Cold leads present a risk for any sales professional, but they are an essential part of an overall strategy. If your sales have stalled due to seasonal slowdowns or a lack of repeat business, cold leads can help you get back in the game. Avoid wasting your time by creating a targeted and efficient strategy that weeds out unacceptable leads and identifies qualified prospects quickly.
Before you get in touch with any of your cold leads, take time to pre-qualify them. First, use your database to eliminate leads who are obviously unsuitable. Then, take it a step further by ensuring the remaining leads need your products or services and have room in their budget. Finally, examine each lead's role in the company by visiting the website or making a quick phone call. Does the person have the ability to make purchasing decisions? If not, move on to another lead, or find the name of the decision-maker at the same company.
Develop a Clear Message
Chances are, you have a limited amount of time with each of your cold leads. Make the most of those valuable minutes by preparing a message in advance. Determine what is most important to each person — budget or delivery time, for example — and tailor your pitch accordingly. By personalizing the communication, you can create an instant connection. Edit the message to suit the medium; an email should get right to the point, while a phone conversation might start with a more personal touch.
Focus on the Customer
During a cold call, even the most experienced sales professional can get wrapped up in describing the company's products or services. A better strategy is to focus on the customer. Each point of the conversation should tie directly to the customer's needs, wants, budget and problems. If you're not sure, ask a few questions to help you understand the company's situation and specific needs. A small amount of information is invaluable when you're tailoring a pitch on the fly.
Use Multiple Channels
The response rate can be low after initial contacts with cold leads. Reinforce your message gently through multiple channels, including social media. After the first email or phone call, follow the person on LinkedIn, and invite them to like your company's Facebook page. Tweet the contact with a relevant article, or email a link that might help them with a current problem. By making your presence known without being overbearing, you can increase brand recognition and boost the chances of a second contact.
With the right sales strategy, cold leads can bring in valuable new business to get you out of a slump. By taking time to qualify your leads and develop a strong communication strategy, you can use your time efficiently.
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