Using leads to build your business in the cold market can be extremely effective. Instead of spending your precious business-building hours finding people who are interested in talking to you, you get to use that time instead by talking with people who have already stood up, raised their hands and said: "I'm looking now, what've you got?"

One great advantage of using Internet leads is that you can use your call time to connect, person to person. You can limit any discussion of your particular company and products or services to the briefest of introductions, just to make sure they are of interest to the other person--then let your web site give them details and answer technical questions.

Let the power of the Internet handle 80 percent of the job with high tech: your job is to handle the critical 20 percent with high touch.

 

Use Your Time Wisely

Using leads is a numbers game, so it pays to make your calling time efficient. Your initial call should be fast and effective. Your goal is to connect with people and build relationships that will turn into business partnerships; your initial goal is simply to determine whether or not this person is a good prospect for such a partnership.

The best way to get to know someone, whether in person or on the phone, is to ask him questions about himself. After thousands of calls, my partner and I have come up with a great question that lets people open up immediately and give you the opportunity to get to know them.

"John, let me ask you this: Where are you in your search for a business right now--are you seriously looking, or casually browsing?"

People usually respond to this question by telling you exactly what is going on with them, including why they're looking for a business. Use their answers to give you a jumping-off point for asking more questions.

 

Listen

Really listen to what your lead tells you. This means hearing what he says--not thinking about how you're going to respond, judging what he just said, scanning your email or looking at who's your next call; it means taking a deep breath and paying attention.

Don't be afraid to ask him questions about himself, especially based on the information he's just given you. Too often, we've been conditioned to think it's impolite to ask too much; it's not. You're not being nosey, you're being productive! The more you ask and learn, the more you can connect and help your prospects see how your business might help them solve their problems.

Talking with people all over the country (or world!) and finding out what makes them tick is interesting work; it's much easier to develop a bond when you don't listen with a pre-determined goal in mind. Sure, you have a goal for your call, but for now, let the goal take care of itself: just be with the person. Master this ability of being truly present for this small window of time, and the number of people you bring into your business will increase.

 

This is a Test...

People are usually more open to hearing about your company if they feel good about you. The more you develop the skill of truly listening, the more successful and enjoyable your calling will be--and the more likely your lead will feel connected with you.

Here's an interesting thing to consider: in your initial conversation, while you are seeking to get a sense of who your prospect is, she is testing you, too--whether or not she's aware of it. She wants to know who you are. Are you reliable? Honest? Do you seem genuinely interested in helping her build a business?

If that's the case (and it is!), it gives you another purpose for the call: to give your prospect a solid, real sense of who you are. Not your business, not your opportunity: you.

 

What's Your Posture?

As you get to know your prospect, do it with the mindset that you are the CEO of your business. You are searching for appropriate people to partner with and build a serious organization. Imagine that you are interviewing someone for a critical position, say, Vice President, for your Fortune 500 corporation. And guess what?--this is not play-acting. Your business does have tremendous financial potential, both for you and for your prospects.

It doesn't matter if you're brand new and these are your first few calls: you need to know and believe in the potential of what you've got in your hands. This attitude is often referred to as "posture." You want to convey your strong belief and come across as confident in your business.

At the same time, it's only natural to fear rejection--that the person on the other end of the phone will say "No," and hang up, or worse, ridicule or denigrate your opportunity. Here's the inside secret: you're the one who's found the answer, who's found a way out of the rat race. And the person on the other end of the phone? Well, he's either someone who will see it and join you...or someone you'll never talk to again.

We're all scared to pick up the phone. Whether you've made two calls or two thousand, it can be intimidating; it's easy to find every reason in the book not to make the calls. Don't let those spurious excuses get in the way of your dreams.

If you do pick up the phone and make those calls, and you do it consistently, you will find the wonderful people who will change your life as they change their own. Some of them will become lifelong friends in the bargain!

 

AMY POSNER is a veteran
network marketer and CEO of LeadsLab, an Internet lead service for network marketers.