How to Find Sales Leads
A sales lead is the identity of a person or entity potentially interested in purchasing a product or service and represents the first stage of a sales process. The lead may have a corporation or business associated (a B2B lead) with the person(s). Sales leads come from either marketing lead generation processes such as trade shows, direct marketing, advertising, Internet marketing or from sales person prospecting activities such as cold calling.
Finding In-Person Leads
Encourage happy clients to provide recommendations.An advocate who doesn't even work for your company is the best salesperson you could ask for. First and foremost, treat all existing customers with respect, kindness, and generosity. People trust their friends, so creating happy customers is a key way to grow your business and gain leads. This doesn't have to be subtle either -- there are a variety of ways to promote client recommendations:
Let friends, colleagues, and family members know you are actively seeking new clients.You can also offer them incentives to them for recommending you as a way to create a small, impromptu "sales force." Note, however, that you don't want to just unleash your friends on the world. You should:
- Provide them small packets or brochures with business information, pricing, and a basic FAQ to give to potential customers. There is a reason that Chinese food always comes with new sets of menus!
- Fill them in on your company's basic policies, products, and business philosophy. Developing customer relationships early on will pay dividends later.
- Brainstorm good leads with customers. Don't just send them out expecting them to find great clients. Let them know the kinds of people you normally help, or who might love your product, and brainstorm a list of people they might be able to talk to.
Go to trade shows, conferences, and live events to meet in person.Bring a big stack of business cards and, if appropriate, some models of your product or testimonials of service. Mostly, be ready to be your company's number one advocate. Hand out and accept contact information, and have your facts and pitch well-practiced ahead of time
- Giving talks, speeches, or panel discussions is a great way to get in front of the crowd and create instant buzz about your product.
- After the event, follow up with any promising contacts. Thank them for their time and let them know you're there to answer any questions.
Cultivate contacts over time to turn them into sales leads.The biggest thing here is not to rush. You want to develop a human relationship, one that lets them know they can trust you as more than just a salesperson. It may feel like an eternity until it pays off, but cultivating high-value contacts in your industry poises you to swoop up that big contract when it finally comes through.
- Many businesses cannot change clients or vendors on a dime, they have contracts to uphold. Your goal is to be there with an attractive offer when that contract ends.
Build a relationship with any potential sales leads or contacts, even if they do not immediately turn into sales.The way to do this is to let them educate themselves. This B2B (business to business) marketing process, called lead nurturing, consists of making informative white papers, seminars, case studies, videos, posts and demos available to the leads. The goal is to earn the permission to stay in touch and progressively deepen the relationship so that when the leads do become "sales ready", they will want to engage with your firm.
Finding Leads Online
Set up a regular, solid social media account, but don't rely on it for leads.Social media is crucial for outreach, exposing your brand to new people, and getting real-time feedback from customers. But research shows that Facebook, Twitter, and the like aren't very good at giving you effective sales leads. That does not mean you shouldn't be active on social media -- as this will help you prove your company is active and trustworthy online. It just means you shouldn't try to snag customers completely through hashtags and likes. Social media will help, however, when:
- You have a sale.
- You want to create awareness of a new product or service.
- Building name recognition, which helps eventually turn contacts into sales.
- If you do use social media,LinkedInis proven to have the highest lead conversion rate.
Maximize your webpage's Search Engine Optimization (SEO) for the most effective burst of sales leads.SEO is considered the cheapest but best way to increase sales. Why? Because 90% of consumers report that their first move when buying services or goods online is to Google the industry.If your drumstick manufacturing business doesn't show up on the first page, up high, then very few drummers will be ordering your product.
- SEO is about finding your search terms and making it so that you are the most reliable site for Google to point to. For example, you might try to show up top for "buy new drumsticks."
- Younger companies have the most success with specific SEO. You might not win the Google race for "new drumsticks" against big corporations like Vic Firth, but you might win "new hand-crafted drumsticks," "new birch-wood drumsticks," or "new heavy-metal drumsticks."
- Create content around your tags every day to quickly shoot up the Google rankings. Tag every post, picture, meta-data, and text with your search terms to move even faster.
