Featured Article12 Questions to Get a Jump Start on the Year Ahead
Each December, like many other people, I reflect on the year past and the year ahead. I focus this reflection with 12 questions. I note highlights and lessons learned; how I have evolved; the memorable moments and the various goals I’ve advanced towards – and more. Often, I’m surprised by how much I achieved. As we trudge through our busy lives we are often thinking about all we have not done or achieved. So I invite you to use these questions to take stock and consider your intentions and aspirations for 2013.
The Year Past:
1) What went well?
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Building a Pipeline of Qualified Prospects
|Productivity - Prospecting|
|Written by Kendra Lee|
In sales, the quality of your prospects is everything. Qualified prospects can help to make your job easier, and will make all the difference in the world when it comes to effective time management. It's not always easy to gain qualified prospects, especially for those who aren't comfortable (understandably) with cold-calling.
Cold-calling is not only uncomfortable – more often than not, it turns out to be a waste of time if prospects aren’t familiar with you or your company. Instead of spending precious time making fruitless calls, you might want to focus on efforts that will grab attention before you place that first call.
There are three basic ways that you can attract prospects without even having to resort to cold calling. I call them the Attraction Trifecta. Combined, they create a powerful approach to building a pipeline of qualified prospects who really want to talk with you.
1. Personal Attraction
The first thing you'll want to do is choose one or two personal attraction strategies that work for you. Personal attraction strategies are those activities where the prospect feels like you’ve reached out to make a personal connection. You may be targeting a group of prospects with exactly the same email or letter, but it doesn’t feel that way to them. As they read what you’ve written or listen to a message you’ve left, instead it feels personal to them.
Calling is one of the personal attraction strategies, but not as cold calling. It’s pursuit calling, used only after you’ve gained prospects’ attention.
Your lead generation strategy should include at least one personal attraction strategy to connect with prospects individually. Often sales people feel like cold calling is the only way to get new leads, but it doesn’t have to be that way anymore.
You may we wondering if you can stop cold calling and use different attraction strategies. I’ve put together a quick Stop Cold Calling Quiz so you can determine if it’s an option for you.
2. Digital Attraction
The digital world is becoming more and more important in prospecting as each day goes by. Sellers who have thus far neglected to embrace digital prospecting techniques should make this the year to change. You could have all the talent in the world, but you'll be hard-pressed to meet your sales goals if you ignore the importance of leveraging the internet in your prospecting.
Social media, blogging and e-newsletters are just a few digital marketing tools that can help to set you apart from the competition. If your digital efforts are properly focused and incorporated into your prospecting campaign, you can expect sustained success from your prospecting in the coming years – not just over the next few months.
3. Collaborative Attraction
A lot of sellers believe that they can handle most aspects of prospecting without any assistance. Collaboration, though, can be very effective when used properly and is often necessary with some of the more involved but productive attraction strategies.
You can utilize online and local events, offline PR and other collaborative tools combined with your personal and collaborative attraction strategies to grow a pipeline of qualified prospects. Often the prospects you uncover with collaborative attraction strategies are even more qualified than those from digital or personal attraction strategies. That’s because prospects who respond to collaborative attraction strategies have generally spent more time getting to know your company.
While you might have reservations about working with others to gain prospects, you have little to lose in the end if you put the right amount of thought into the process. The most successful sellers work with others, leveraging each other’s resources so they’ll all be successful at reaching their goals.
Cold-calling will get you leads over time, but not as effectively as if you are able to warm up the prospect before you ever place that first call. If you can learn how to incorporate personal, digital and collaborative attraction strategies into your prospecting, you'll never have to make another cold call again.
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