When a Client Says “These are Bad Leads”…

By Lee Collins •  Updated: 09/14/22 •  3 min read
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When helping clients with their paid advertising, at some point you will inevitably hear them say:

“These are bad leads”

This can happen whether you’re trying to generate calls or even tripwire sales.

There are several reasons why this could be happening:

  1. Your marketing and sales teams are misaligned. Sadly, in small businesses, these are often the same person. But just like people change when they get in front of a camera, people’s mindset shifts when they transition from marketing to sales and it can cause a mis-alignment.

  2. You don’t know your “who” or understand their wants and needs. A statistic from Accenture Interactive claims “82% of demand marketing is wrong place wrong time”. Knowing your who is the most important piece of marketing. Following up is a close second.

  3. Your content is reaching the wrong audience. Facebook (and other networks but especially Facebook) is making it harder and harder to properly target your ideal customer. We know that. As advertisers it is just the name of the game.

  4. Your qualification system is weak. This can go back to not knowing your who but it can also be that you aren’t progressively qualifying your leads as they take future subsequent actions in their buyer’s journey.

Most of our clients are running Facebook ads to generate calls so we know sometimes it’s none of the above…

The client just isn’t calling or following up with the lead.

Then, projection.

They call it a “bad lead” to put the blame on the team instead of themselves, probably because they were held too much (or too little) as a child.

But we’re not here to judge them so, at the end of the day, we simply tell the client that we’re going to put any lead they deem a “bad lead” into a lookalike audience and EXCLUDE them from results.

This usually gets one of two reactions:

  1. They don’t want us to do that. This is because they know they aren’t holding up their end of the bargain and actually calling the leads, so they don’t really know if they are bad leads or not and FOMO kicks in urging us to please not shut off the lead flow and that they will do better.

    Reverse psychology for the win.

  2. They agree. Then, by telling Facebook who we don’t want to target, we start getting better and better leads for the client.

    This is the preferred outcome.

I’m mostly kidding about clients not calling leads – our clients are pretty awesome. But I have heard from other agencies it does sometimes happen.

(One agency owner I was talking with said they generated over 300 leads for a client that the client said were “all bad leads”. Turns out the client only called 3 of them. Some people just want to watch the world burn. But I digress…)

The point is:

If you are advertising online… don’t sleep on exclusion audiences.

Most advertisers seem to forget about exclusion audiences but, if you (or your clients) genuinely feel you are getting “bad leads”, give this a try.

It can be a game-changer.

Let me know how it works for you.

Lee Collins

Air Force veteran and former corporate VP, Lee Collins is best known as an early pioneer of Direct Response Marketing on the Internet. Since 1999, Lee has parlayed his experience into his Top-Down Consulting Framework to help thousands of clients build and optimize their "Repeat Profit" marketing systems resulting in more sales, more profit and most importantly – more freedom from their business with less stress, and without the typical overwhelm and frustration. When Lee isn't helping clients solve marketing and systems problems, he enjoys time with his wife contemplating by a campfire, exploring a mountain or desert trail in his Jeep Gladiator, or planning their next epic BBQ roadtrip.