Marketing March 28, 2013 Last updated September 18th, 2018 826 Reads share

3 Ways To Generate Completely New Sales Leads

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If you build it, they will come. That was a strategy that worked well for Kevin Costner in ‘A Field of Dreams’ but it doesn’t tend to work so well in the real world. If you have a business and you need to build a new sales pipeline there are number of ways that you can generate completely new leads.

# 1. Networking

Business networking can give you the opportunity to meet lots of new potential clients but only if you do it right. Many people make the mistake of only going to networking events aimed at their own industry. You should find events that attract your potential clients rather than your industry peers. If you hope to sell into the retail industry, maybe you should become a regular attendee at retail industry events.

To network successfully at these events you’ll need to have a plan of action. Before attending a networking event find out which companies will be attending the event. Event organisers are usually willing to provide a list of confirmed attendees. Choose a few companies from the list that you plan to make contact with at the event. Take some time to learn as much as you can about these companies and how you can help them to meet their goals.  Prepare a compelling pitch to deliver for each of those companies.

At the event, consider asking the people that you give your business cards to if they are on LinkedIn. If it’s worth giving them a card then it’s probably worth keeping in touch with them on LinkedIn too.

# 2. Email

When a prospect receives an email it typically takes them less than 3 seconds to decide whether to read or delete it. In an instant they ask themselves four questions before making the delete or read decision:

  1. How relevant is the message?
  2. Is the subject a priority right now?
  3. Can the sender add value?
  4. Is the email simple and quick to read?

Be relevant – to have your email read you must know your prospects priorities and you need to find a good reason to make contact with them. Read your target market’s industry magazines and scan through the recent blog posts of your prospects, follow your prospects and their industry associations on Twitter and LinkedIn, subscribe to your prospect’s newsletters and RSS feeds. Keep your ear to the ground and you will find plenty of news updates that will give you the opportunity to send a relevant email.

Subject line – your subject line should immediately show that your message is relevant and that the message relates to one of the prospect’s priorities. In the case of a company planning to release a new line of garden furniture  your email subject may read: Your plans to release a new line of garden furniture. This subject line keeps the spot light where it needs to be, on the prospect. This email subject line will grab the prospect’s attention because it addresses a priority and is highly relevant.

First 2 sentences – once the email has been opened the prospect briefly scans the message to double check that the message is relevant, to check if the sender can add value and to see if the email simple enough to read quickly. The first 2 sentences are critical to maintaining the prospects interest. Use these 2 first sentences to once again link to the prospects business/industry news and then deliver a relevant message about your business but avoid using sales patter and remember that the spot light has to stay on the prospect at all times.

For example:

This morning I read your most recent blog post in which you discuss your plans to release a new line of  garden furniture.
In the past 6 months we have helped 3 garden product manufacturers to increase sales by an average of 15% by increasing awareness of their products.

To close your email you should include a direct call to action. That will either result in an appointment or put the idea of an appointment into your prospects mind.

Would you like to know how we achieved this? Are you available to meet to discuss this on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week?

Regards

The email is short, simple and demonstrates that you can add value for the prospect. Your respectful, considered approach to email prospecting will generate positive sentiment for your business and set the seed for future sales.

Our full sample email:

Subject: Your plans to release a new line of garden furniture

Dear John,

This morning I read your most recent blog post in which you discuss your plans to release a new line of  garden furniture.

In the past 6 months we have helped 3 garden product manufacturers to increase sales by an average of 15% by increasing awareness of their products.

Would you like to know how we achieved this? Are you available to meet to discuss this on Tuesday or Wednesday of next week?

Regards

The key to success with this method is to think of it as a programme of communications rather than a single effort. If you do not initially gain an appointment with your first email you can still follow up by calling the prospect with reference to your email.

# 3. Public relations and press releases

PR is a good way to build awareness of your business quickly. Editorial coverage can also help to build your credibility in the minds of your prospects, especially if you can produce a story to demonstrate your subject matter expertise, the quality of your product or your capability as a supplier. It’s important to remember that your audience is unlikely to be deeply interested in your business and they won’t read your press release unless it is of interest to them.

Your press release is far more likely to be published if it relevant to current news events for example the recent horse meat scandal provided a good PR opportunity for those in the areas of health and nutrition. I didn’t see any articles on the nutritional difference between horse meat and beef but I would have read one if I did. If you keep up to date with current events you will find lots of opportunities to frame a message in the context of current news.

Whatever story you choose to put out there, your message should let the reader know, what services or products you offer, the benefits that they will experience if they choose you and how to contact you. Adding a high quality and interesting image to your press releases will also improve the likelihood that your article will be chosen for publication and the likelihood that your article will be noticed once published.

Online press releases can also contribute significantly to your SEO efforts. If your press release will be distributed online you should include a link to you website and try to add keywords to your article to help increase the traffic to your press release and subsequently to your website.

Featuring in an online or offline publication is an endorsement of your business. Be proud of these endorsements; share a link to the online publication or a scanned copy of the offline publication on the news section of your website and via your social media accounts.
Sales can be thought of as numbers game. If you engage in more activities you will reap greater rewards.

What ideas do you have to generate new sales leads?

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Shane Burroughs

Shane Burroughs

I'm working in business to business marketing but I find all areas of marketing equally interesting. I'm well versed in both graphic design and web development. I'm keen runner and I'll be heading to Cork on June 3rd for the marathon.

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