How to Generate More Leads in Uncertain Times: 3 Prospecting Tips

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With things slowing down worldwide, one thing is (or should be!) on every salesperson’s mind, “how do I generate more leads?” Nobody knows what will happen in the future, so no matter what, your pipeline needs to be full. Listen, watch or read as Elaine Brindamoor, COO at SOCO Sales Training, joins Tom Abbott, CEO at SOCO Sales Training to discuss the current challenges of prospecting and 3 simple tips for generating more leads in uncertain times.

Why It’s Hard To Generate Leads

The simple fact is while we can forecast and estimate, we still don’t know what the future will hold.

What we do know, though, is that there is some uncertainty. We know that we have just come out of wo years of chaos, craziness, and a slowdown for many because of the pandemic.

Now we’ve got worldwide geopolitical issues, supply chain issues, and inflation. There’s a lot happening, and many of your customers might be cautious.

Many are using the “wait and see” approach and aren’t exploring ways to increase their expenses. In fact, they may be cutting back, scaling things back a little bit, or possibly delaying purchases.

What Every Salesperson Should Do Now

So what you all need to do right now is to realize that if you sit back and wait for the phone to ring, for the emails to ding and for leads to come in from your website, you may be waiting a long time.

The future’s uncertain, but if you’ve got the right attitude and the aptitude, the future is something that you can control despite challenging economic times.

Tom Abbott, CEO SOCO Sales Training

That’s a very passive approach to prospecting. It’s sitting back with a hope-and-pray approach, so what we encourage everybody to do is, rather than be reactive when it comes to filling their pipeline, to have a more proactive approach to prospecting.

How to Generate More Leads

1. Mine your Database

Mine, your database. You probably have hundreds, if not thousands, of leads in there. Hot, cold, warm, past, present, won and lost. You have a lot of opportunities and a lot of contacts in your database right now, so I would encourage you to go through them.

Now we can’t guarantee an outcome. We can’t guarantee results. You can’t guarantee that you’re going to hit the target or close X number of deals, but you absolutely can guarantee and control the number of people that you reach out to and the number of times that you reach out to them and how you do that. Here’s how:

Reach Out to Past Customers

Start with people that you’ve sold to in the past.

These would be the low-hanging fruit, the most accessible people you could sell to. You could go after them and say,

“Hey, thanks for working with us last (quarter, year)

Is this a good time to talk about X, Y, and Z for X quarter?”

Just a short and sweet email, LinkedIn message, voice message, or video message.

Win Back Past Lost Customers

Then you want to go after your past lost customers.

Now you might be asking why I would go after people who rejected me?

Well, they didn’t reject you per se, but maybe they rejected the opportunity at that time.

In sales, “no” means,

  • Not yet
  • Not sure
  • Not ready
  • Not convinced
  • Not the right time
  • Not the right alternative

Well, things change. If you were working on an opportunity last quarter or last year, for example, and it just, for whatever reason, you lost to a competitor, check in with them.

How’s it going with them? There’s a good chance that they’re not doing well with their current solution.

This is a great opportunity for you to demonstrate to them (respectfully) that they made the wrong choice by not going with you, and they have a chance to write the wrong by actually working with you.

Overall, you’ve got a good chance because they already are familiar with you and things change.

Follow-Up with Unresponsive Prospects

How often have you got a lead that says their needs are urgent and pressing, often asking things like, “Can you send me a quote by 5:00 PM today?”

Then you never hear from them again. They’re hard to reach. So you drop them because they’re unresponsive. So this is a wonderful exercise in updating your database. Send out a few emails, and see if they bounce back.

It’s good news when you reach out to an old contact, and they’re not there anymore for two reasons. 

  1. You’ll be able to find out who their successor is at that old company. So now you have a new contact, and guess what? 
  2. You can also find out where that old contact is now.

By doing this simple exercise, you can double your pipeline. 

2. Start an Outbound Campaign

Identify an Ideal Customer Profile

Not everybody’s your customer. Very few people are your customer.

You need to zone in on your ideal customer profile to increase your leads.

You need to identify your ideal customer profile, hop onto a platform like LinkedIn, and start generating lists of those people and going after them.

LinkedIn is a wonderful tool to do this on your search, or advanced search or sales Navigator can get even more specific.

To get started, look at your past records; who are the companies that we tend to sell to most frequently and, most successfully, with the highest deal size?

Use LinkedIn to Connect

But you’ve got to be clear on the ICP, the industry, the companies you want to target, and the specific roles and job titles within those companies.

Who are the people that you tend to sell to? What’s that level of seniority or that job role or function that’s an ideal fit for you?

You make that list, and then you start reaching out to those people on LinkedIn, make sure you’re connected with them first, and then start building conversations with them.

3. Master the 4 M’s of Prospecting

The four M’s of prospecting are:

Market: The first M is you’ve gotta be clear about the market. Who am I going after?

Medium: Then you’ve gotta look at the medium. So what’s the medium or the platform that I’m gonna use to reach them?

Message: Then you’ve got the message. Okay, so how, what do I actually say in a way that gets them interested, curious, and prompts them to respond to you? Because you can get the first two right and mess up on the messaging, you’ll never hear back.

Momentum: the fourth M is momentum. What’s the momentum, the cadence, the sequence, the timing, the pattern, the flow of the communication. How often and how long do you try to reach out to these people before you drop them and move on to other opportunities?

Discover a New Way to Generate Leads

Like blood to a body, a full sales pipeline is necessary for your business to survive. The thing is, prospecting has evolved, and old methods just aren’t effective anymore. 

In our Prospecting Power training we teach participants how to ensure your customer acquisition strategy is creative, persistent and, most importantly, generates real results.

Prospecting Power Course Booklet
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