- Old leads
Go back through any interest you have had from both potential and existing clients. Just because they didn’t buy from you or move it forward then, doesn’t mean they are not interested now or in the future. This is a much better place to start then going after completely new clients.
- Follow up until dead
Keep following up, until they literally tell you to go away! We give up too early most of the time. Keep in contact and set new dates for follow up – keep them alive if you can, but do not be afraid of asking “would you prefer I didn’t contact you again”.
Ask you existing clients for referrals – do not be afraid to so this. You can always offer and incentive or reward for them if they do this.
These are different to referrals. Referrals are an introduction to another potential client. Testimonials are either a review on a website or a written review that you can add to proposals / websites etc. Also what about asking for a short video testimonial -these are very powerful!
Often sales staff are not trained, or they have had training – but years ago. The world moves on and regular training and coaching is vital to ensure sales staff stay up to date in the marketplace, with their own skills and to help them remain motivated (sales coaching really helps with this last point).
- Love objections
We are often scared of objections, but they really are a gift! It shows the customer is interested enough to carry the conversation on further. They say I am interested if you can solve this issue….
- Send more emails
Selling is a numbers games and the more you reach out the more success you achieve. Email marketing / contact should not be done in isolation, but it plays a big part of keeping in touch with clients and potential clients and increasing sales. It can be a regular email campaign about a new product, service or offer. Or it can be tailored induvial emails. Either way as apart of an overall lead’s generation plan, they work, if undertaken properly.
As above in terms of a numbers game. The more you make the more success you have. No one really likes telesales, but if trained in how to do it and you do it properly, it is still one of the more successful ways of generating news business.
- Drop in
This won’t necessarily work for everyone / every industry but if you are out and about, maybe visiting other clients and you pass an industrial estate where you see lots of potential clients get into the habit of calling in and at the very least asking for contacts details which you can use to email / call later. Who knows you may even be able to speak to the right person on the spot.
Or start it! Often businesses do not have a marketing strategy / plan. Even if you cannot do it in house, think about employing a marketing consultant to help get you started or undertaking some marketing
training. It does not have to be a huge investment but companies that have a marketing campaign have a much higher lead generation to sales ratio.
Again, not for every business but for those it does apply to LinkedIn is an excellent source for generating new business leads. However, it takes time and knowledge. When you do invest the time and have the knowledge it can often be the best source of B2B leads.
As above not for everyone. But for those whose business could benefit from twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. These can be a great source of new business. As above with LinkedIn time and knowledge is needed.
- Trade shows
A lot of companies attend trade shows (at great expense) and see little return. Others don’t attend even when they should be doing. It’s a huge area and an expensive option to win new business, so you really need to make sure you are asking yourself:
- Should I be attending? (what business do I hope to get, is it the right show)
- Have I planned my attendance properly for maximum benefit?
- How will I interact and network properly once there?
- How will I follow up?
A bit like telesales, we hate to do it, but done correctly it can result in a lot of new business. There are many different networking options and again it is vital to research and make sure the ones you are attending are right for you in terms of the people attending and opportunities to network which match your business.
Is it up to date? Does it clearly say what you offer? Is it user friendly and interactive? What about SEO and paid for adds etc. Not every business relies on their website, but you would be surprised how many leads a well-structured and optimised website can give you.
- Free webinar
What about doing a free webinar once a month / quarter – giving a little bit for free and wetting the appetite for them wanting more. This can be a very effective way of encouraging new business. Once you know what you are doing in how to set them up and what to include, they are very easy and every effective.
- Free information
Is there anything you can give away free? Factsheets, information, industry knowledge etc. It generates good will and gives you a better chance of getting a meeting or business in the future when they are ready.
- Free trails
Can you offer a free trail for your product or service?
- Calls to action
In everything you do (website, email, telesales, networking, trade shows, free stuff etc) make sure you always have a clear call to action. By call to action I mean – how do they contact you for more information or to move it forward.
Surveys are easy and free to set up. So why not occasionally ask a client what they think about things? How do they want to be contacted? What products and services to they want? etc
- Set goals and have an action plan
This is vital to any success. Start by writing a prospecting / leads action plan. It can be a yearly, quarterly, or monthly plan. Then make sure you set yourself SMART goals (ideally daily or weekly) to achieve this plan. Fail to plan – Plan to fail!
- 80/20 rule
Linking into to your above plan, it is vital to segment the top 20% of you prospect list. Which are those clients you will gain the most from, spend the less time on etc. This is your top 20% – focus 80% of your time and effort on those.
- Joint ventures
Is there another company you could join up with to sell more of your products and services?
- New markets / products
Remember to keep innovating. Is there other products or services you could add to your portfolio to help win more business? Is there a new market / territory you could try? Also in some countries there are government grants for innovation and even exporting to new countries.
Finally, when you get to the stage when they want a proposal, make sure your proposal is written bespoke to their needs, highlight their benefits, with clear calls to action. Remember proposals are about them not you…