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When is a lead a prospect

by on ‎08-19-2009 11:47 AM

Lately I've found myself looking at used cars and boats.  No, it's not a mid life crisis, since I'm sadly past the mid way point of life (statistically speaking).  In any case, that's not the point.


The point is that I've been amazed at the down right sloppy sales process that most of the car and boat folk I've dealt with are following.  I'd have thought that, in the the used car and boat business in a recession, any lead is by definition a prospect.  In most cases though, that's not been how things have gone down.


It all began when I let Larry at Nordhavn yachts here in SoCal that I may be in the market for a used boat (the oldest, cheapest available) in a year or so, and would love the chance to get on one if one happened by the marina in the coming months.  Within 2 days, I have received in the mail about 6 hours of reading material on the boat, and an offer to accompany him to Long Beach to look at one that had just come on the market.  I've had over 4 calls from Larry, seeing what he can do to assist.  No pressure, just staying in touch.


Contrast that with another local broker.  I've looked at 2 boats in his inventory, and have not had a return call in 2 weeks.  When I asked questions about the boats, he new less than was on the spec sheet.   It's a recession - he can't be so busy he couldn't have read the spec sheet before I came round!


I took a used car for a test drive 3 weeks ago, and the rep did not even take my phone number.  These two are examples of a common theme I've encountered


How can this be?  It's a recession folks! -  Any warm body that comes off the street to look at your product is a PROSPECT.  You're a sales person.  That implies you process a skill for persuasion and (say it with me...) sales!.  I can probably be persuaded to buy from you, if you have the right product.  Sadly, you'll never know if you have the right product, because you've not called back.  


The answer of course lies in the seduction of habit.  I'm sure these folks were successful in the past (when we were not in a recession...), and having lived through recession in the past, they are just "riding it out".  


But you don't have to "just ride it out".   If there are fewer prospects, it follows that you have to be better than before, to make sure they buy from  you, and not your competition.  


There's a reason I mentioned Larry from Nordhavn by name, and no others.  Its not to maintain confidentiality.  Its because I've not remembered the other rep's names.  If I can't remember their names, I'm probably not going to buy from them, if and when I'm ready.






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