then hasten their passage through the sales funnel. This will decrease the amount of time it takes to you close your sale.

Picture the funnel from the traditional "olden" days. If you just stuff as much as you can into the top of the funnel, it's more likely that weeds, rocks, sand, and other debris will clog the opening and prevent the steady entry and flow of good business. Try pouring water in a funnel that is filled with debris. The water backs up and nothing moves through. Not a pleasing picture, and not functional business model. It's certainly not one that fosters an environment for attracting new business.

Myth #2 Sales 2.0 Leads are Qualified

There's so much that's wrong about the traditional sales funnel, and it's gotten worse in the Sales 2.0 world. It's not a referral-marketing funnel. In the past, we were schooled to throw as many prospects in the funnel as we could find. For example, we were taught to get so-called leads from mailings, trade shows, advertising, networking, newsletters, and speaking. Now in the 2.0 world, we are taught to get so-called leads from blogging, videos, eBooks, free reports, press releases, eZines, affiliate traffic, RSS feeds, and email lists. We can now choose to waste our time by following up on these so-called leads.

I call the leads above "So-called leads" because these aren't really leads.

They're inquiries, possibly names—or people just interested in free stuff. Everyone likes free stuff. If we take the time to weed through all this trash, we might actually find a prospect. These people are just prospects. They're not business referrals. And, they're still not leads.

Myth #3 It's Important to Sort "Leads"

We have to change how we talk about leads. Inquiries are not leads. People wanting free stuff are not leads. Neither are those "coveted" lists or files of names. Calling these "leads" borders on insulting.

Leads are people who:

- Are truly interested in talking directly to you about your products and services to see how you can help them

- Match the profile of your ideal client

- Have a budget

- Have a need that you can fulfill

- Are open to pursuing how you can help them attract new business.

Now that's a qualified business referral.

The best leads are those you have received through a referral. When you receive a qualified referral, you are pre-sold. You have credibility and trust. Your sales time shortens. And, you ace out the competition. When you've been referred, you get a new client more than 50 percent of the time. Get more referrals and get these results.

So stop calling everyone and everything a lead. It's is a waste of your valuable sales time. I'm not just splitting hairs over terminology. It is downright misrepresentation when companies position themselves as lead-generation experts. It sounds so good (so easy), so we jump. And that's when we get our sales funnel clogged with trash instead of getting more referrals

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