Produce informative, knowledgeable content about your product or industry.This is especially crucial for tech companies or manufacturers. If you're the online leader in information about a product then you are also the go-to source for the industry at large. And when your judgment and insight is trusted, your product is trusted as well. While writing blog posts that don't ask for money or sales may seem counter-productive, avoid sounding like a salesperson at all costs. The goal is to be the most knowledgeable, impartial-seeming company out there. The sales leads will follow.
- Offer free content to entice new clients in. Podcasts, blogs, how-tos, videos, and pictures will all increase SEO, attract readers, and bolster your brand.
Use your website to track your visitors, figuring out your marketing strengths and weaknesses.If your customer base is mainly the industry and businesses, you can track your website visitors with the help of Meet Leads or Google Analytics, free cloud-based services that tell you where your traffic comes from, the pages it looks at, and when they leave for another website. This information is invaluable when turning page views into sales leads.
- Do viewers make it to your online store, or do most leave before getting there? Try to make this one of the most visible, and popular, pages on your site.
- What kind of links, content, and pages bring people in the most? How can you replicate this success on more pages?
- What pages drive people away? These are often called "bounce" pages or "exit pages."
Be readily available online, with contact info on every page at least.People can't buy or order your services if they can't figure out how to get in touch with you. Don't assume they can see the "contact us" button at the top of the page. If your website sells something, put contact information or links on every single page to drive up sales.
- An online chat feature, or direct email service with prompt responses, can quickly turn a "maybe" into a sale.
- Simple is better. Your page should be easy to navigate, not confusing or overly-ornate.
Determining Your Best Markets and Leads
Know, research, and pinpoint your market -- the types of people most likely to do business with you.Not everyone is likely to buy every product or service. In a world with limited resources, you need to prioritize where you market and search for leads. Of course, each business has different markets, but there are helpful questions you can use to find yours, as well as how to use the information:
Craft a diverse set of sources for leads, keeping track of each's effectiveness.Leads can be generated by many different marketing campaigns or can have many different sources. Leads can be generated through mailings (fax, paper, and email), fairs, trade markets, phone (call centers), database marketing, and the websites. Leads from websites are often called web leads. A new lead source is called a live transfer lead. These leads are generated by a dialer that dials a set of phone numbers, plays a message to the individuals, and then those individuals have the opportunity to press 1 to be connected to a live agent. Sometimes live lead transfers are sent to a call center agent who then qualifies the individual before sending to the sales agent.
- You can often buy phone numbers for telemarketing, finding databases online.
- Direct mailing, especially to contacts you already know or might be interested, is a great way to get your first few leads.
- Don't put all of your eggs in one basket at first -- try several methods of getting leads.
Determine which marketing tactics are effective by tracking their results.Track exactly how many clients come in from each marketing tactic, and use only the ways that are most efficient. Each industry is different, so these strategies need to be tinkered with and balanced to find success in your business. When keeping track, you should note:
- Money and time spent on marketing ploy.
- Number of clients acquired
- Quality of clients (big spenders, small sales, willingness to recommend others, etc.)
Create and collect lists of emails, contacts, followers and phone numbers for later sales pushes.Whenever possible, collect the information from potential sales people, holding onto it to help develop leads down the line. Sometimes this is easy -- simply require an email address to place an order or ask a question, and keep track of all the emails. Sometimes this requires harder work, like weekly email bulletins (which people can sign up for on your website).
- Getting people to "sign up," offering free packets or information for subscribers, and offering daily content for followers will build up a big database of potential customers.
- Do not mix sales and customer collection -- people are much less likely to sign up if you're trying to overtly sell them something off the bat.
- Do not "over ask" your lists for things. Work on building a big, rich contact list, then ask all of them at once for support or business down the line.
Once you have determined sales leads, stay in touch to move the leads from 'sales lead' to 'sales prospect'.Typically, this involves identifying the lead's product applicability, availability of funding, and time frame for purchase. Additional operations may also be performed such as background research on the lead's employer, general market of the lead, contact information beyond that provided initially, or other information useful for contacting and evaluating a lead for elevation to prospect.
- Try and get in touch with someone authorized to make a sale as soon as possible.
- Work quickly, and make yourself available to answer any questions or issues.
Video: CLOSE TO OVER 10,000 LEADS – How To Get Free Leads Online
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