The top 10 sales tactics that beat cold calling
Often sales people tell me they are frustrated with how to generate enough quality leads to keep their pipelines filled. They are dismayed about the quality of their marketing materials, they are concerned with their company's low profile or they feel pressure because their efforts are not generating enough new prospect leads. Do you face these same hurdles?
The best lead generation is educational because it gets you invited in by the prospect. Here are the top 10 tactics that work, but a la David Letterman, in descending order of effectiveness. These all work, but I like to save the best for last:
10. Advertising. Isn't it ironic that none of the great advertising agencies built their clientele by advertising? But if you specialize in an industry and you can get your firm's name in the right directories, it is always better to be included than not.
9. Direct mail. This is the traditional direct mail of a letter and a printed piece, like a response card. Some have used this cost effectively, maybe offering a complimentary consultation (there is a much better form of direct mail, however -- see tactic No. 1).
8. Publicity. While getting your name in the newspaper and trade journals is a cost-effective way to increase awareness about your firm, it doesn't always translate into leads.
7. Paid ballroom seminars. This is the strategy of renting out the ballroom at the local Marriott or Hilton and charging for an all-day or half-day seminar. Warning: Your information needs to be so valuable that prospects would pay money to get it. Participants should take away a substantial packet of good information from your firm (and a good meal too).
6. E-Newsletters. This is the water-torture school of marketing, and the opposite of Spam. By signing up for your newsletter lists, prospects are telling you that they are interested in what you have to say but not ready for a relationship now. These people should receive valuable how-to information and event invitations from you on a weekly basis until they decide to opt-out of the list.
5. Networking and tradeshows. This is an excellent way to gather business cards and ask for permission to include potential clients on your e-newsletter list.
4. Community and association involvement. Everyone likes to do business with people they know, like and trust. You need to get involved and "circulate to percolate."
3. How-to articles in client-oriented press. Second runner up. Better than any brochure is the how-to article that appears in a publication that your target clients read. The blurb at the end of the article lets prospects know how to find you.
2. How-to speeches at prospect industry meetings. First runner up. People want to hire experts, and an expert by definition is someone who is invited to speak. Actively seek out forums to speak and list past and future speaking dates on your website.
1. Free or low-cost small-scale seminars. The winner and reigning champion. The best proactive tactic you can employ is to regularly invite prospects by mail and e-mail to small seminars or group consultations. If your prospects are spread out geographically, you can do these briefings via the Internet (Webinars) or the telephone using a bridge line (teleseminars). Instead of cold calls try "warm calls" that are following up on an invitation to a seminar of value.
These can't be 90-minute commercials. You need to present valuable information about how to solve the problems that your prospects are facing, and then a little mention about your services. The more you help prospects the better it works.
(image courtesy of public domain images)
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