The biggest mistake in following up online leads: prequalification!

Who determines whether a lead is good or not?

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Prequalification is a human characteristic and therefore also a characteristic that you see with many sales people when it comes to lead follow-up. A lead with little information, a weird e-mail address, or a phone number with 123456789 is not always treated with the same energy as a ‘normal’ lead. But beware, the consumer will want to give less and less information about himself. Annoying? No, not at all. It is just a good sign.

The customer of today

It is logical that the consumer gives information about himself less and less these days. Nowadays, that potential buyer can find almost all the information he needs online. And for that last piece of missing information, he does not want to give away all his information. An additional reason to provide brief information is to avoid a bombardment of irrelevant e-mails that will be fired once you do leave data.

A telephone approach is often also experienced as annoying. Preference will always be given to e-mail, chat, texting or a WhatsApp-like way of communicating, in which the receiver can decide for himself whether or not to reply. Crazy? Not really. Ask yourself how you feel when you have to give up all you data just to get a small piece of missing information.

Stay alert

We must therefore remain alert and continue to see the opportunities. Even if the customer does not send a telephone number or leaves a strange e-mail address. Be happy with the moment of contact, because the request usually comes from a need. That need offers a chance that can be converted into a sale. But then you have to be the best. And to be the best, that was exactly the intention when you were hired. So, be the best and turn every chance, no matter how small, into a sale. Simple? Not quite.


Recently I spoke to a salesperson and he showed me a lead and e-mail conversation. Most relevant fields were filled in, but there were zeroes at the phone number. On the basis of prequalification, the seller labeled the lead as ‘not serious’, otherwise the customer would have filled in the right telephone number. In order to express his displeasure, the salesman sent an e-mail asking whether he should take the request seriously, as a fake telephone number had been sent. A pretty stupid action. Thinking something is wrong, but if you send such a stupid mail, it goes completely wrong. Especially in this case ….

The reaction of the buyer was predictable. The man was tormented and insulted. Rightly so, because what turned out? The man had been deaf for fifty years. That was why he put the zeros in the telephone number field. The internet had just opened the world for this man and he was as serious as he could be. Only if we as salesmen still think that we can determine who is serious or not without looking any further, then things go wrong. Then we will first have to look in the mirror and determine how serious we are ourselves. It is not the buyer’s job, but the seller’s responsibility to make contact. How that happens is not important. Finally, let’s say one thing is clear: prequalification will kill more leads than any discount from the competitor.

Orginal article

About Paul de Vries

Paul de Vries became a Key Automotive Spokesperson at eBay (Marketplace) after selling to eBay back in 2015. Paul is the founder and CEO of the #DCDW Academy and the presenter of the #DCDW Podcast. He is also a by dealers and importers frequently asked speaker in the online automotive industry. Paul is the winner of the prestigious Lighthouse Award 2016 in the U.S.! `Lead the Way op de digitale snelweg’ is Paul’s new book, which can be used as a guide in the online automotive industry. More information is available at:

hoofdfoto Paul

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