Fill your sales pipeline: ten tips to find more prospects

It’s almost half year.  One of those times every sales pipeline comes under the microscope of management scrutiny.  How’s yours looking?  Here are ten simple actions you could take to find more sales prospects.

It’s in the mind

By far the most important, you need to get the right mindset.  You’re not looking for prospects you can sell to, you’re looking for people with problems you can help them solve.

Sales and marketing messages are so intense today that clients have become very skilled at recognising them and tuning them out.

Your solution is to be different.  You do that by really caring your clients get a solution that totally meets their needs.  That means being analytical, problem solving and detached from making the sale.

Don’t be desperate

The last thing any potential client wants knocking on their door is a loser.  And the last thing you should be doing is chasing lost causes.

Build your knowledge, build your contacts and help people.  It’s a sure fire recipe to get clients coming to you for your advice and help.

Have a system

Prospecting doesn’t have to be hard work.  You don’t have to make hundreds of cold calls in frenzied bursts of activity.  You just need to keep doing certain things consistently.

Find out what works for you, and then do it; every single day.  Sure there are times you’re manically busy, but prospecting must continue.

Be visible

Clients choose when they want to buy.  So being in their perception when that time comes is critical.  That’s very largely about networking.  The old way and the new way.

Whatever methods you use to stay in front of your client’s minds, you need to do consistently.  If it’s LinkedIn, do status updates.  If it’s Twitter, tweet.  If it’s email, email them (with news, not sales messages.  You don’t want to be a spammer, do you?)  If it’s Slideshare, share.

Not moved into the social networking age?  Not a problem.  Talk to people.  Lots of people.  Don’t try to sell, just find out about their problems.  Prospects appear from the strangest places.

Know who your customers are

If you’re in big ticket sales, you can almost certainly name the companies who could buy from you.  And if you can’t, maybe you should make that a priority.

Start by writing an ‘ideal customer criterion’.  What industry are they in?  How big are they?  Where are they?  Who are the people there?

Being totally clear about who you’re trying to sell to and the sorts of problems you can fix for them makes prospecting easy.

Know your customer’s problems

These days it’s not a lot of effort to know a great deal about your client’s businesses.  Setting up Google Alerts for both their industry and their specific company will bombard you with more information than you can ever use to prospect intelligently.

Then go one stage further.  Think about the facts, and then think about their implications.  Now you’re creating your own perspective on the company and the industry – and that perspective makes getting in much easier.

Research has shown this type of research to be one of the two most common attributes of successful professional salespeople.

Be a ‘go-to’ resource

With all your industry and company information at your fingertips, you should share it with the people you’d like to become clients.

Packaging up a few facts and insights and emailing them regularly to people you’d like to get in front of will over time make you their ‘go-to’ resource.  Just remember to leave out the sales messages, you’re trying to help, not sell.

Maybe go as far as writing a white paper you send to the people you’d like to become clients.  You should be an expert in their industry, so sharing your knowledge and insights is a very powerful thing to do.

Make your LinkedIn profile relevant

Your LinkedIn profile isn’t just about finding your next job, it can be a great way of finding new clients.

Look at your profile critically.  It’s OK to list your achievements, but look at it from a client’s eyes too.  Are you sending the right messages?  Are you being found for the keywords you’d like to be found for?

Ask for referrals

One of the oldest and most effective prospecting tools, the referral, is about as good as it gets.  Have you asked everybody in all your clients for a referral?  What about people who aren’t clients yet, but respect your industry knowledge?

Talk at every level in target organisations

Of course you’d like to be talking with the CEO.  But there’s an old saying about kissing frogs.

Getting into an organisation at any level is a good thing.  With every conversation you’ll learn a bit more.  And that knowledge will eventually not just open the door to the C-suite, it’ll ensure the red carpet is outside for you as well.

Resources

The textbooks all say you should call high.  That’s a great theory, but how do you get meetings with C-level executives?

Get meetings with C-level executives” is an easy to follow workbook that explains the theory and then takes you through a step by step approach to build your own approach to get a meeting.

Helpful?

If you’re interested in how this could help you, or feel I may be able to help you with some of the challenges you’re facing, please get in touch for an informal discussion.

There’s no commitment, we’ll just discuss your situation to see if working together might be a good fit.

Call me on +44 20 8133 7635 or +357 99 860725, or contact me.

Best regards

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