I answered a question in a previous blog about how not to look pushy with prospects. Did you find the answers useful? One of the other questions I get asked a lot is ‘how can I find lots of new leads’?
“How can I find new business?” is one of the key challenges that every business has. Ensuring you have a regular flow of new leads at the top of the funnel is something everyone wants.
The reality is we cannot expect there to be a tree of new deals that we can just go and pick a juicy lead from whenever we want. We have to go and work to find new business. And I’m afraid if you wanted me to say there was a really simple method to finding lots of new leads, then I’m afraid you’re mistaken.
Unless you’ve built such an incredible brand or you have an incredible product or service that everyone (and I mean everyone!) who uses raves about, you are going to have to do some work to find new leads. There are some very clever marketing methods that you can use to win new business but even with marketing guru’s involved, there is no value in finding new opportunities if you can’t convert them!
Here are four tips that I can recommend you do, which will make a huge difference in finding new high-quality sales leads on a regular basis that you can convert.
Take a moment to look at the image above. Would you consider dating every single one of them?
This is the first mistake that many salespeople make – they are not clearly going after a target customer set or person that they want to work with. I know about this mistake from personal experience.
If you were going to look at meeting someone new and go on a date, you wouldn’t just look for any man or woman between the ages of 18 to 80 and consider trying to date everyone. You would have a selection of criteria which you would use to reduce the list down so that you could meet the right people. Maybe they would have a certain favoured sport, a certain age profile, a certain size or shape or maybe the colour of their hair. Whatever works for you personally…
Stage three in my sales is like dating model, is all related to the target persona that your business focuses on, and there’s no denying, it’s an essential requirement of your sales journey!
If you try and go after everyone and everything, you’re going to face challenges in engaging and getting the right results for the time you’ve invested. You can get results, but it will just mean you’ll work too hard and not have time to do anything else as a result.
Be very, very clear about the ideal target customer for the product or service that you sell. Make the time to research and make sure that this audience is prepared to pay for what you do, that they find value in what you’re offering, and that it’s the type of customer you would enjoy working with.
If you’re a business owner and you haven’t done this work, please take this advice and vow to change this and soon. It’s so vital to sales success that I dedicate key parts of my sales workshops to helping business owners define their target audience in great detail.
Going after a particular target customer doesn’t mean you only have to sell to them.
My niche is working with service-based businesses who turnover between £100,000-£500,000 and who are good at sales but want to do even better. This is where I focus but I have 3 other clients who are all larger organisations who wanted me to work for them and I was happy to do that. You can still do business away from your target customer set but it’s just not where you focus your marketing and prospecting efforts.
A target audience has a certain set of characteristics. It doesn’t have to be vertical or a specific type of industry, but the reality is you need to be able to know who your sweet-spot customer is and why they’re going to buy from you. If you don’t have this information, winning consistently in sales will be a challenge.
Another great way to be able to find new leads is to review your existing customer successes.
- Where are you strong?
- What business have you done in the past one to six months with existing customers that has proven very valuable for you?
- What market sectors did you succeed in?
- Was there an area of the country that you did well in?
- Was there a certain type of company size or structure that you worked well with that you’ve got some case studies and testimonials for?
One of the key elements around consistent sales success is to build referrals and testimonials and these become vital as we get further down the sales pipeline. Any new prospect we work with is going to want some evidence that you can solve their problem, and being able to give them examples of existing customers and successes from similar markets or environments is a great way to instil belief that you are a company they can put their trust in.
Here’s a task for your week ahead – review your existing customer successes and where you’ve been strong, and use that as the basis for identifying other similar organisations or types of organisations that you can then engage with.
The third key aspect around prospecting is putting aside time to do it DAILY.
I put aside at least an hour per day to prospect with existing people that I’ve engaged with, who I haven’t yet done business with, or with new prospects that I’d like to work with. An hour a day, I believe, is the minimum required to make sure my funnel is full of opportunities that will come my way. I do this even though I have very little capacity at the moment because I know having a constant list of prospects that want to work with me is good for business.
It typically takes my prospects a few months to go through my sales cycle, (this is the moment I meet someone through to the moment that I do business with them) but I start the ball rolling now, so that I always have a list of companies that want to do business with me.
The key thing is make sure that you regularly invest the time and prospect! Be organised about it – block off slots in your diary, whether it’s an hour here or there at different times in the day, just get the time in. Make sure others in your company, or others that work with you, know that you’re not to be disturbed at those times. If you can make sure you put aside the time daily, it’s going to be a big facilitator in finding new leads.
Especially if you take advantage of the first two points that I mentioned.
And the fourth point that’s really, really key when it comes to sales and prospecting is to take action.
You can put aside the time in your diary, and you can have an hour to do sales calls or engagements, but unless you’ve taken action, unless you actually pick up the phone, unless you draft that new email, unless you create that new script, unless you engage with that prospect on LinkedIn, the reality is you’re not going to gain anything!
We have to be able to turn our thoughts into actions. I was once given a great quote which is, “Vision without execution is hallucination”, and the reality is you’ve got to execute on your vision and your plan.
If you have a vision and a target to win five or six key new customers in a certain market space, you’ve got to take action to make that happen. That’s not going to happen overnight and it’s going to take some time. Very few prospects are going to work with you just a few moments after you speak to them and then automatically buy. You’re going to have to work at it!
You are going to have to take ACTION!
Generally in sales, the sales results we get are two to three months from when we start the prospecting work. But if you do start the prospecting work now and start engaging and taking that action, I can assure you, you’re going to be a great position to get good results.
If you take note of the four points above, then it will help you find new leads and business. I shared a video a few months ago on exactly this subject area and so take a look at this and see if it can help.
If you do make use of the four suggestions then you’re going to be in a great position to go forward and win new leads and help ensure you hit the targets you set for 2019.
Are there any burning sales questions you would like me to answer? If so then I would love to hear from you and I can reply back with some thoughts.