How to Generate Sales Leads Without Cold Calling (Easy Leads)
The bane of anyone in sales is generating leads. However, this is something we all must do. If we don’t, our businesses suffer. In the past, the best way to generate leads was through cold calling. This was a very efficient way to talk to people and give them your best pitch. Success rates on cold calls are notoriously low, save for a few talented talkers. Thanks to the internet and several other modalities, there are better, more efficient ways of generating leads than using auto-dialers to talk with people intent on slamming the phone into the receiver.
Cold calling is terrible these days. The people who answer generally regret answering, and most times, thanks to Caller ID, you go straight to voicemail. Cold calling success rates are abysmal, and it’s a bad way to spend company resources generating leads. For example, when you cold call, you don’t have anything indicating that a person is interested in a specific product or service. All you know about the person is their name and where they live. It’s difficult to start an effective sales pitch knowing so little about your customer. Yet companies still do it.
Your company shouldn’t be trapped in the Jurassic days of generating leads. Instead what you need to do is learn how to generate more leads in less time and have a high percentage of those leads become conversions. Instead of focusing on how you are going to keep a customer on the phone long enough to start your pitch. Once you finish your pitch, the high likelihood is that the prospect will pass on your offer – even if it is something simple like sending literature to their address about your product. Ditch the cold call, seriously.
Why People Don’t Cold Call Anymore
As you can see, cold calling has a low success rate. The reasons why are endemic to the practice itself. The goal of cold calling is keeping people on the phone long enough that you wear down their resistance. This is not an effective way to sell – people on the other end of the phone grow to resent your product. Instead of being excited to receive literature, they are instead gleeful to throw it away. There are so many better alternatives to cold calling. Many of them involve interpersonal contact but the ones that are remote are far more effective because instead of throwing spaghetti at the wall with the hope of adhesion, you are actually getting in contact with people who are interested in what you are selling.
As anyone in sales knows, it is much easier to sell to a person who is interested in a product than a prospect who has been worn down and purchases just to gain relief from the onslaught. These meaningful interactions are the best way to build a relationship between a customer and a brand that lasts long beyond the initial purchase. When using any of these modalities, great customer service and the individual touch is the key to generating the lead and converting to a sale.
Here are some different ways you can generate leads without going through the horror of cold calling.
Seek Public Speaking Engagements
Holding public events where you speak about the different benefits of your business is a great way to introduce yourself to interested prospects. The best part is people are sitting in a room INTERESTED in what you have to say. This is a radical departure from cold calling. What is even better? The people in the room believe you to be an expert in your subject! This means you get authority and buy-in almost immediately! Once you move to your sales pitch, the rest takes care of itself.
You are probably not likely to walk out of the room with new sales leads in hands, but you will ll have established your expertise on the subject and brand credibility. When a need does arise, you are most likely the first-person attendees will reach out to. There are many ways to increase your chances to generate leads. The best way is including a call-to-action where you encourage prospects to visit your website and download a related offer that’s exclusive to them. This is an easy way to capture everyone’s email address and allows you the chance to follow-up which nurtures your leads after the event.
One of the most important things to do is include your Twitter handle and LinkedIn URL on your slides. Asking people to connect with you and share their constructive critique about the presentation on social throughout your talk makes people feel like you have a personal relationship with them. This relationship is the key to nurturing these leads.
Turn Meet and Greets into Online Networks
The constant travel of business means if you meet someone in Los Angeles then jet to New York and finally lay your head at home in Miami, you have three sets of people who are hard to keep connected with. This is a problem that traveling salesmen in years past encountered. They would have to stay on the road and constantly nurture these relationships while hoping another canny salesman didn’t snake the sale from under them.
If you meet someone at a trade-show be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn. If a person downloaded an ebook telling the story about your company’s website, it is wise to follow them on Twitter. These are fantastic ways to keep relationships alive and nurture them. Instead of hoping your prospect in another locale is still loyal to your brand, you can help them instantly. What’s more important, you become the person’s friend. It’s much harder to say no to friends.
A key consideration is not being creepy or too pushy. No one likes to feel like they are being sold something, so using social to jump into a pitch is a bad idea. Instead, read the different content your prospects share on their social media. Spend time commenting on their posts, retweet and share the different ideas they have with your personal network. This is a great way to show value in a relationship and add perspective to your team. Making the conversation more profound is always appreciated.
