Prospect CPR: Reviving Dead Leads

Posted on March 06, 2016

Ryan Stewman



In sales, we like to say, “Buy or die,” but that’s rarely the case. Instead, what most sales professionals should say is: “Buy or I’ll leave you to die.” Let’s get real, that’s what usually happens. The salesman drops the ball. Then down the road, when the salesman who dropped the ball is replaced by “the new guy” it’s up to “the new guy” to revive the ball dropper’s old leads.

Reviving Dead Leads is a Quick Way to Make Some Sales

Most people, whether in sales or not, hate being rejected. It shuts them down. They don’t know how to take it or react to it. The word “no” scares the hell out of people. Most folks will do anything they can in order to avoid hearing it. This includes letting good leads die by not following up properly. The fear of “no” leaves a wake of dead leads someone has to close up.

It might as well be you! I mean, if you’re the new guy, or if you need to close some leads and get some extra sales in, you might as well take a crack at reviving dead leads. It’s not as hard as it sounds, and the prospect most likely knows about your product or service. Dead leads are kind of like warm leads, and they are far from cold leads.

Do Some CPR on Dead Leads and Watch What Happens

In case you haven’t caught on yet, I use CPR as an acronym for my old lead selling process. You can’t go after dead leads in the same fashion you go after new leads. You can never be 100 percent sure what’s been told to the prospect in the past, or how poorly their previous experience went.

When I started my first day selling cars, the manager gave me a stack of old leads. He said, “Get after it. Make some calls.” That was about the extent of his advice. I had no idea what these leads were all about. He could have given me the pissed off customer list for all I knew. I was no rookie, though; I already had a plan. A plan that worked so good and so fast, I was bumped to Internet leads in two days.

Reframe the Context of the Conversation

Before I list out the steps to reviving dead leads, you need to position yourself properly in order for my strategy to work. You see, you don’t know the mind frame of the dead lead. You’ve got to come in as a Trojan horse, not a charging army. The way to do this is by calling with questions. Let the prospect know you’re from the “Customer Satisfaction Department” and you’re there to make them happy. There’s no need to say anything about sales at this point. Just this small exchange of words will get the prospect to drop their guard a lot more easily.

These days, most sales reps’ titles aren’t “XYZ Sales” anyway. We have names like “customer service rep” or “client experience consultant.” Your first job is to find out the proper information to arm you with the facts you need, in order to make your lead an irresistible offer.

Revive old, dead, stale leads in three easy steps

   C – Contact

I don’t just call old leads. Matter of fact, before I call anyone, I text them, so they know who I am and why I’m calling. I beat caller ID at its own game. Look at it this way; if someone was dying, I’d do everything I could CPR-wise to bring them back to life. These dying leads get treated the same way. I will text, email and call them until I get them back to life. Don’t you die on me John Doe at 867-5309. You owe it to the prospect to reach out to them in every way you can. I even reach out via social media. I’ll tweet a prospect or DM one. Whatever it takes. 

   P – Problem Search 

Your job in this step is to search for the problems to confront. To be clear, there’s more than one problem that must be solved. The first problem is that they are a dead lead. The second problem is the challenge they are facing, that your services can solve. Find out what you need to solve by asking questions. I have 6-10 prewritten questions for every dead lead. People don’t seem to mind taking a “survey for the Customer Satisfaction Department.” I use the feedback from the answers of their questions to solve their problems. 

   R – Recommend the Solution

Of course, the recommendation is your product, but you’ve got to position it properly. After they drop their guard, answer your questions and in the process, tell you their problems, you make the offer to solve those problems with your services or products. If you’ve done the second step of this process properly, it’s the easiest one to execute.

There you have it, three steps to revive dead leads from beyond the grave. All it takes is a little finesse on your end and you, asking the right questions. The next thing you know, you’ve got coffee—because coffee is for closers. 


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