There’s a saying in business, nothing happens until someone sells something.
Sales are critical for any business to be profitable and stay in business.
Without new leads and prospects, there can be no new sales. This makes lead generation (or prospecting) absolutely vital for any businesses, regardless of size or industry.
This can be daunting for many businesses, as some are unsure about the best ways to go about finding new leads, much less being able to prospect more effectively.
Whether you are looking for new ways to prospect or simply make your existing lead generation system more effective, here are eight sales prospecting tips (in a handy infographic) that will help you achieve the results you want.
8 Ways to Prospect More Effectively
1. Follow a Consistent Schedule
Figure out how much time you can set aside each day to work on your prospecting. Even if it is only 15 minutes a day.
By committing to a set amount of time each day, you will create a habit that will continue to bring in new leads and sales and become more efficient and effective with that time resulting in more consistent sales.
For even better results, schedule this as the first thing you do each day.
2. Focus, Focus and Focus
Be focused with your efforts. Create a prospecting plan that is built to help you meet your business goals and sales objectives and then use that to make a daily task list you can follow to keep you on track.
Be sure to include customer retention strategies as part of your plan. Perhaps set aside one day a week to focus solely on your existing customers. This can greatly affect your success as it is not only easier, but also less costly to keep existing customers than it is to find new ones. Plus you can maximize referral opportunities by maintaining great relationships with existing customers.
3. Implement Different Techniques
While you are creating your prospecting plan, you will need to figure out how to find potential leads and the best way to reach out to them and build a relationship.
The best way to approach this is to understand your prospect – do they prefer to connect using social media, email, in person or by phone? Which social media platforms (LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) do they use most and what type content do they prefer to consume (videos, articles, podcasts, checklists, etc.)?
By taking the time to truly understand your prospects, what they need and how they communicate, you will greatly increase your success in connecting and building relationships with them.
Additional Reading: 5 Crucial Steps to Mastering LinkedIn Lead Generation
4. Create Prospecting Scripts
Effective salespeople and marketers use scripts or templates.
While personalizing every conversation is key when prospecting, you can become more efficient and effective, by starting out with a template that you can use over and over.
Let be frank, it can be challenging to have a conversation with prospects. It is easy to go off topic, ramble, forget information or just not know where to start – whether you are talking to them or messaging them.
A script gives you a solid starting place. With a little research and actively listening to your prospects needs and wants, you can tailor your conversation to meet their needs and ensure that you don’t waste your time or theirs.
5. Be a Provider of Great Solutions
People buy from people they know, like and trust.
The best way to accomplish this is to build relationships with your potential prospects by providing great value.
Great value starts by delivering helpful content that helps prospects make informed choices or solves their challenges, even if this means they do not become your customer. If and when they do purchase from you, keep working to further build the relationship by finding other ways to help them become more successful.
The additional benefit of this is that if you have helped them consistently, they will be more likely to refer you to their friends, family and colleagues, whether or not they have actually purchased from you.
Additional Reading: How to Use LinkedIn Documents to Exponentially Increase Your Visibility
6. Practice Warm Calling
Cold calling (and even cold emailing) has become a largely ineffective marketing strategy in recent years.
Sales people are finding much greater success using warm calling (and emailing). Warm calling means getting on the radar of your prospects by making them somewhat familiar with who you are, before you call (or email).
There are a number of great ways to do this. The most powerful is by being introduced by a mutual contact or connection. When someone introduces you to a prospect, they will be much more receptive to meeting and talking to you. Third party credibility and social proof are very powerful.
Other ways that you can get on a prospects radar is through social media. Where and when it is appropriate, you can try using strategies such as commenting and sharing your prospects posts or connecting with them on platforms like LinkedIn.
7. Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader
When you become a thought leader or authority on your topic, you greatly increase the likelihood that prospects will know, like and trust you.
But it is not as simple as calling yourself a thought leader – you become an authority when others recognize and start viewing you as a subject matter authority and sharing your content.
Getting to this place takes time and commitment. You need to start by building your community and consistently offering your best knowledge and tips. Listen to your community, find out what they need and then offer it to them in the format they prefer to consume on the platforms they use most.
8. Know that Prospecting is Not Selling
Prospecting is NOT selling.
Prospecting is about locating, connecting and then building a relationship with potential prospects, who in time will naturally move into your sales funnel. It is once these prospects have entered your sales funnel that they become leads and the active process of selling begins.
If you push sales related materials on a prospect before this point, there is a very good chance you will ruin the relationship you have worked to build, wasting your time, effort and often times…money.
Put into action, these eight tips can help you to build an efficient and effective prospecting process that builds strong relationships and increases your sales. Always remember that you are selling to individuals, even when you are in a B2B situation, people buy from people.
If you would like help in developing a proven lead generation and prospecting system for LinkedIn, I invite you to book a time to speak with us. Click here to schedule a call and get started filling your sales pipeline with leads from LinkedIn.