Great salespeople generate leads.
Man, oh man, I heard it again this week. The fingernail on the blackboard noise of a salesperson telling me, “I am long past finding new customers, what I am now is a relationship manager.” OMG are you kidding me? Really, if these were the old days you’d have your straw boater and sample valise taken away from you and get thrown off the train before it got to River City!
Nope. Sorry Mr. and Mrs. Relationship Manager sales people not only sell, they not only manage relationships they also have to find the customers, they have to come up with new target accounts. Yes, they have to generate leads. That’s right, they have to find people who might want to buy their wares.
That in the end is what sales is all about. That’s the tough stuff. The work that separates the men from the boys, and the women from the girls.
Lead Generation is where it all begins for the great salesperson. Without the leads you have nothing. And just like those losers in Glengarry Glen Ross, Mitch and Murray are not gonna give you the good leads.
That’s up to you. A true salesperson finds the leads, digs them out, and researches them. That is the real work of a true salesperson, especially a great salesperson.
Here, to help you out, are twenty-two ways to generate leads. Call me if that’s not enough and I’ll give you another twenty-two.
- Networking: Attend industry events, conferences, and trade shows to connect with the right customers.
- Referrals: Oh, I do love those referrals! There is nothing better than a satisfied customer selling your products and services for you. That’s the best.
- Cold Calling: Don’t wince. Reach out to prospects who have shown some interest in your products. People and companies who fit your ideal customer profile. Remember that ideal customer profile? You’d better have one.
- Email marketing: Personalized email can be effective in getting the customers interested in what you have to offer.
- Social Media: Don’t show your age by saying you don’t believe in social media, or social media is for kids. Get with it. It’s the 21st century. Linkedin, Twitter and Facebook are all valid and useful tools for lead generation.
- Content Marketing: Create informative and valuable content and post it on social media and the customers will come calling on you.
- Webinars and workshops: Host online or in person. These are very effective at highlighting your expertise and your products.
- Partnerships: Collaborate with complementary businesses to take advantage of doubling your database. But please choose your partners carefully.
- Success stories: These demonstrate the value of your products and services better than anything else you can do. And remember that people love stories.
- Landing pages: Create compelling landing pages with strong calls to action. This is a great way to capture leads.
- SEO and SEM: These are arguably some of the most effective lead generation tools available today.
- Inbound Marketing: Create valuable content like e-books, white papers and columns and give them away in exchange for contact information.
- Live Chat: Set this up on your web site to engage customers visiting the site.
- Linkedin Sales Navigator: This is valuable for advanced search and lead generation to identify and connect with.
- Customer Events: Host customer appreciation events or exclusive gatherings to build loyalty and generate goodwill (and of course, leads).
- Direct Mail: Just imagine getting a real letter with a handwritten address, who can possibly resist opening that? No direct personal mail is one of the new old ways to approach customers. And make sure you add the word “confidential” on the envelope!
- Panels and Forums: Set these up with companies you want to do business with. If you want to sell boards to a certain contract manufacturer, invite them to a panel discussion.
- Customer reviews and testimonials: Again, there is nothing better than a happy customer telling other potential customers how great you are. You can say how great you are until the cows come home but it means nothing compared to one of your customers saying it.
- Podcasts: People love listening to podcasts, especially when they are on topics that they care about. Develop some nice and informative, and of course interesting, podcasts about topics that your customers are interested in and they will beat a path to your door.
- Free trials and demos: Customers love samples, and they love samples they can use. The key is to get a potential customer to try your product. If it’s as good as you say it is, they will want to keep using it and start buying from you.
- Attend meetings and local events: Join local organizations in your area and in your field. There is nothing better than being part of an organization loaded with potential customers. You’ll be as happy as an insurance salesperson at a Christmas party.
- Customer surveys and feedback: Use surveys to not only gather information about potential customers but also as an excuse to engage them and a productive conversation.
Remember that successful lead generation requires a combination of these strategies. And like everything else, results must be measured. Keep track of what works best and use that over and over again. It is always best to focus on what works for what audience to make sure your efforts are always effective. Do this and you will generate a boat load of great leads. It’s only common sense.