1. Ask for referrals.
According to research by Deloitte, 42 percent of respondents said they tell family and friends about a positive experience while only 32 percent said they talk about negative experiences. This research suggest that happy customers are also happy to give referrals.
Let your customers do the talking for you by asking for referrals. Nothing boosts your company’s credibility more than a happy customer telling their friends and family about you. Referrals are the best lead generation strategy out there. When closing a sale, be sure to ask your buyer if they know anyone who might appreciate your product or service.
2. Conduct regular customer care calls.
Don’t drop your customer after the sale. A happy customer who has a continued relationship with you and your company is likely to buy again. Aberdeen research shows that it is 4.8 timescheaper to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new lead. Follow-up calls are a strategic way to nurture customer relations and a great time to ask for referrals.
3. Lead Nurturing: Keep in contact with past referrals.
Not every lead will be ready to convert at that point in time but that doesn’t mean they should be ignored. Lead nurturing is especially critical in the lead generation processwhen prospects are undecided about a purchase. Send them helpful information based on their interests. Automate the lead nurturing process, set up reminders and a schedule of when to check in with them. You want to be top of mind when they are ready to make a decision.
Remember that lead nurturing can be a slow process. However, research from the Aberdeen Group shows that lead nurturing is well-worth the patience. Order totals from nurtured leads averaged 47 percent higher than non-nurtured leads among companies who practice Best-in-Class lead nurturing.
4. Be a trusted source of information.
Go the extra mile and become a product expert in your respective field. Develop into an advisor that customers can trust rather than just an ordinary salesperson. Customers have a vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips therefore they do most of their research before ever talking to a sales representative. A way to bridge this gap is by speaking at trade shows or conferences as a way to become a trusted source of information.
Remember, the customer holds the purchasing power. However, as a sales professional, you should empower the customer with required information to help them make the best decision. (And hopefully, that decision is you!)
5. Use the Internet to highlight your expertise.
In this digital age it has become easy and essential to showcase your expertise and there is no better way to do so than online. Start building up a web presence to help you reach any potential clients that might be in need of your extensive knowledge base regarding products or industry. One way to start gaining views is by using targeted content optimization for search engines to increase your site’s rankings.
Not a search optimization guru? Do not fret, the essence of generating leads through the Internet is by continually adding helpful and relevant content to your site. In doing so you will assist your potential customers in their research process. To capture these prospects, use form entries throughout your site for online lead generation.
Most customers begin researching their purchase long before they ever talk with a company representative. David Edelman and Marc Singer describe the customer-led sales experience as a “journey” and emphasize the importance of being part of that journey. Through creating customized, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for each step of the research process, products and companies can be a guide to customers before they are ready to engage with sales staff. “Today, winning brands owe their success not just to the quality and value of what they sell, but to the superiority of the journeys they create,” say Edelman and Singer. Paying attention to the customer’s journey creates a significant opportunity for online lead generation.
6. Network Online.
Social platforms have gained dominance in the way people interact. According to an infographic created by Nowsourcing 10% of US conversations take place through the internet, while 39% socialize online more than in person. It’s no wonder why “professional networking site” LinkedIn is the main site professionals use as a way to stay in contact with people you meet. However crafting the right approach is just as critical as cultivating your connections. Don’t send generic invites when requesting to connect. Instead, send a personalized message reminding them who you are, how, and where you met. For example:
Hi [enter in name], We met [date] at [event]. I really enjoyed talking to you about [topic] and we talked about getting together for coffee to discuss [project]. I see that you [talk about latest post/like/update/etc on site] and I would love to reconnect. Are you available to meet up anytime soon? Let me know.
A recent study of over 5,000 businesses found traffic from LinkedIn produced the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate across social media platforms, almost 3 times higher () than Twitter and Facebook. When looking for ways to generate new leads, it pays to be on LinkedIn.
7. Be Social.
Once you’ve connected with potential customers, nurture those connections. Don’t just limit yourself to one social site, expand on to relevant ones whenever possible. Social selling expert, Jill Rowley counsels to read what your prospective clients read and then tweet or post about it. Regularly posting valuable content increases your ability to be a trusted source for customers as they research their purchase.
Because of LinkedIn’s tremendous value in converting leads, publishing articles or sponsoring updates on the site is an important strategy. Adding advice and expertise can gain you a following and help to put you and your company in the spotlight as a trusted expert in your field.
8. Good, old-fashioned networking.
Tried and true, networking is another key to sales lead generation. Seventy-seven percent say they prefer in-person conferences due to the ability to read body language and facial expressions. Therefore be where your prospective clients are. Join organizations your potential clients will most likely join and make an effort to attend the conferences they will as well. This puts you in the right place to interact with a large pool of prospects.
Remember, networking isn’t all about you. It is easier to listen carefully to others as they speak about their challenges in business. Chances are, you will find opportunities to offer solutions, whether it’s your own product or service, or a product or service from one of your contacts. Helping associates even when it means not closing a sale is not only friendly, it paves the way for referrals. As mentioned earlier be an advisor that is committed to helping customers find the right solution whenever possible.
9. Be creative!
Successful lead generation is about referrals, in-person, and online networking, but a little creativity goes a long way in reaching potential customers. For example, David Morgan and Alex Chavez, co-founders of Security Dealer Marketing, helped a local security company sponsor a public service day and provided free hi-resolution photos of families with Santa. The event generated 400 leads, 10 sales, local brand exposure, and lots of fun Christmas pictures.
In order to generate new leads, think of new ways to interact with potential customers. Sponsoring a charity drive or a networking or educational luncheon might be a way to interact with your community while also generating leads.
Don’t give up!
Successful companies know sales leads come from a variety of sources. Strategies for how to generate sales leads include asking for referrals, conducting customer care calls, and nurturing leads. Being a trusted source of information on the Internet and social media as well as online networking are also lead generation strategies. In-person networking also generates leads.
The most important lesson in lead generation strategies, however, is perseverance. Just 2% of sales are made on the first contact. That’s only 2 in 100! Part of grasping how to generate leads is understanding and practicing lead nurturing. Alan Underkofler, founder of Follow Up Success, reports that most customers don’t engage with salespeople until they are well into the buying process and most sales are made after the 4th or 5th contact.
By expanding your current strategies for generating leads and attending to those leads through the sales process, you’ll find greater accuracy and skill in hitting your sales targets.