Ever wonder why some sales professionals fail and give up after a few years while others succeed and stick with it for 30 years? For successful agents, a strong book of business makes all the difference in the world. Recessions, competitors, changing regulations: they have less impact on your business when you have a core clientele of loyal, happy customers. Nothing will give a sales professional as much job security as a great book of business.
Starting out, you won’t have such a safety net to help your business ride out the rough times. But the sooner you build up your client database, the better your business will perform and the more secure your sales career will be.
One way to get started is with aged leads. With a good system and a positive mindset, you’ll quickly be able to find those diamond-in-the-rough customers who will be with you for the long haul. If you’re ready to get started using aged leads to build your first book of business, here are six essential steps to get you started.
1. Choose a Niche to Focus On
It seems counterintuitive, but casting a wide sales net doesn’t get you a lot of sales. On the contrary, a generic sales message gets ignored. You’ve heard it before: people buy from people. However, customers not only want to buy from a real person, they want to buy from someone who speaks to their specific needs. You can’t be all things to all people, so don’t try to be.
Instead, build a strong book of business by focusing on a client niche early on. Singles, young families, medium- or high-income clientele, California residents — there’s no wrong answer here. Just choose a client niche that’s well-matched to your strengths and product offerings.
One advantage of aged leads like those on the Aged Lead Store is that you can filter search results to show only the leads that fit your niche. In this way, aged leads can help you quickly build a book of business that’s well-suited to your strengths and product offerings, leading to more success in both the short and long term.
2. Have a Game Plan
Building a book of business sometimes feels like taking on a second job. Not only are you working in your business — cold-calling prospects, closing, following up, etc. — building a book of business requires you to work on your business as well. Growing your business, adding new clients and customers, nurturing existing relationships, getting referrals — it all takes time and effort, separate from what you spend on your day-to-day work.
To grow your business, and your business book, you need a plan to make the most of the time you have. Part of this is discipline and part of it is getting fresh leads into your pipeline.
Set aside three to five hours each week to work on business development. Whether you decide to grow your book of business with aged leads, direct marketing, or referrals, keep these steps in mind:
- Set a goal.
- Use a system.
- Review your results.
- Make adjustments to improve your results.
Having a game plan as you build your list will help you stay focused on goals and avoid wasting valuable time.
3. Add to and Organize Your List
In order to grow your business book, you’ll need to add to it. The more contacts, clients, prospects, and leads you have the sooner your business performance will rise to the desired level. But a book of business isn’t just a hodgepodge of contact details. Look at the book of business for any successful professional and you’ll find a detail-rich database that’s carefully sorted and categorized. There’s good reason for this.
The devil is in the details and, as a large part of your sales business depends on building relationships with your clients, you need a place to keep track of all the little details about your prospects and customers, as well as notes on your sales conversations. Each contact entry should include information about the prospect’s needs, sales objections, and personal details, as well as client history and referrals if they’re currently one of your customers. Your information on prospects in your sales funnel and those potential aged lead customers will be more sparse, but filling in details for these records as best as you can is every bit as important.
Next, make sure your book is organized. You don’t want to sit down and wade through prospects and aged leads when it’s time to ask current clientele for referrals. Keep these files separated so you can focus on the task at hand. As you move leads through the sales pipeline update their records to show that progress. You wouldn’t want to neglect a new customer because they were still lopped in with your leads.
4. Nurture New and Existing Clients
Speaking of your existing customers, don’t neglect these folks! Your current clientele will be the heart of your book of business. The goal of your business development process is to take your initial aged leads from prospect to customer to repeat customer and referring customer.
In the beginning, it’s a numbers game, purchasing aged leads, cold-calling, and accruing what seems to be an ever-expanding customer base. As the years go by, your business book will be the core of your business. As you’ll have more customers to attend to, you’ll add to it at a more relaxed pace. That is, assuming you’re taking care of your current clients. Otherwise, they may leave, and you’ll have to replace them!
The best customer is the one you already have, so don’t take them for granted. Meet their initial needs, check in, follow up, ask for referrals. Developing a system and a calendar to manage and cultivate your business book is also recommended. You’ll add new clients throughout the year. Make sure you nurture these client relationships at appropriate time intervals.
5. Clean Up Old Records
As noted above, a clean and up-to-date list is way more valuable than a jumbled, messy one. Building a business book isn’t going to be a “set it and forget it” type of thing. This is an ongoing process. All the same, it’s good to take a step back and do a more thorough spring cleaning every so often.
A good rule of thumb is to give your list a deep clean at least twice a year. Sort hot prospects from the cold ones. Cull old contacts and “not now, not ever” leads, should you have any. This is also the time to make sure you have current information for your current customers. Consider sending out a request for their current contact info. Let your clients know you value keeping them in the loop and enjoy running a tight ship with accurate info. This deep clean will help you as you continue to build your first book of business.
6. Lather, Rinse, Repeat
The last step in building your first book of business? Keep going! Your book of business isn’t something that should gather dust in a closet most of the year. It’s the living, beating heart of your business.
Continue adding new aged leads to your database that fit your preferred niche. Make time each week to manage your business development and set aside larger blocks of time a few times a year to really give your list a thorough cleaning. Finally, nurture and cultivate your relationships with those hard-won customers. And when it’s time to inject new prospects into your sales funnel, consider purchasing more aged leads to continue growing your book of business.