For anyone involved in sales, it is an age old question -- how to find new sales leads. Thanks to the Internet, there are a variety of tools available to help foster opportunities. However, it is always important to not forget about the traditional sales tools that have shown consistent results.
High-Tech Sales OpportunitiesThe Internet provides seemingly endless opportunities to foster new contacts, and ultimately sales prospects. Professional social media sites, such as LinkedIn offer a way to make contacts with different companies as well as individuals. As of December 31, 2013, there were over 200 million registered users throughout the world [source] with 64 percent of users outside the United States. Those statistics equate to a multitude of sales opportunities. There are, however, some important keys to remember when utilizing LinkedIn.
First, make sure your profile is complete. It should include more than just your name and email, but your professional successes, specialties, and what you bring to the table. Remember, making sales is about solving your customer's problem. Make sure your profile answers that question. Look to join different discussion groups related to your professional area and be an active participant. As other members see your commentary on a regular basis, you will become a trusted source for information. Also, make sure to go for quality contacts, not quantity. Make every connection count.
Another online opportunity for developing sales opportunities, specifically in the northeast, is through the new eBook from Corporate Affiliations, powered by LexisNexis. This eBook offers information on different companies in the northeast so you can work to be better prepared when heading out on sales calls. It is incredibly important when going on any sales calls to know about the company, and if possible, the individual you are meeting with. This will show you took the time to be prepared to discuss the company's specific business challenges and how you can help overcome them.
Don't Forget About the Face-To-Face MeetingWhile there are plenty of high-tech ways to develop new sales prospects, it is important to not forget about the face-to-face meeting. Attend local networking groups as a way to meet new people and introduce yourself to a potentially new audience. If your sales prospects are focused on small or entrepreneurial-sized businesses, consider joining local chambers of commerce. Many offer monthly networking events as well as opportunities to introduce yourself to the organization membership by giving lectures and presentations on your specialty.
Don't forget to regularly "check in" with your existing and previous sales customers. It is important to make sure they don't feel that you made the sale and moved on. Make sure you keep those contacts strong. One of the most powerful ways to gain new customers is by keeping those customers happy. If it is ethical and fits your business model, ask one or two of those very satisfied customers if you can use them as references. Hearing about a success story can go a long way to earning the trust of a potential customer.