One of the challenges that sales people are constantly faced with is finding a steady stream of incoming potential contacts to talk with. On the Manta Q&A board, members are always asking questions about new ways to find leads, getting email addresses so that they can perform email blasts, buying the right kinds of names from list brokers, and finding the right “get prospects quick” schemes to try.
However, most of time, the problem of finding new prospects lies in our own behavior. We get stuck in a rut and fall back on comfortable behavior. We get used to doing what works, and we continue doing it until it becomes a habit.
In short, we fall prey to our own success.
In order to have a breakthrough and get different results, we need to change things up. We need to break out of our established behavior and try something new, even if it doesn’t immediately provide the results that we are looking for.
Sometimes, we need some type of idea generator to get us thinking in a new and different direction.
Below, you’ll find 30 ideas to get you started in a different direction. Use these ideas to stimulate your thinking when you are prospecting, cold calling, and looking for places to find new potential contacts for your services:
- Call from the road—if you see a billboard or a phone number on a truck, call and ask for more information about its product or service.
- Give a talk or presentation at a networking event, a conference, local service organization, or industry meeting. Have plenty of business cards on hand for distribution, and raffle off a prize at the end of the event to collect business cards from the audience.
- Read the paper and look for promotions, press releases, new product announcements, awards, etc. Write congratulatory notes or send a relevant current article with a personal note.
- Establish yourself as a local or online resource.
- Create a business card that stands out from the rest.
- Attend and participate in local seminars, workshops, and networking events. In today’s environment, there are quite a few online networking events that offer participants the opportunity to share information in joint chat rooms.
- Develop interesting, unique, and enjoyable questions to stimulate conversation and qualify prospects.
- Develop compelling cold calling scripts to introduce yourself, get an appointment, leave a voice mail, overcome objections, get through the gatekeeper, ask for a referral, etc.
- Use creative and dramatic follow-up techniques.
- Change your cold calling times and call during off hours.
- Ask champion customers to take you to one of their networking events and introduce you.
- Instead of asking for a referral and calling the referral yourself, have the customer make the introduction.
- Have a customer set up a conference call or meeting that involves him or her and supports your product or service.
- When getting a referral, ask your customer for details on how to make a favorable impact on the referral.
- Check out registration lists or name badges at networking events and target those you want to meet. Ask the event coordinator to introduce you.
- Revisit old prospects, old customers and accounts to see if needs have changed.
- Introduce yourself to VIPs and speakers at networking events or conferences. Tell them what you know about them, give them a sincere compliment, and tie in the value of your product or service to something you heard them say.
- Treat event sponsors and exhibitors as prospects.
- Arrive early and stay late to networking events, seminars, workshops, etc.
- Offer to help with a prospects next event or meeting.
- Offer to exhibit at a trade show or sponsor an event at a prospect’s convention or conference.
- Ask for advice on an important issue or decision.
- Ask the prospect what his or her ideal customer, vendor, or employee is and then refer prospects, vendors, or job candidates.
- Invite the prospect to lunch.
- Give your prospect a referral.
- Volunteer for a committee or board.
- Suggest delivering a joint seminar.
- Offer to co-author a magazine article.
- Use seasonal and holiday promotions.
- Offer special discounts with an expiration date.