I can never write enough about prospecting. It is essential to staying in business! Dips in sales are tough on cash flow and moral. In order for your company to have steady growth, you need a steady flow of leads. Many businesses lack a process for lead generation, if you don’t have one, you are not alone. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you do have to have a process. Here’s a simple process you can adopt.
- Define – Your ideal prospect (based on your ideal customers) then build a list of companies or people who fit.
- Determine – How you will let them know you exist and how you get them interested in your offering.
- Execute – A plan to generate a certain amount of leads monthly, “Rinse and Repeat.”
Once a prospect has interest, the selling can begin – so that’s the goal. Engage the prospect so they ask for a conversation.
You have lots of lists. People you met at trade shows, people who attended a webinar, and people who have repeatedly downloaded or interacted with your content. In order to turn a list into leads, you need to trigger some activity and have a conversation so you can determine if there is an opportunity.
Turn your List into Leads
Here are 6 ways to turn your list into leads:
1. Cold Call
Cold call the list. This is not my favorite, but many companies have some success. This is a pure numbers game. If you call 100 people, you will reach a certain percent and of that percent you reach, some will be interested. It’s time intensive, fraught with rejection, riddled with negative feedback and most people hate doing it. If you choose to do it, I recommend planning a campaign that includes, email and/or mail and prepared voicemails. Hopefully, they will remember your company because they saw you at a trade show or attended a webinar, but don’t be surprised if they don’t. Be ready to make 12 attempts before giving up. You’ll need to leave at least 3 voicemails (engaging and insightful) and make many dials.
2. Send Information
Mail or email information about the brand or the products and services. This has a very low response rate, but it may help build brand awareness so that when the salesperson calls there is at least some name recognition. If you choose this, you need to plan a series of messages that go out consistently over time. People may not respond to the first message, but they may respond to the 6th.
Companies hold events or exhibit at events and invite prospects. This defines 3 categories for follow-up. First, those who attend, then those who want to attend but can’t and last those who don’t respond. Make decisions about follow-up flow from there. Of those that attend, some will be “hot” leads so be prepared to follow-up, follow-up, follow-up. Studies show that when pursuing a prospect who showed interest, it takes at least 6-8 touches. Don’t give up. Try different methods to reach the person with engaging and insightful messages.
4. Connect on Social Media
That’s a whole topic of its own. There are so many great ways to use social media, but you need a plan. LinkedIn, if used properly can help you build connections that lead to sales. Start by taking 10 companies from the list and looking for connections on LinkedIn. Find people you know who are connected and get introductions.
5. Get Referrals
By far my favorite! Take the list and choose the top 10 companies you want to prospect. Then ask for introductions. Ask your colleagues, customers, friends, and family, everyone who knows you, likes you and trusts you. Tell them what you are trying to accomplish and give them the words they need to make a good introduction. Rinse and repeat! Take the next 10 and do the same. Learn referral selling from the best. Watch Joanne Black’s course on LinkedIn Learning or purchase one of her books: No More Cold Calling or Pick Up the Damn Phone.
Do a combination of all the above over a defined period of time.