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Definition of "Lead" - One Man's Trash...

One man's trash lead is another man's treasure trash.

Remember the Sales Genie Ad from the 2007 Super Bowl? It offered salespeople free leads. Today, companies like Hoover's offer similar promotions. In fact, recently on the Hoover's homepage, there was an ad that said...

"What's the only thing better than a good, targeted lead? 200 of them!"

I agree -- 200 leads sounds great! Only, what Hoover's calls a lead, may not be one. Before I go on, I should say that I like Hoover's; they provide valuable list-building services.

However, what Hoover's is calling a "lead" is really near the end of a continuum. It's just to the right of a random name out of a phone book. As you move toward truly qualified lead status on the continuum, it becomes easier to sell.

A targeted list might possibly provide you with a few people or companies who have...

  1. Some degree of awareness of your existence.
  2. Some level of interest in your offering.
  3. Some amount of desire for your assistance.

It becomes a task to turn them into a truly qualified lead. That's a prospect who has all five qualities of a qualified lead.

In other words, a lead is NOT just a name on a piece of paper (or computer screen). It's what you do with the name that makes it a truly qualified lead. So, buy some names and warm them up the way my good friend -- and colleague -- Tony Smith describes in his post called Cold Calling 2.o.