I’ve never met a salesperson who enjoyed prospecting. I have, though, known many that were good at it. The good ones were always the highest earners. Let’s face it. If you are in sales, you must prospect for new business. And although it may not be fun, I’m going to give you some ways to make easier. Here are six of my favorites:
1. Join a networking group.
Business Network International (BNI) is a networking organization for business professionals. Members meet weekly to support each other’s business by sharing referrals. In addition to business growth, BNI members develop lasting relationships that help them grow professionally and personally. All security sales reps, residential or commercial, should belong to a professional networking group. Find a local BNI chapter and join it.
2. Speak to local community groups and trade associations.
It has been said that most people would rather die than give a speech, but if you’re one of the fortunate few that can talk in front of others, public speaking is a great way to generate leads. Talk to the agents at that large real estate firm about the latest in home automation. Share with the restaurant association ways to slash employee theft. Speaking to groups allows you to reach many people through one activity. It positions you as a subject matter expert, not as a salesperson there to pitch a product.
The number one way we generate new sales leads in our business is by speaking at events. Find the right events and organizations in your community. Contact them and offer to speak on a subject of relevance. They don’t want an ad for your company or product. As an example, no one wants to hear a 45-minute talk on camera systems. But they will listen for 45 minutes about how to slash employee theft, and camera systems can be part of that discussion.
3. Develop referral sources.
A client company of mine gets more than 30 new customers a month through real estate agent referrals. How’d they do it? They put together a $100 referral offer for sold jobs. They made a special Web page so it’s easy for an agent to send a lead at any time. They send agents that are part of their program a one-page email every month containing articles an agent can share with homeowners about the community, security, home automation, etc. Could you do that? Another way to put others to work for you is through joint ventures. Find salespeople that don’t compete with you but sell to the same audience as yours. Put together a promotion (15 percent off, get a free camera with any system) the other company can promote to their customers.
4. Use LinkedIn.
Think of LinkedIn as a search engine to find sales prospects. Its power tool is the advanced search feature. Use advanced search to find your ideal customers. Search by location, job title, company size, industry and more. If there are companies you want to sell to, use the company’s LinkedIn business page. You’ll find directories of company employees and can follow the company for updates and events that will help you personalize and customize your interactions.
5. Get customer reviews.
Every day prospective customers are online looking at review sites such as Yelp for places to eat and shop. Imagine what your earnings would be like if they saw 50 or more reviews from your past customers, all mentioning you by name. Do you think those prospective customers would contact your company? I do. And imagine the improvement in closing rates and sold margins with 50 or more reviews. The more reviews, the more leads. That’s a fact.
6. Check job boards.
Job openings are windows into a prospect’s needs. If you notice a company is hiring a security director, or loss prevention officer, or even a new manager, this may be a good organization to reach out to. New jobs often trigger events to buy new products or services. Look at sites like Glass Door, LinkedIn, Zip Recruiter, Monster and others. Look for newly hired decision-makers and make your case.
Do you have favorite spots to find new prospects quickly? Then share them with us. Send them to me at Brian@WeTrainSalesStars.com.