I was completely caught off guard when he disagreed with my statement by saying that they shouldn’t take longer than a couple of months to sell.
This raises the question as to whether it does take longer for these leads to close and if so why?
Let’s Get On the Same Page
You see I cannot be certain that I was on the same page with this cloud computer consultant because most of the computer businesses grow slowly by selling referrals and internet leads. If this is what he was referring to then he would absolutely be correct by stating they should take only a couple to three months to sign up.
However, when you speak of leads that have been cold called or reached through IT appointment setting then we are talking about a completely different set of rules. The only exception to this rule happens when the telemarketing process just happens to uncover a prospect that is currently searching for competitive IT bids.
Of course, when this unique situation happens then these IT leads just fall under the category of a hot lead that just might have found your way through a referral or internet lead but you caught it early. The vast majority of IT lead generation opportunities will only yield prospects that are happy-with-what-they-have but who have an open mind or are just curious enough to set up a face-to-face meeting.
The Two Factors that Change the Rules
These second type of contacts are not currently in the market to change their IT services provider because as they say so often on the phone they are happy-with-what-they-have! The truth is that they can’t be as happy as they say because their action of setting a meeting means that there is some latent need buried deep that triggered their interest.
Before you can even consider one of these prospects as solidly in your sales cycles you will have to ‘sale’ them. This means blowing them away with your amazing cloud solution and making a paradigm shift in their thinking about opportunity cost. A huge percentage of tech companies are just not prepared or don’t have the marketing skills to accomplish this. This is one of the main reasons these opportunities will either take much longer to close or never even end up in the sales funnel.
Even if the computer consultant does have a silver tongue that can persuasively teach these prospects to understand their unique selling proposition and how making a change will positively impact their business, they will still have an uphill battle on their hands. This is because direct marketing sales leads still have a healthy relationship with their current IT provider. This is one of the most dramatic ways in which a referral differs from a latent lead because referrals have a broken relationship with their tech whereas latent leads still like their IT guy.
This is the primary reason that latent leads will take you at least six months to close. once you have them in your sales cycle. Now you have these prospects with two minds in the sense that they have opened up to the superior benefits you offered but they still like their computer consultant. This means that you will have to begin to build what I call know, like and trust with a latent prospect before they will even consider cutting the cord with their current technician and this will take time. From my personal experience selling cloud solutions this will take at least six months if you know how to build know, like and trust!