The key is to always be a helpful, kind presence. When you provide real value while being human, your leads will turn to conversions.
Build a Solid Rapport Online with your Prospects
Similar to the point made above, when you build the social relationship you need to be someone who has an online presence. One of the best ways to do this is through your own personal blog. Write about the things that interest you and also comment on the business you are in. Comment on articles that are interesting. This is how people get to know you.
One of the best ways to find out what your prospects are thinking is to read what they are reading. This is common sense. What are the influencers they find most appealing? A great way to build a relationship is to engage in dialogue about specific topics. Maybe there’s an influencer you like that your prospect doesn’t know much about. Use this as a way to develop that relationship. Share and post on a daily basis so people get to know you.
In the same vein, think about where your prospects are. If you like Twitter but your prospects spend their time perusing LinkedIn, then using Twitter is not the best way to engage. Find where your prospects are and go to them. Develop an affable online persona and add value to the discussion. People will get engaged, and when they start seeking out your opinion – which is usually sooner than you anticipate – that’s when the relationships will bear fruit.
Use Incentives to Increase Your Referral Traffic
The reason professionals like you enjoy having networks is because those networks are giant lead generating machines. Referrals are one of the easiest ways to build your business. When you refer people to your network associates they are more inclined to do the same in return. Customers are constantly referring their friends to businesses – why shouldn’t you do the same?
However, remember that people are always attuned to their interests. To get a lot of referrals, you have to make it worthwhile for them to dish out the referral. Give people some motivation, and you will be surprised at how well they deliver for you. The best way to do it is giving away something that has value to them but is essentially cost neutral for you. The gain from the referral is worth the cost and then some.
There are many different ways you can encourage your customers and business associates to recommend you. With customers, it’s usually as simple as throwing in something on the deal. A simple 10% discount is a great way to get your customers to give you some good leads. For your associates, it could be tickets to a sporting event or credit as a collaborator on a larger project. Whichever route you choose, incentivizing referral traffic is the best way to ensure you always have inquiries from referrals.
In turn, always be sure to refer people to other businesses. When they see you’re giving them traffic, they will undoubtedly reciprocate.
Drum Up Business with Old Clients and the Ones Who Got Away
Some of the best ways to generate leads are to follow up with leads that didn’t go anywhere not too long ago. Perhaps the client couldn’t secure funding, or they had different needs at the time. This is why you should always keep relationships on good terms. You never know when someone is going to be able to do something with you. These missed opportunities of today become tomorrow’s big sales – especially if the lost client had a bad experience with someone in the same field as you.
Old clients are another great way to keep your leads fresh. Generally, these folks have finished their business with you and are satisfied. They just didn’t have anything new at the time. This is not unlikely because you have been there as well. Everyone is busy and you lose touch.
This is where following up is critical. Even if you just send follow-up automatic e-mails from time to time, you are keeping the fire of business burning. The old customers know you are engaged and are not surprised when you reach out to them about new opportunities.
The same following up is critical to missed opportunities. These folks are always on the lookout for different opportunities. One of the best ways to keep old clients and missed opportunities engaged with you is to refer them to different folks in your network based on what they need. When your network comes through, it only adds to your authority which means eventually you will make the sale.
Family Feud Uses Surveys, and you Should Too
When you are out of ideas with how to reach new prospects, one of the best ways to find out how people are perceiving your market is just to simply ask them. Again, this is common sense. Surveys are one of the best ways to do this because people love to give their opinion. If you are keenly interested in their opinion, incentivize responses to your surveys. People will come to your business like the voice said they would to Ray Kinsella.
Be upfront about asking people for their insight. There are plenty of ways you can structure the survey to passively capture their contact information along with their interests. Critical to a survey’s effectiveness is data analysis. Find out how the different respondents answered and tailor your pitches to them accordingly. People are very good about telling you what they want.
One of the best ways to utilize a survey is not to pitch something but to refer something. If a recipient expresses an interest in a certain technique, send them information on a thought leader in that particular niche. It’s a great way to ensure consistent good feelings about you and what you do.
