Converting prospects into opportunities (and eventually customers) is the key to building your pipeline. According to Thomas Ray Crowel, author of Simple Selling, there are four key strategies to improve your conversion rate:
- Strategy #1: Improve your prospecting list. The more that the list is "pre-qualified" the more likely you are to convert prospects into opportunities. Ideally, your marketing group should be doing as much pre-qualification as possible, either by purchasing high-quality, better-targeted lists or by doing the first level of winnowing themselves. Hint: the absolute best lists are referrals from existing customers.
- Strategy #2: Improve your selling attitude. Working upon your attitude and motivation will pay off big time; your effectiveness as a communicator is highly dependent upon these "soft" skills. Also, there may be times of the day or week when cold calling is more productive - both for you and for the suspects. Hint: Here's a post that teaches you EXACTLY when you should be cold calling: The Best Time to Cold Call.
- Strategy #3: Improve your phone skills. The more effective you are at getting the right people on the phone and finding out whether they're qualified to be prospects, the less time you'll need to spend doing it. As you reduce that time, you'll either be able to spend less time prospecting or generate more prospects in the same amount of time. Experiment with different scripts. Keep a record of what works best for you. Do a mental debriefing after each call to decide what you could do better next call.
- Strategy #4: Improve your close rate. If you become a more effective presenter and closer, you won't need to generate as many opportunities in order to make your quota. Failing to pay attention to your ability to close is good news for your competitors, because if you don't close yourself, your sales efforts will create the exact conditions that your competitor needs to close. Remember: an opportunity means that prospect is ready to buy and will probably buy. Make sure it's from you.
Here are some posts to help you out: