August 10, 2016
If you've ever worked in sales, you probably had to cold call prospects. And if you have ever had to cold call your prospects, you probably hated it.
Those of us in sales are constantly looking for ways to work smarter instead of harder. With new technology emerging daily and a strategic focus on inbound techniques, outbound efforts have the potential to be reduced significantly without compromising growth or revenue. Can you imagine only having hot leads?
Making dials down a random list of cold prospects can often be a massive waste of time. Ask any sales manager what type of leads they would prefer their team work with, and they will say inbound every single time. Ask any real estate professional the types of leads they would prefer and they will tell you "referrals." The quality of a lead matters. Every minute in a salesperson's workday matters. Being mindful of where leads are coming from is the new form of smart outreach.
With a strategic plan and a focus on relationships, inbound leads will be your entire dial list. Effective inbound marketing tactics create an influx of leads without requiring the outbound outreach that every sales person dreads.
We know what you're thinking. How can I grow my business without outbound efforts? Where do I turn for leads if not through cold calling? Below are a few techniques that are sure to land you or your team batches of hot, quality leads.
Past sales and clients are your best referral sources. A referral is a hotter lead than any you could have prospected on your own. A current customer or past client has vouched for you. As your prospect walks through the door or picks up the phone, he or she already has higher level of trust for you simply because of their friend's relationship with you.
Not maximizing potential referrals or allowing referrals to slip through the cracks is a mistake many sales professionals make. Staying top-of-mind with your current and past customers is essential for generating referrals. Providing great customer service and closing the sale professionally is usually not enough to maximize your referrals, either.
You should learn to ask your prospects if they know anyone else who may be interested in your services. Actively seek out referrals, because someone who just closed on a home and is getting ready to move in, doesn't quite have referrals on the brain. They may need a gentle push or reminder in that direction.
In the age of technology, we tend to forget what actually drives revenue: people. Having a solid network and proactively attending events to meet people can be extremely beneficial in landing new leads. Carry business cards with you and make a point to start conversations. Mention your business without throwing a sales pitch.
Marketing can be just as powerful in person as it is online. Get to know local business owners or other real estate agents who could potentially refer you business, don't underestimate the power of having a good business relationship with other professionals!
Some leads will pass on the purchase and then revisit the idea later down the road. Sift through your old leads and pick up the phone or even shoot them an email. Are they happy with the solution they chose? Or are they in need of your services again? This is your chance to rekindle the relationship because often, old leads are hotter than cold leads, and sometimes can pan out. Those calls are worth the effort.
Do you blog? You should. Do you have a professional website? You should. Establishing an online presence is essential for generating leads. When you make it easy to share your name and your business, more people will do it.
Engaging with your potential clients online (be it social media or elsewhere) can have a profound effect on you staying top of mind. If you are consistently maintaining a professional online presence, leads will begin to come to you. Plus, thanks to social media, you can connect on a more personal level with your leads and clients, building up that crucial trusting relationship.
Do you know someone with a podcast or blog where you can guest-star? Maybe you know someone who sponsors a local event. Can you snag a speaking engagement locally? Establishing yourself as an expert in your field will most likely bring you leads. Reach out to the local newspaper, do they need a columnist or want one in your area of expertise? Check out blogs or news sites where they take submissions of articles and get writing!
In order to receive referrals, you need to give some, right? Try it out yourself by building up your network of professionals and others that you can refer your clients to. A strong list of referral partners is key to business growth. Building relationships with other business professionals that you respect and trust can lead to a partnership for both parties. Giving a referral is appreciated by all and can truly aide in strengthening your own referral base.
The next time you block off an hour to call down a list of cold prospects, ask yourself: could I be mining my own network for referrals? Could I be building a blog to establish thought leadership around my craft? Could I be speaking at a local event to generate interest in my business? If the answer is yes, there are still hot leads out there. You just have to look for them.