Reaching and exceeding your sales quotas or goals is much easier when you have a healthy and consistent source of lead generation.
While some sales professionals have their leads supplied to them, not everyone is so lucky. Many people need to actively prospect for new leads to keep their funnels full.
The best way to do that is to develop a sales prospecting process to capture a steady stream of leads while ensuring you don’t waste time on the wrong activities.
To do that as effectively as possible, here are six sales prospecting techniques that’ll help fill the top of your sales funnel.
1. LinkedIn Prospecting
With over 300 million active users (and 40% of them checking their accounts daily), LinkedIn presents an amazing opportunity for sales prospecting.
Here are some LinkedIn prospecting must do’s:
- Make sure to connect. Any time you meet or speak with a prospect, make sure to find and connect with them on LinkedIn. Not only will this help you build first degree connections, it will also increase your second and third level connections.
- Join relevant groups. If you target specific companies or industries, you should be able to find relevant LinkedIn groups. Join these groups to gain insight into your prospects’ companies and build your presence by interacting and answering questions.
- Track your customers, prospects, and competitors. See who they’re connecting with, what groups they’re joining, and what they’re posting. This can be extremely valuable as you look for new ways to reach quality leads.
For some in-depth tips on using LinkedIn for sales prospecting, check out our guide to sales prospecting on LinkedIn.
2. Asking for Referrals
Satisfied customers are one of your biggest assets for obtaining new business. They’ll spread the word about your amazing product or service, and can connect you to their friends and peers via referrals!
The best time to ask your customers for referrals is right after the sale. At this point, the sale is still fresh in their mind and they will be excited to share their referral’s contact information.
Here’s how to ask for a referral via email:
First, thank them again for choosing to work with you. Then, simply ask if they know anyone else who could also benefit from your work.
Remember, most people will be happy to help if they had a positive experience buying from your company. If you make this a habit, these can become some of your best leads.
3. Yelp Prospecting
Yelp can be a goldmine for sales prospecting. With some basic keyword research, you can find hundreds of qualified leads quickly.
As an example, here’s how to discover dentists in San Francisco via Yelp prospecting:
- In Yelp, search “Dentists near San Francisco, CA”.
- You will notice hundreds of results will pop up (maybe more).
- Load these results onto a spreadsheet and begin cold calling!
If you want to know more about sales prospecting on Yelp, check out our post on finding qualified leads through keyword research.
4. Cold Emailing
We get emails like this all the time…
Are you the right person at COMPANY NAME to discuss X? We have a product that helps other companies like yours achieve Y, and I think it would be a great fit for you. Would you be open to a 15-minute chat so I can show how we can Z?”
A lot of companies engage in this practice because it can be a great source of new prospects. But it’s also a lot of work, and you don’t have time to copy/paste all day.
Instead, you can use automation software like Outreach.io to send mass personalized emails or even outsource tasks to other companies.
Here are some cold email tips for effectively contacting new leads:
- Include a subject line that is warm and helpful. Great salespeople aren’t overly aggressive in their cold emails. Instead, they sell by building trust through honesty and integrity.
- Add an effective call-to-action to your emails to direct the decision-making process for these new prospects.
By combining automation software like Outreach with a compelling email, cold emailing will be one of the most effective ways to prospect leads. If you want to go deeper on cold emailing, we have a guide for that too.
5. Attending Relevant Events
You should make it a point to attend events your target prospects or potential partners are attending. In-person networking has greater potential to build connections than most other prospecting venues simply because you won’t just be another pesky sales guy trying to cold call them.
Here’s how to discover which events your prospects go to:
- Ask your existing customers which events they plan to attend.
- Find events online by checking competitors’ and industry websites.
- Look up networking events via Meetup or other forums.
- Search Google for upcoming conferences and events.
Meeting in-person is the best way to deliver first impressions and put you in an advantageous position to build relationships the right way. For more on selling and prospecting in person, check our post on tips for networking events.
6. Seeking Out Partners
Partnering with other businesses (especially in different industries) can help you get that initial contact with your target buyers. This could be a business that you offer services alongside of, or that you are able to subcontract some excess work from. It could even be a business that you pay a commission to for each of their customers that they send your way.
Having an ally on your side as a strategic partner will always be beneficial to your business which is why great sales organizations continuously discover new partnerships to maximize their leads.
Do you know of some other great strategies? Share your favorite or most effective sales prospecting methods in the comments below…