Sales Lead Sheet

Download the Word and Excel Sales Lead Sheets in a zip file. The Excel sheet has multiple tabs which are discussed in more detail below. The Word sheet is simply an expanded view of the Contacts tab on the Excel sheet that you may find more convenient.

While you should use a Customer Relation Management (CRM) tool like or Infusionsoft to managing your customer database, a sales lead sheet provides the template to plan successful lead generation. This sheet is a template which you should configure to your specific requirements. You should always take notes and capture as much information as possible whenever you interact with customers.

The Sales Lead Sheet contains tabs for Contacts, VBANT Qualification Questions and Additional Info. The Contacts tab should contain all contact information pertaining to the customer contact you are speaking with. The VBANT tab contains qualification questions around Vision, Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe to help guide your conversation. More guidance on this is provided in the VBANT Qualification Questions section below.

The Additional Info tab is an example of any number of additional tabs on your Sales Lead Sheet with product information, key customer benefits, competitive differentiators, links and so on. It is useful to have any relevant information you may need to have on hand when speaking with customers. Make sure to review the related resources on Cold Calling and Lead Qualification on

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Building Rapport with your customers is crucial to doing business. The timeless sales and marketing adage that people buy from people is true in the Information Age as well and applies whether you are engaged in direct sales or utilizing any of the tools in your Marketing Communication Mix, traditional or cutting edge.

In lead generation building rapport is especially important as you are likely engaging the customer for the first time and in addition to gaining information from you, they will be measuring your performance and asking, "is this someone I can do business with?

The Cold Calling Tips page has more information on making successful sales calls but for now remember to keep in mind that you are seeking to gather information in a personable, friendly way. Don't just look at the names on your Sales Lead Sheet as potential sales, but as people you are getting to know and looking for an opportunity to help.

Setting Next Steps is critical to keeping the sales cycle progressing. While you do not have to be fanatical and push hard for the customer to set up the next appointment or schedule a next follow up, it is important to keep in mind that the sales process is an ongoing discussion.

A key mistake sellers and marketings often make is failing to follow up with customers. Equally important to regular follow-ups is setting expectations for each of the steps required on your part as well as for the customer at every stage of the sales process.

The Sales Lead Sheet contains a column for next steps each of the defined buyer and seller steps throughout the sales process. Next steps should be one that involve the customer such as a follow up call or meeting, scheduling a demonstration or asking the customer to take some action within their organization.

VBANT Qualification Questions

The VBANT Qualification Questions on the Sales Lead Sheet are designed to take a customer down the path from "Unaware" to "Aware" to "Interested" as defined in the sales process.

The VBANT criteria of Vision, Budget, Authority, Need and Timeframe are interrelated. Vision is a higher-level perspective on Needs, the former covering more business and organizational concerns to the more technical requirements of the latter. Budget and Timeframe are also related in that they are both dependent on whether the customer has a project planned for the solution.

Keep the following points in mind as you engage and qualify your customer using the VBANT criteria:

Use Open-Ended Questions: A tactical objective of any customer conversation is to have the customer do as much of the talking as possible. This is a basic rule of developing any interpersonal relationship and applies to customer relationships as well. A customer will only "open up" when they feel relaxed and not threatened and speaking will in fact help them relax.

The best way to keep the conversation going is to ask questions and end with open-ended questions that require more than a "yes / no" response. When using the Six Serving Men of What, Why, When, How, Where and Who, remember that Why and How are the two that require more than a one-word answer. Listen, acknowledge, ask some more.

Approaches like these should not be construed as "mind games" or "sales techniques" that are designed to take advantage of the unwitting. On the contrary, they are tools to help you develop a real relationship with a customer that is both business and personal. Every successful relationship is based on sincerity.

Keep It Conversational: Remember that you are not trying to interrogate the customer. The worst thing to do when speaking with a customer is to fall into "salesman" mode as no one likes to be sold to. Speaking like a salesman forces the customer to treat you like one and put up their guard. Be friendly, personable and earnest so as to put the customer at ease.

You must make a friend before a sale and it will usually take several conversations, touching upon one or two of the VBANT topics each time, to qualify a customer enough to move them into the "Interested" and "Evaluating" stages of the sales process. The only exception to this is if you specifically schedule a 20 minute "discovery" session with a customer and run through all of the VBANT questions in a more formal setting.

Even in a formal setting, a light sense of humor and a personable approach is more effective than the "cut and dry" formality that many customers have come to expect from sales. It's okay to crack a few jokes along the way!

Teach, Learn: While you are trying to gather information from your customer they are trying to gather information from you. Remember that while you are attempting a "Seller's Journey" the customer is traversing a "Buyer's Journey" (both are touched upon on the sales process management page). Assuming that you are moving the customer from "Unaware" to "Aware" and "Interested", they will have questions.

A healthy exchange of questions and information then takes place as both you and your customer seek to satisfy your objectives on your respective journeys. Also, you will find that you can learn a lot more from speaking with an intelligent customer than simply understanding their company and requirements. Every conversation with a customer is a chance to "feel the vibe" of what is actually going on out there in the real world. Remember that what your customer tells you about their work is more valid than any amount of research you do or marketing collateral that you read.

Tread, Retread: Using the Sales Lead Sheet and your CRM system to track each of the conversations you are having within a specific customer account, you can begin to map the "big picture" of what the customer's environment and process is like and what their needs and requirements are.

In small sales the whole discussion may revolve around just one or two customer contacts. As sales grow larger and more complex, however, they will invariably involve more and more people with enterprise deals involving a significant amount of people performing various necessary functions on both the customer side and within the selling organization.

In every case, whether you are working with individuals or with groups of people, you will have to tread and retread your steps in order to collect and verify information, always basing discussions on all the data gathered to date. What may be a concern for one customer contact may not be for another. Needs and requirements may change with a single individual as well.

Treading and retreading will also sure that your message, answering to the various customer concerns you uncover, takes root with repetition.

Ask for help with a Sales Lead Sheet for your business!

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