Finding more leads for growing sales can be one of the most frustrating parts of a job for sales managers and salespeople.
Many salespeople feel confident closing new business, but can’t find or nurture leads well enough to develop a steady pipeline of new opportunities. In some companies, leads are provided by the marketing department, while in others salespeople must fend for themselves.
If you’re in the “fend for yourself” camp, you might be struggling to fill out your pipeline. If you’ve exhausted all the lead sources you can think of, try these options.
5 Tips for Growing Sales
Referrals are the best source of new sales leads.
Ahh, a warm lead.
In the age of Facebook likes and Yelp reviews, we are all more likely to buy something if it comes with a strong recommendation. Even more so if that recommendation comes from someone we like and trust. That’s why referrals are so powerful for growing sales – the strong recommendation of a friend or colleague can mean more than all the marketing materials in the world.
So if referrals are so great, how do you get more of them?
Most people love to help. If you ask for referrals, and your contact feels comfortable with you, chances are they will think of someone who could benefit from your product or service. Even better, if you can identify someone in their network (maybe through LinkedIn), suggest a specific contact. This takes the guesswork out of it and increases the likelihood you’ll be introduced to someone who could really help in growing sales for you. And be sure to follow up with your referrer, and if possible, reciprocate.
Find new sales leads at networking events.
Networking has a bad reputation because people treat each other as transactions – if you’re in my target market, I’ll take your card and move on to the next transaction. If instead you take the time to get to know someone, they’ll be much more likely to return your follow-up call or email after the event.
Having a conversation will also give you something to talk about when you do follow up. Sales is all about building relationships – networking should be, too. Also, by getting to know someone better, you can understand how to help them in growing sales for their own business.
Revisit lost opportunities.
Remember that opportunity that didn’t pan out? A lot might have changed since that initial “no.”
Reach out again with a soft touch – ideally offering something of value to the prospect. “I came across this article about [your industry/company/interest] and thought of you. How’s business? Would love to catch up.”
Reconnect with past clients.
If you have a client that’s lapsed, go back and try to rekindle the relationship.
You can approach a past client with an email along the same lines as the example above for lost opportunities – make it a soft touch.
Since you probably know your past clients fairly well, use this as an opportunity to add more value with something you know they need or want. Send them a list of great new lead sources for their industry, or an article they might find interesting. Start with something small and the conversation can grow.
Mine industry recognition/accolades lists for new sales leads.
Awards, recognition, and accolades lists for your industry can all be great sources of new leads and another consideration in growing your business.
Lists like the Inc5000 organize honorees by industry, revenue, location, number of employees and more, so in growing sales you can narrow down your search to your target market. The CMO Leadership Awards is another source of potential leads.
Not only are lists like these handy collections of similar prospects in growing sales for you and your sales team, but it also gives you a talking point. “Congratulations!” emails are often better relationship-builders than “check out our new product launch.”
Identifying new sales leads doesn’t have to be your least favorite selling activity when growing sales after a holiday slump. Get creative with these ideas – and more – and make prospecting fun!