I once had a senior sales rep say to me "I'm done with cold calling and prospecting"-my reply was "what career are you getting into next?!" The need for finding new business never goes away for sales reps, business owners, or anyone that wants to grow. At Inbound last year I went to a session on business expansion that reminded me that there are only two options for you to choose each day-is what I'm doing now either growing or killing my business? It's as simple as that.
In order to grow, you must meet and find alike companies that match your core values, and need your services. To do that you must prospect for new business. Below are some of the ways to ensure you are getting enough "asks" out in the universe to keep moving forward.
1. Prospect Everywhere-this is literally true. Once I got into advertising and marketing over 15 years ago I never could look at a Billboard, TV/radio commercial, print ad, flyer, pamphlet, etc the same! Everything becomes a "possible lead." Think of where you travel, in app-ads you frequently use, routine places and lifestyle purchases you are making. There is no shortage of new companies emerging in the market to connect with that are looking for leads just like yourself. Imagine if you connected with a business and told them "I just made a purchase and I can get you in front of 1,000 more people just like me" wouldn't they at least take a meeting with you? That is step 1-finding the right fit companies you truly feel you can connect with and help solve for challenges they have.
2. Join Networking Groups: my husband lead the charge to network in our household, and when I saw how effective it was for him, I knew it could work for anyone. He's a GC in Boston and delivers beautiful residential projects for homeowners in the metro area. Most people don't think of "sales" when they think of contractors, but I would put him up against the best rep any day as he learned how to make networking work for his business. There are some really great groups that are always looking for a variety of professionals to exchange conversation with. I am familiar with BNI, My Pinnacle Network, Women's groups, and the Chamber of Commerce. I'm sure there are tons more depending on your companies location. Scaling and running a business is a 24/7 job, and a networking group can help keep you on track, offer fresh perspective, help solve for challenges, and most importantly work as a virtual sales staff for your brand. Think of how awesome it is to have 30 people going about their day meeting new people and keeping an eye out for potential opportunities for you! That's how powerful networking and being part of a business group can be.
3. Have a Valid Business Reason: this sounds simple enough-but if you don't do research before you connect with a company they can tell, and they probably wont take you seriously. Pete Caputa has several great articles for sales teams on how to connect via email/phone to get the meeting. Now a days you need to stand out to get noticed. you can't do that when you don't do your homework. WHY should someone talk to you? HOW can you help solve for a need? WHAT support can you offer them throughout the process?
4. Be Yourself When Connecting: prospects want to hear from PEOPLE, not robots. They know when you are reading from a script, they know when you are trying to hit a cold call quota, and they know when you are being real and when you are being fake. 80% of landing the meeting is connecting and building rapport with the prospect. Not fake rapport (insert horrible first date pick up lines), but real rapport (I saw you just got a round of funding to expand your sales team). Ali Powell does a wonderful job of outlining tips for sales reps in her blogs. At the end of the day YOU are who people want to do business with so present yourself accordingly.
A quote I always think of when it comes to prospecting and meeting with a new business is: "Those that fail to plan, plan to fail." Start thinking about how your company will embrace prospecting trends to grow market share and consumer loyalty. Need help figuring out what your team should be doing to grow sales? CLICK HERE to set up a time to talk. #happyconnecting