Create Partnerships with Organizations for Guest Posts, Podcast, and Webinars
Back to networking, one of the reasons people love it is because when your network is accessed, that gives you access to someone else’s network. Through these networks, you build meaningful relationships including business partnerships. Leveraging these partnerships to mutual benefit is the goal of any shrewd business professional. The key is making sure you are reaching out to people where you provide just as much benefit to them as they do to you.
An important thing to consider is not to look at other companies serving your buyers as competition but as collaborators. This relationship actually opens up more business than it would otherwise. Don’t view buyers as a zero-sum game, instead find ways that both of your businesses can positively affect the lives of buyers. This is how you nourish relationships not just with buyers, but partners.
A great way to get your presence onto their platforms, and vice versa, is through content. Offer to appear as a guest on their podcast. You reap the benefits of their audience while the podcast gets a fresh voice with new ideas. Contribute guest blogs and offer the same courtesy in return. Most businesses don’t want to spend their time creating content, instead, they want engagement. You are the same way, so use these partnerships to get your business in front of new eyes and ears.
Use Free Test and Scorecards for Information Gathering
Everyone slacks off on the internet by taking stupid tests, only to have the purveyor of the exam ask for their e-mail address. Wouldn’t you know it, when you give your e-mail address to the test administrator, you start getting communication from the company? It’s almost like they planned it this way.
One of the best ways is using these tests and the results as a way to tailor your pitch the company’s needs. Instead of flying blind, they know exactly what they need and you know how to deliver it. For many companies, these tests are helpful in convincing the higher-ups of the need to select your product or service. When you give the free assessment and demonstrate the need, your advocate has an easier time selling their superiors on your business. By identifying the pain point and the solution, your contact has credibility within the organization, which is critical to getting the sale.
Having your in the door early as an expert guarantees that you will be called on from time to time to solve similar problems. Because you have helped the person within the organization thanks to your assessment, they are quite likely to recommend you to others in their network. This is one of the easiest ways to develop leads.
Enjoy the Ease of Inbound Marketing
The goal of cold calling is simple – generate leads where ones would otherwise not exist. Inbound marketing works the same way, using content and other tools to attract the right prospects to you instead of you having to search for them. Inbound marketing is passive in nature, meaning the answers to common questions inevitably lead the prospect to contact you before you’ve reached out to them.
A great way to use inbound marketing is having automatic lead-nurturing e-mails. Demonstrating your value through these e-mails is the best way to get the prospect hot for your business’s services. By the time the customer is ready to complete the sale, they have educated themselves on why your company is the best fit for their needs.
Thanks to this strategy, you can use the next – a warm call.
Warm Calls, Like Warm Weather, are Always Preferred
Whether it’s your inbound system or the different lead nurturing activities above, warm calls are ideal for completing the sale. You have established a relationship between yourself and your prospect without ever having to pick up the phone in most cases. The relationship has been nurtured through education and many other modalities. Now it’s time to complete the sale.
Warm calls are done with warm accounts. There has been activity on this account. They are ready for you to give them a call and refer to the online relationship you have created with them. These mutual touchstones are an easy way to get all the sales smarm out of the way. You know the problem your customer has, and they know you are the solution.
When you call, make sure that you refer to all that shared information. Refer to their comments, actions, and all the different ways you both have interacted. This is how you reinforce the veracity of the different levels in which the prospect has educated themselves on your company’s ability to help them. As with every sales call, you must ask for the sale at some point, but on the warm call, it is more a fait-accompli. Your prospect is looking for you to close the sale – so close it!
There are many different ways to nurture relationships between your prospects and your business. Cold calling is a way of the past, and its success rate then and now is not a tribute to its efficacy. In all the different modalities used in this article, the key is that you are interacting with potential customers without being pushy, aggressive, or needing to get past a wall of indifference. The hardest thing for the most skilled salesperson to do is to get an ambivalent customer to care.
Through the different interactions, you are laying the groundwork for productive business relationships. More importantly, you are getting to know different people and opening yourself up to new ideas and experiences. This is the best way to make you better at what you do. Sharing experiences and listening to the needs of your new leads is essential for closing the sale. In the old days, you would just hit random numbers and hope to get lucky. Today, using these lead generation systems, luck is no longer part of the equation.