In many ways, sales is a game of chance, and many people struggle understanding how to generate leads. Figuring out how to generate leads can be a tough task, but it doesn’t have to be if you create your luck and follow proven best practices. In reality, there’s more skill than luck in sales, especially when you follow proven lead generation strategies. So stop playing roulette with your sales. Here are 10 ideas for how to generate leads that will help you hit your target.

Here’s how to generate leads for your business.

1. Ask for referrals.

2. Conduct regular customer care calls.

3. Lead nurturing: Keep in contact with past referrals.

4. Be a trusted source of information.

5. Use the internet to highlight your expertise.

6. Network online.

7. Be social.

8. Do some good, old-fashioned networking.

9. Be creative.

10. Don’t give up.

1. Ask for referrals.

Happy customers are often happy to give referrals. Let your customers do the talking for you by asking for referrals and empowering them to gather their own leads. Nothing boosts your company’s credibility more than a happy customer telling their friends and family about you. Referrals are the best lead generation strategy out there. When closing a sale, be sure to ask your buyer if they know anyone who might appreciate your product or service. This takes very little time and may be a way to quickly generate leads.

2. Conduct regular customer care calls.

Don’t drop your customer after the sale. A happy customer who has a continued relationship with you and your company is likely to buy again.  It shouldn’t come as a surprise that it’s cheaper to sell to an existing customer than to acquire a new lead. Follow-up calls are a strategic way to nurture customer relations and a great time to ask for referrals. Sometimes the most quality leads you have are actually your current customers.

Donna Fluss explained in CRM Magazine that companies who engage with their customers across channels see increased success and engagement. ”Proactive customer care has become an essential component of a comprehensive omni-channel customer engagement strategy that builds brand loyalty and high levels of customer satisfaction,” Fluss said.

3. Lead nurturing: Keep in contact with past referrals.

Not every lead will be ready to convert at that point in time but that doesn’t mean such leads should be ignored. Lead nurturing is especially critical in the lead generation process when prospects are undecided about a purchase. Send them helpful information based on their interests. Automate the lead nurturing process, and set up reminders and a schedule of when to check in with them. You want to be top of mind when they are ready to make a decision.

4. Be a trusted source of information.

Go the extra mile and become a product expert in your respective field. Develop into an advisor that customers can trust rather than just an ordinary salesperson. Customers have a vast amount of knowledge at their fingertips, they do most of their research before ever talking to a sales representative. A way to bridge this gap is by speaking at trade shows or conferences as a way to become a trusted source of information.

Remember, the customer holds the purchasing power. However, as a sales professional, you can empower customers with information that can help them make the best decision. (With luck, that decision is you.)

5. Use the internet to highlight your expertise.

In this digital age, it has become easy and essential to showcase your expertise. There is no better way to do so than online. Start building up a web presence to help you reach any potential clients that might be in need of your extensive knowledge regarding products or industries. One way to start gaining views is by using targeted content optimization for search engines to increase your site’s rankings.

Not a search optimization guru? Do not fret. To quickly generate leads through the internet, it helps to continually add helpful and relevant content to your site. In doing so, you will assist your potential customers in their research process. To capture these leads quickly, use form entries with calls to action (CTAs) throughout your site.

Most customers begin researching their purchase long before they ever talk with a company representative. David Edelman and Marc Singer described the customer-led sales experience as a “journey” and emphasize the importance of being part of that journey. By creating customized, relevant, interactive, and engaging content for each step of the research process, products and companies can be a guide to customers before they are ready to engage with sales staff. “Today, winning brands owe their success not just to the quality and value of what they sell, but to the superiority of the journeys they create,” Edelman and Singer have argued.  Paying attention to the customer’s journey creates a significant opportunity for online lead generation.

6. Network online.

It’s easy to see that social platforms have gained dominance as they are increasingly the preferred way that many people interact.  It’s no wonder the professional networking site LinkedIn is the main site that professionals use as a way to stay in contact with people they you meet. However, crafting the right approach is just as critical as cultivating your connections. Don’t send generic invites when requesting to connect. Instead, send a personalized message that reminds them of who you are, and how and where you met. For example:

  • Hi [enter in name], We met [date] at [event]. I really enjoyed talking to you about [topic] and we talked about getting together for coffee to discuss [project]. I see that you [talk about latest post/like/update/etc on site] and I would love to reconnect. Are you available to meet up anytime soon? Let me know.

Traffic from LinkedIn seems to produce the highest visitor-to-lead conversion rate across social media platforms, often higher than Twitter and Facebook. When looking for ways to generate new quality leads, it might pay to be on LinkedIn.

7. Be Social.

Once you’ve connected with potential customers, nurture those connections. Don’t limit yourself to one social site — expand on to relevant ones whenever possible. Social selling expert Jill Rowley counsels people to read what your prospective clients read and then tweet or post about it. Regularly posting valuable content increases your ability to be a trusted source for customers as they research their purchase.

Given LinkedIn’s tremendous value in converting leads, publishing articles or sponsoring updates on the site is an important strategy. Adding advice and expertise can gain you a following and help to put you and your company in the spotlight as a trusted expert in your field. You might include a call-to-action button on social media or blog pieces to quickly generate a pool of interested people and to drive leads.

8. Do some good, old-fashioned networking.

Tried and true networking is another key to sales lead generation. It may not be surprising to discover that many people prefer in-person meetings at conferences because it gives them the opportunity to read body language and facial expressions. Overall, aim to be where your prospective clients are. Join organizations that your potential clients will most likely join, and also make an effort to attend the conferences they attend. This puts you in the right place to interact with a large pool of prospects.

Remember, networking isn’t all about you. It is easier to listen carefully to others as they speak about their challenges in business. Chances are, you will find opportunities to offer solutions, whether it’s your own product or service, or a product or service from one of your contacts. Helping associates even when it means not closing a sale is not only friendly, it paves the way for referrals. As mentioned earlier, strive to be an advisor that is committed to helping customers find the right solution whenever possible.

9. Be creative.

Successful lead generation is about referrals, in-person, and online networking, but a little creativity goes a long way in reaching potential customers. For example, David Morgan and Alex Chavez, Co-Founders of Security Dealer Marketing, helped a local security company sponsor a public service day and provided free high-resolution photos of families with Santa. The event generated 400 leads, 10 sales, local brand exposure, and lots of fun Christmas pictures.

To generate new leads, think of new ways to interact with potential customers. Sponsoring a charity drive or a networking or educational luncheon might be a way to interact with your community while also generating leads.

10. Don’t give up.

Successful companies know sales leads come from a variety of sources. Strategies for how to generate sales leads include asking for referrals, conducting customer care calls, and nurturing leads. Being a trusted source of information on the internet and social media, as well as through online networking, are also lead generation strategies. In-person networking works, too.

The most important lesson in lead generation strategies, however, is perseverance. Very few customers are mad on the first contact. Part of grasping how to generate leads is understanding and practicing lead nurturing.

By expanding your current strategies for generating leads and attending to those leads through the sales process, you’ll find greater accuracy and skill in hitting your sales targets.

 

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