Thursday, October 15, 2009

New ways to Generate Leads


It's been nearly seven years that I've been going to work for a group of radio stations in Fort Wayne, Indiana in the advertising sales department.

I worked in radio sales before, Detroit, about 15 years ago, and the one thing I disliked then was cold calls.

When I returned to this business in 2003, I did the cold call routine but I also started networking and generating referals. As a matter of fact, this morning I am filling in at a B.N.I. group that I was a memeber of for three years.

The last few years I have expanded my world to include social media and marketing. And this week, I posted on my facebook page that I have a "Buy Local" program for area businesses to participate in. Within a couple of hours, I had requests from friends wanting the details.

Recently I received this from Jill Konrath:

Cold Calling Isn't the Only Way to Get Prospects

Posted: 12 Oct 2009 09:11 AM PDT

Today's post is by Kendra Lee, author of Selling Against the Goal and President of KLA group.

No_cold_calls

Not many sellers like cold calling. They may be forced into it but they go kicking and screaming, avoiding it with any excuse.

Unfortunately, they think it’s the only approach to prospecting, but it doesn’t have to be that way.

John was a managed services provider looking to grow his company. He created a cold calling plan to reach three different micro-segments that he’d identified as his hottest opportunities.

Together we put a strategy in place with a dynamite approach. He learned how to tailor his message to different companies, tips to get past gatekeepers and techniques for leaving gripping voicemails.

John was excited! He spent weeks perfecting everything, holding off on any calls until he felt he was fully prepared.

And then it was time to execute.

After two weeks of failed attempts, John fessed up. He didn’t want to pick up the phone.

He’d convinced himself that this was the right way to prospect. John assumed that all successful sales people did it, and if his business was going to be successful, he had to master it, too.

Not true.

Cold calling can be one of the most inefficient ways to find leads. Unless you have a list of specific contacts you want to reach, it simply isn’t your best technique to fill your funnel.

I’m a passionate believer in alternate ways of prospecting, especially when you’ve got a big region you’re attempting to cover and you’re strapped with a large number to sell. Instead, you need a plan that’ll bring leads in the door in a manner that’s comfortable for you.

It’s time to change your prospecting strategy. Here are some ideas for you.

  • Start an email campaign. Afraid of the spam laws? Keep your list small and personalize your emails to participants’ needs so it feels as if you sat down to write them an individual message. Send a series of 3-4 emails three days apart to encourage a response.
  • Know your target market. John knew where to look for his hottest opportunities. You want to do the same. Keep your micro-segments small, 20-125 contacts at a time, so you can be more personal in your communications.
  • Hold an on-line event. Sound time consuming and expensive? You can run one practically for free so don’t let the price stop you. If content or participation is your concern, remember that you’re the expert. Make your topic relevant to your target market’s top issues and they’ll want to hear what you have to say. Share recommendations based on work you’ve done with other clients. Offer something at the end that’ll separate hot prospects from warm leads.
  • Use social media, press releases and / or articles to get noticed. They’ll keep you in front of your target market where they get to know you as an expert. You’ll begin to create a relationship even before they require your assistance.
  • Create a mini-campaign by linking email, events, social media, and articles together to keep you in constant touch with your micro-segments. As a seller you don’t have time to run a complicated 6-month campaign, but you can run a simple one over 6 weeks that generates new leads all along the way.

Some people love cold calling. But if you aren’t one of those people, relax, breathe a deep sigh of relief and change your prospecting strategy.

Not only will you build your funnel, you’ll also create awareness for yourself and your company through consistent exposure. When your target prospects have a need, they’ll remember you and reach out. And isn’t that so much more inviting that interrupting their day with a cold call?

KendraL

KENDRA LEE is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.

She's a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, read her latest articles, or to subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.

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1 comment:

kendra123kla said...

Scott,
Isn’t it exciting to have all these different ways to prospect? When we started in sales cold calling and door knocking where the standard. Now we can choose the method that works best for us and our target markets.

Congrats on the success of your “Buy Local” program! Outstanding!

Kendra Lee