To win at the numbers game of sales, you need to fill that sales pipeline, continually replenishing your list with new possible and probable leads. To do so, make sales prospecting an everyday part of your sale strategy. Get more qualified prospects with these 7 sales prospecting tips that are guaranteed to fill your sales pipeline.
Call Your List
Call your list. Then, call it again. You should plan to call your list 2–3 times per month at minimum. If you have an auto dialer and a large list of unknown sales prospects, you may go through your list several times per week.
The key is consistency. You should be combing through your list regularly to discover qualifying prospects. You won’t always speak to a person and you’ll rarely speak to a person more than once a month who’s not already a qualified lead in your sales pipeline.
If your list is small you can still go through your list multiple times per month. Each week, choose a different feature of your services or your products to highlight. When a lead tells you they’re not interested, try accepting their answer quickly and pleasantly. Say: “Okay. Have a great day.” Fewer people will ask to be on your do-not-call list and the next time you call is a fresh opportunity, a new day, a different circumstance, a fresh perspective.
Ask for Referrals
Always ask for referrals. Make it a part of any interaction you have with your clients or customers. Ask for referrals right after closing a sale for the best results. Customers tend to be more happy and satisfied with a purchase at this time.
Give your customers a chance to think of possible referrals. No one likes being put on the spot, no matter how happy a customer they are. Unless a friend or family member’s need for the services you’ve just provided is at the front of their mind, your customer may have difficulty pulling out a name.
Follow up with your customers. Call to thank them for their business on a semi-monthly basis. Ask how they’re enjoying their service. When they tell you everything is great, ask for referrals. If they tell you something’s not working, you have an opportunity to fix it and improve their customer experience. Next time ask them for a referral.
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Market Your Services Online
A good mix of outgoing and incoming marketing efforts will make for a healthier sales pipeline. Your cold-call strategy can be complemented by an engaging social media effort, monthly e-news for customers, and a resource-rich website.
Twitter can be a great place to find new customers. Make yourself available and become known as a local service provider. LinkedIn is a great way to reach business clients. Create a personal profile and business page that show knowledge and conveys trust. You can keep your business fresh in the minds of current customers and sales prospects with a monthly email update. Offer tips, advertise new service offerings, and ask for feedback and referrals. Make your website the go-to place for answers for prospects. You can also use your site as another opportunity to stand out as an individual and build rapport and trust with leads.
Qualify Prospects Early
Make a habit of qualifying or disqualifying your sales prospects early on. The last thing you want is for your sales pipeline to become clogged with uninterested prospects or leads who can’t afford your products and services.
Some prospects aren’t in a place to make a commitment to your services right now. Some don’t have the financial means right now. Help those prospects realize that “no” is a perfectly good response to a sales ask, if that’s where they are right now.
You want to spend the bulk of your time with prospects that have a high probability of becoming customers. When this is what your sales pipeline looks like, you’ll suddenly realize you have a lot more room for more qualified prospects.
Work Through Warm-Lead Lists
Within your main list, you probably have a number of warm-leads. It’s that group of prospects that you’ve met once at a professional function or have had a previous conversation that came close to a sale but didn’t for whatever reason. Organize this group into its own distinct list and make working through it another part of your strategy.
These leads are warmer and more promising than a list of completely unknown prospects, so don’t neglect them. Familiarity breeds trust. You can nurture this initial start of a customer relationship to turn these warm leads into hot prospects.
Don’t Trash Your Cold Leads
Don’t trash that prospect’s contact info who just told you “no.” Organize your list such that you also have a cold-lead list, along with your main list and any warm- and hot-lead lists. Work out a very low-level marketing plan to stay in contact with this group, say, with an email every six months, for example.
The reason: life is unpredictable. That prospect really may have had no need for your services when you spoke 8 months ago, but when he opens his email this month, his life or financial situation could’ve changed dramatically. Now he not only needs your services, he has the means, and he remembers you from before.
Replenish Your Leads
Lastly, don’t forget to replenish your leads. You can only go through a list so many times before you start getting less of a return from your efforts. Congratulations! You’ve reached most of the potential customers in that list. Now you need to inject new sales prospects into your sales pipeline and start the whole process over for a new group of leads.
When you replenish your list, make sure you purchase a high-quality list of prospects in sufficient quantity to get the most from your investment. Begin working this list just how you started. Call, qualify, ask for referrals, and check back in every once in a while, even with your cold leads. Follow these tips and you should have no problem filling your sales pipeline with more qualified prospects.