Companies spend a lot of money getting their sales team leads. They buy directories, they use social media, they go to trade shows, they spend a lot of money on trades shows and other marketing and some of them, the smart ones write a PCB Designers’ Guide book with I-Connect 007. These are all really great methods leads, (especially the I-Connect books! LOL). But getting the lead is only the first step. All of these lead generation methods work. Most companies can get leads and most of the time if they do it right, they will be successful in getting an entire data base of the right leads. The names of companies that are actually interested in the products that your company is producing. That part works. But what doesn’t always work is turning these leads into gold, read orders! That is up to those of us in sales. With that in mind here are five steps to turning you leads into orders.
- Complete the lead: sometimes not all the information is provided, so that a good sales person will know how to get the contacts complete information. This might mean looking at Linkedin for more information, or Google, or the net but no matter how you do it, if you are a good sales person you will research until you get the right contact’s name, email address and phone number. That’s the good first step. Note: lazy sales person alert. The sales person who complains about having to do this will immediately be calling himself out as a poor sales person.
- Research the company: Once you have the right contact information, you have to find out everything you can about that target company from what they build, to what market they are in as well as that company’s history. With all the information available today there is not reason not to learn anything about the companies you are targeting. Note: Lazy sales person alert. The sales person who says she cannot find anything about the company is pretty much calling herself out as a lazy sales person.
- Warm up the cold call: With email and snail mail and social media there are a number of ways to make sure that when you actually place the call to the target customer, they will already know who you are. Reach out to the via e-mail; or write a comprehensive and interesting series of short newsletters to your complete lead list; or and this is the one I love sending them a real letter with your real signature, and send it in one of those three dollar Post office express letters that looks important. And whatever you do always write out the address by hand. Think about who can resist opening a hand addressed FedEx looking envelope? It will sit there on their desk just screaming to me opened! Follow all or even just one of these suggestions and the target account will know you who you are. Note: Lazy sales person alert. The sales person who lists all the reason these methods will not work is pretty much calling himself out as a lazy sales person.
- Prepare the right message: Chances are very good you will get voice mail. Be prepared for this. Come up with a good and provocative message to get the person to call you back. There are many books on how to use voice mail and they are all filled with good advice on creating the right voice mail. Buy and read one it will be worth the time and effort. Work on turning voice mail into an opportunity! Note: Lazy sales person alert: The sales person who says that cold calling doesn’t work anymore and will not work is pretty much calling herself out as a lazy sales person.
- Follow up with a personal letter and an engraved invitation: If you are still mot getting anywhere. Send the person an engraved invitation. Or better yet, scary as this may seem, do a live cold call. Walk into his lobby and ask for him, if he is too busy to see you then leave a beautifully engraved invitation (as in “whatdya need and engraved invitation?) and make sure that invitation includes attractive offer to do business with you. A huge discount off the first order or something similar that fits your particular needs. Survey’s indicate that it costs over ten thousand dollars to get a new customer, you can certainly a few hundred dollars to short cut the process. Do It! Note: Lazy sales person alert. The sales person who nixes this idea based on the two percent of his customers who cannot take a discount gift while the other ninety eight percent of the customers will, is pretty much calling himself out as a lazy sales person.
If you take all of these steps and follow these instructions diligently, you will get that all important face to face meeting and you will be on your way to turning that lead into gold. Next week we will revisit the topic of how to handle that first face to face meeting and turn the prospect into a customer. Until then, grab those leads your company provides you as if they were as special as the leads that Mitch, and Murray held back from their sales guys in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross! And turn them into gold! It’s only common sense.