PROSPECTING SALES QUESTION:
"What are some different ways to build my prospect list? I find the method I'm using right now makes it hard for me to hit my daily call numbers."
Effective prospecting is something that should be "top of mind" for every person that makes a living at selling. I dare say its priority #1.
Sure you can make the argument that "selling" is priority #1 however, without constantly making sure you are adding fresh prospects to your list, you'll eventually run out of sales to make. And what happens next is, you're like that grasshopper from the parable that didn't put priorities in order during the summer and is now cold and hungry in the winter. I call that the "hunt and peck" method... meaning, they look for a lead, call it, look for another lead, call it etc., hoping to make a sale, rather than having an ever growing list of fresh prospects to call. Not a fun place to be for a salesperson.
Using the hunt-and-peck method is NOT effective prospecting. For one, you can never get into a rhythm that way. (Try this experiment: Pick a sales day and have 30 prospects ready to be called before the work day starts and make your sales calls. Now compare that to your normal day of looking for a lead, calling it, looking for another lead, calling it etc. and see which day made you more productive). And two, while you are in between calls hunting and pecking, searching for whom to call next, your competition is already having conversations with the prospects you are looking for.
The long and short of it is this: You want to make sure you are as efficient as possible in constantly attracting new prospects and growing your list. If you are researching for prospects to call during calling hours, you are going to have a hard time hitting quota. So the more creative you can get to drive as many new prospects to your lead list without eating up your calling time, the better your chances are of making more sales.
Here are 3 ways you can use LinkedIn to help you do just that.
Three Ways to Build Your Prospecting List with LinkedIn
Build your LinkedIn connections up with prospects that meet your specific criteria. To do that you will need to know one or two characteristics that would at least qualify a prospect as a "suspect" for your list. The criteria can be as simple as their vertical and title.
For example: Your vertical may be "dental offices" and the titles of past clients that had decision-making power were the actual dentist (owner), a business partner and sometimes (but not always) the office manager. By doing a "filter search" in LinkedIn, you can search for those that match your criteria and then send a connection request.
Now two things real quick...
Good Reason to Connect Example:
- I'm not going to use this time to walk you through step-by-step on how to do a LinkedIn filter search. There are plenty of resources to help you with that.
- Sending a "connection request" has to be done like you would a successful cold call... You have to show, right off the bat a personal benefit to them of why they would want to connect with you.
"Hi (PROSPECTS NAME), we recently helped (Dentist Company 1, 2 & 3) cut their office supplies bill by an average of 12% while offering more favorable billing terms and I'd like to add you to my LinkedIn network in case you decide we may be of some help to your business in the future."
Bad Reason to Connect Example:
"Hi (PROSPECTS NAME), we provide XYZ dental equipment and can save you time and money. I'd like to add you to my LinkedIn network."
There's no law stopping you from getting to work a few minutes early and having a goal of researching and sending out 10 or 20 new targeted LinkedIn connection requests before the morning sales meeting. A little research and the right message mixed with some time management each day will have you adding 10 to 50 new prospects a week with minimal effort.
Next Up: Create Your Own LinkedIn Group
It's free and easy to create your own targeted LinkedIn Group that can be a place for your targeted audience to come and post questions / seek help. Imagine that... your prospects, asking you for your advice. Not only does having a LinkedIn group give you a place to help build your value up in the eyes of your audience, it also gives you the ability to send out a periodic email to them for lets say, an upcoming webinar on a subject matter that they could be interested in. How's that for generating a bunch of leads in no time flat?
And Finally: Speaking of Webinars...
So let's say you have a nice helpful webinar that will give your prospects solid information that they can use. Why not contact owners of other groups that also have the same, targeted audience that you want to attract and ask them if they would email your free upcoming webinar link to their audience? You would be surprised, if the webinar were worth it of course, how many LinkedIn group owners would be willing to do this. Just remember, it's a two-way street.
These are just a few different ways to help build your prospecting list with maximum results and minimal effort. And the keys to success are simple: be creative, be consistent & utilize time management skills. Hope this helps.
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