Converting sales leads into customers does not happen by luck – it happens with practiced, intentional prospecting. Using certain time-proven methodologies can help increase your conversion rate and reduce the total time spent in the sales cycle. Below are three strategies that can apply to just about any industry and sales cycle.


1. Choose Your Timing Wisely

If you receive sales leads online, a best practice is to call the lead as soon as possible. Using an internet request form is a great way to get customers who are already interested in your service, product, or thought leadership pieces such as publications. The faster you can make verbal contact with a sales lead, the better chance you have of sustaining their interest before they move on to a different task or browse your competitor’s website for similar information.

If cold-calling potential leads is part of your job, think about when they would likely be at their desk and open for a conversation. First thing in the morning or right before lunch is the right timing for most B2B calls – especially if you can keep the call under five minutes. You will have reached someone who has a few minutes to talk and at the same time show that you respect their time.


2. Keep Your Approach Customer-Centric

Long gone are the days when sales leads could “show up and throw up” an entire presentation and expect to win the sale. The best approach to start a meeting or presentation is to ask questions to truly understand what the customer wants to get out of the exchange. The customer will be more invested in what you have to say, and you will be establishing the parameters of the relationship. By knowing what the customer wants out of the sale, you can more easily address potential obstacles to closing the sale, such as a misconception about your product, service, or company. Starting the customer relationship on firm footing can also help to convert the lead to a customer faster.


3. Have a Strong Close or an “Ask” for Every Conversation

Finally, the ending of every conversation or meeting needs to have a defined, measurable next step to keep the discussion going. Keep this objective in mind during your meeting or call; plan in advance how you will close the conversation. Doing this will further solidify the relationship and your next reason for making contact with that lead. By having a good reason to call – not just “following up” – you will also enhance your credibility as a capable sales representative, which is crucial for your lead’s conversion into a customer.


Happy Prospecting!


Ryan Krutzig is a seasoned sales and operations professional based in Minnesota. Read more of his leadership advice or check out his Twitter!