3 Inexpensive Ways to Generate New Sales Leads
Finding new prospects, or as we like to say “future customers,” can be hard, especially when you are caught up in the day-to-day activities of running a sales team or business. However, by making lead generation a small part of your daily, weekly and monthly routine, you can garner thousands of new sales opportunities ripe for the taking! Here are 3 inexpensive ways to “automate” your lead generation efforts.
1. Attend Professional Networking and Meet Up Events
An entire industry has been created over the past decade helping people with similar interests meet one another. While many of us like to meet virtually (plug for OfficeSuite HD Meeting), most of these types of meetings are focused around shared hobbies, like art, books or music, others focus on technology, careers and business and take place in real life during monthly events like happy hours or other networking events.
There are several sites to check when looking to expand your network.
- Business Networking International - https://www.bni.com/
- LeTip International - http://letip.com/
- Meetup.com – Technology - https://www.meetup.com/find/tech/
- Meetup.com – Careers and Business - https://www.meetup.com/find/career-business/
- Meetup.com – Professional Networking - https://www.meetup.com/topics/professional-networking/
BONUS TIP: When you do join a networking group, please make sure to read 5 Things To Know About Networking (In Real Life) by Leah Kauffman (@leahrkauffman) to make sure you have a plan and follow proper etiquette.
2. Mine LinkedIn for Real Intelligence
LinkedIn has always been a great place to show off your resume and in recent years, has become a recruiter’s dream, providing a new way of filtering and messaging candidates who may be a good fit. These same tools can be used by sales people to generate new leads.
Look for new job postings from local companies
When companies post open positions on LinkedIn, they are giving away more than they are merely looking for new candidates. Journalists are now scouring these careers posts for insights into what is going on at a company and so should you!
Ask yourself (and eventually them), why is this new position open? Is the company expanding? If it is a replacement position, are there challenges inside the organization? Depending on the role, it could be anything, but at a minimum, it signals change. Whether you are selling a cloud UC platform like OfficeSuite UC™ or virtually anything else, helping a company adapt to changes is a great sales approach.
Once you have a target, check your network and ask for an introduction from a friend. Warm introductions beat a cold call every day of the week!
Harness the Power of Searches
A few years ago, we had LinkedIn consultant Jamie Shanks (@jamietshanks) help us up our social game when targeting UC buyers via LinkedIn. He showed us exactly how to use LinkedIn’s built-in tools to target and message contacts within the platform.
Rather than plagiarize Jamie’s entire pitch, he wrote it down and offered it up for free. On where else, LinkedIn! Jamie’s article 9 LinkedIn Hacks To Find New Hot Prospects details exactly what he shared with us and provides a roadmap and routine to follow to effectively mine and connect with prospects. Pay special attention to the #1 tactic – “Become the local Boolean search expert.” Jamie’s advice, “when you devote a little time to becoming an expert in Boolean search, you will supercharge your prospecting.”
Time to Buy Some Access
Sometimes it’s hard to get someone’s attention, and with the volume of email we get these days, it usually takes sending more than one message to finally connect with someone. Even if you have a great CRM or Salesforce automation tool, using LinkedIn’s own messaging platform nearly guarantees a prospect will read your message. Not only do they get notified in the platform, but for the vast majority of users, you will also get an email from LinkedIn with the message included.
Buying InMail messages on LinkedIn is an easy way to target decision makers. If you have rights to your “company page” you can buy these messages through their advertising platform. This platform allows you to quickly build an audience (CEOs in a local zip code for instance) and send a direct message to the entire group at once. While there is a cost, usually the connections made will make for a positive return on investment.
3. Make Demonstrations and Referrals Part of Your Routine
A life time ago, I spent a summer selling cutlery door-to-door for a company called Cutco. This is a great product and interesting business model. The Cutco model is the reliance on a live, in-person demonstration (also great for Unified Communications) and referrals for lead generation. At the end of each and every demonstration, even if the prospect didn’t want to buy, you were required to ask for the names and phone numbers of ten additional people who would be interested in getting a free demonstration.
Social engineering is great. Just asking politely would almost guarantee three to six names and we used those names as personal introductions to the new prospects. “I was over at Jane Doe’s house earlier today showing her our product and she said that you were a great cook and might be interested.” Worked like a charm. On average, two-thirds or more of the referrals we got would take a demonstration and half of those would buy at least one knife.
We have seen similar results when pitching our cloud-based UC platform OfficeSuite®. We know that when we demonstrate the service online or in person, we generate a much higher close percentage because the prospect has invested time to understand our key differentiators and has experienced our award-winning customer portal, MyOfficeSuite.
And remember, even if they don’t buy right away, ask for referrals. “Is there anyone else in your network that could benefit from a system that unifies all your communications and locations?” So, all of this depends on one thing, you. You have to make a commitment to one or all of these strategies and plan to execute. Make these part of your day, your week or month. Block off the appropriate time on your schedule to work your plan or the every day grind will eat up every last minute you have.