November 16, 2018
0 min read
How to cope with “negative” leads or how to never get one?
by Taras Prystatsky
negative leads

Besides other advantages, marketing digitalization has granted us with one fascinating ability: real-time feedback. Whenever marketers distribute their messages, there now is a probability for them to receive an instant reaction. And it’s not always a positive reaction.

Today, you will learn how to treat “negative” leads (brackets are used because the idea you got a lead cannot be negative, to begin with). To succeed – you need to focus on generating long-term relations with your prospects, while they will help you to generate greater revenue.

Do you really need so much hassle?

About half a century ago, David Ogilvy wrote this quote:

“The consumer isn’t a moron; she is your wife. You insult her intelligence if you assume that a mere slogan and a few vapid adjectives will persuade her to buy anything. She wants all the information you can give her.” – Confessions of an Advertising Man, p. 96 (Ballantine Books)

Since that time, the way we perceive and organize our marital relations has changed a lot. Thus, can we be sure this quote is still true?
Here are a couple of stats that should give us the answer:
Based on these, we can tell there is quite a promising potential in prospects that may not seem really keen on your offer during the first touch. This means that perceiving leads like your wife still works – if you mean respecting their time and taking their needs into account.
Using this analogy, we will showcase how to develop sustainable long-term, converting prospects to leads to clients to brand advocates.

Step 1: Targeting. Find your special one.

Before taking any actions, you need to know exactly who you are looking for. Developing a communicational strategy without knowing who it’s aimed at – would be a waste of time.
You actually need to clarify who you are looking for. Create a precise image of the perfect lead you can have. That’s where buyer personas help a lot.
Creating a buyer persona will provide you with a much more comprehensive vision of how to approach your leads properly.
The ideal outcome of this activity would be a narrow audience (one or several), full of people who can actually benefit from collaborating with you.
To save your time – here’s a HubSpot Buyer Persona Creator, which already has all the necessary questions in it. Use that one and you will have an initial version that should be enough to go.
However, you would need to adjust it at least 2 times a year, if you really want to understand your audience. This need is caused by the fact that every product/service has its own evolution path and it might be used to reach slightly different goals over time.
Besides that, we are living in a constantly-changing environment, so you should keep track of your buyer persona once in a while.

Step 2: Lead qualification. Make sure you deal with the right fiancee.

We have been doing B2B lead generation for more than 5 years now, breaking the 250 clients milestone. This experience has taught us one thing: a humane interpersonal dialogue has much more chances to convert than aggressive cold sales. You really need to consider a prospect’s personality during leadgen.
However, it would be a waste of resources to pay so much attention to the wrong person (and let’s admit it – we’ve all done that). That is why you need to pay special attention to lead qualification.
In fact, your goal is not to generate as many leads as possible, but to generate more valuable and better-quality leads. According to HubSpot’s research statistics, only 22% of companies are satisfied with their conversion rate. However, less than 1% of customer acquisition budget is spent on customer conversion. It may be reasonable when you have billions of prospects – which you shouldn’t have.

Step 3: Lead nurturing. Propose gently but confidently.

Let’s say you have found someone who seems to be the right fit. Then it’s time for you to take action and initiate communication.
But here’s the tricky part – you can receive a negative reply. To address this properly, you would need to put yourself in prospects’ shoes. Once you do that – you are able to assess the real reason for this rejection.
When you know the reason – you are free to nurture your lead. In fact, businesses that nurture leads make 50% more sales at a cost 33% less than non-nurtured prospects.
When it comes to B2B lead generation, the negative replies can be classified into 4 general categories. Sure, there is always space for some extraordinary situations, but these are most common:
  • Prospect already has the solution
At this point, there is only one argument that can win the prospect’s favor – and it’s your product/service. You really need to address their pain points and make them feel that using your product will actually help.
  • Prospect does not understand the value
Unlike with the previous type, here you really have a tangible opportunity. Most likely, you weren’t able to deliver the right message yet. To do that properly – be sure to define your USP. Make it short and clear. If you cannot express it in 2 short sentences – you still need to do some conceptual work. When you have your USP well-articulated, closing such a “negative leads” would be a piece of cake.
  • The solution is needed, but not right now
Сongrats! You have a hot lead here. It usually takes a couple of months to close such a sale, so you would need to prepare enough useful content for such a person, to warm them up during the waiting.
  • The prospect is not a decision-maker
This one’s simple. You have just targeted the wrong person. Still, you would need to make a nice impression, as you should care not only about the direct decision-makers. Instead of that, you should take those who can influence the decision-maker into account. And that might be the person we are now talking about.
In this case, you would need to introduce your offer and ask for a person to refer you to a decision-maker in their company.

Step 4: Don’t be afraid to follow-up

If you have ever put yourself in your prospects’ shoes – you would have probably realized that decision-makers receive dozens (if not hundreds) of various business offers daily. The only chance for you to stand out is to approach leads personally.
That is why personalization has become a predominant trend in digital marketing for the last couple of years.
Just like in any other human relations, try to focus on how you can help a person. Be sure to share some useful content (it doesn’t even have to be created by your company), ask some questions to learn the prospect’s problem, or just send holiday greetings.
In other words – show you care.

Here’s an interesting (almost magical) case:

We have contacted our clients’ prospect (blue) and received no answer for three days. Here’s the call-to-action which was used in one of our messages to engage with leads.

case screenshot

End of the first message before we received any answers

Unfortunately, this CTA was not clear enough, so it hasn’t generated any replies. There were a lot of answers when people would just send an emoji, just not to leave the client hanging.
After we have received an emoji, our client (green) decided to follow the prospect up with a personal message. Then he received immediate feedback, which turned out into a call.
Just as your wife, your prospects need attention.
case screenshot2

an example of turning a very neutral answer into a lead

You can see that even the fact these messages are written with minor mistakes did not become an obstacle. Do you know why? Because it created an impression of a real-life dialogue!
Unlike faceless scripted messages, the messages that create an experience of talking with a real person can actually influence the buying decision drastically.
Since that time, we always do our best to make every message as personalized as possible.

Bottom line:

It has been more than 50 years since David Ogilvy has written this quote. However, the idea of developing a proper attitude to every prospect is still really up-to-date.
Whenever you are receiving a negative reply – remember there always is a reason to be grateful for it:
Marketers were never able to receive real-time feedback on their actions. Instead of building your presumptions and praying to get a positive ROI – you are now able to adjust your strategies right away.
“Negative” leads are people who improve our services and communication – we just need to learn to hear them.


Here at Respect.Studio, we are proud to provide only organic hot leads, who are well aware of our clients’ services. We do it using different strategies, follow our page to find out how it’s done.

Check out our lead generation case and stay tuned with us on LinkedIn for fresh and unique content.

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