5 Questions to Ask Every Inbound Lead

A company I’ve been working with for over a year now gets a portion of their leads via inbound email requests for information on their services.

Another company recently reached out to me wondering if there is a best practice approach for handling inbound leads.

There is!

I’ve written on this subject before but let me remind you of what I said: New marketing funnels and lead nurturing campaigns have created what has always been a salesperson’s dream: more inbound leads.

Sales reps love receiving these leads and tell me all the time that these “warm” leads must be better because they called or emailed requesting more information. 

“These leads are more qualified because they reached out to us,” I hear over and over. But we all know this isn’t necessarily true is it?

In fact, this attitude leads to one of the biggest mistakes 80% of sales teams make when they receive warm leads—they go into pitch mode rather than qualification mode.

80% of your competition mistake the “implied interest” of an inbound lead to mean they are already qualified, and all they need to do is email specs, or prepare quotes, or just explain their product or service.


Top reps, on the other hand, know that inbound leads can be some of the biggest time wasters of all, so they do what they always do—thoroughly qualify the leads to understand both the buying motives of the lead, as well as the “red flags”—those reasons why a call in lead might not buy.

By separating out people who are “just looking,” sales reps can identify and spend more time with the real buyers.

And this means higher closing rates, more sales, and less time, energy and resources wasted on unqualified leads.

And they do this by asking questions instead of pitching.

Here are some great questions to ask the next time you get an inbound lead:

#1: How to ask for the buying motive:

“Thank you for contacting us today, what was it about our ad/promotion/website that motivated you to call us today?”

#2: How to determine just a shopper:

“Who else are you looking into?”

#3: How to determine further motivation:

“How long have you been thinking about (buying, investing, changing) something like this?”  Then,

#4: How to determine the possible objections:

“What has kept you from acting on this?

#5: How to determine time frame:

“What is your timeframe for needing this?”

There are many other questions you could ask, based on your product or service. But the bottom line is that you need to ask these types of questions if you want to increase your closing percentage.

To be a Top 20% sales producer, you have to begin finding buyers—whatever the lead source. So, stop pitching your inbound leads and start qualifying instead.

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