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New leads or old leads – It doesn’t matter when it comes to business because each and every one of them should be treated as an exciting opportunity.  Any of them could hold the key to boosting your business and becoming your most treasured and loyal customer.  A good salesman knows that ‘no’ means ‘not now’ and will not be disheartened after hearing it for the tenth time in a day.  They will see it as a challenge and will set a reminder to try again in the future.

Research – This must always be first and foremost when prospecting.  You need to have done your research and have knowledge about the company, who they are, what they do, what direction they’re heading in and what problems they may face.  This provides you with a great way to connect to the customer and make them feel that they are already a priority.  Being able to approach them and suggest solutions that they hadn’t thought of will mean that they are keen to listen to you as much as you are to them.

Target – You should know who’s roles are where within the company and who you are trying to contact.  Calling and asking for a manager means that you don’t come across as efficient.  Calling and asking for ‘Mr Smith’ is a lot more direct and assertive.  Quick tip – Ask for their name without all the babble of ‘Could I please speak to’.  Be direct, be assertive, be in control.  After all, if you’re going to do business with someone you would want them to possess all of these characteristics wouldn’t you! Always remember to say please and thank you as well.  Politeness goes a long way.

Relationship – Building trust and a loyal relationship takes time of which you must allow plenty of.  Pushing and pestering a customer into keeping it on your schedule will only drive them away and make them avoid you.  This is when you can say that that lead has well and truly frozen over, for you at least.  Being able to provide them with updates about offers they might be interested in, webinars, ebooks or even being available for them to ask you questions when they arise will help you build the relationship.  When you are talking to them, make a note of any special occasions or upcoming events that they might have mentioned.  If you haven’t heard from them in a while and that occasion comes around it provides you with the perfect opportunity to wish them well, putting yourself back at the front of their mind, without actually discussing the business at hand.

Trust – Building trust is a very important part of the process because the customer wants to know that their business would be safe in your hands.  I find that the easiest way to do this is to under promise and over deliver.  If you know a proposal will take you 2 days, tell them it will take you 3 and then when you get it to them a day early they will feel impressed and as though you made them a top priority.  Making the customers see you as efficient, hard working and determined will allow them to have confidence in you and what you can achieve.

Follow up – Always arrange a follow up whether it is in 2 weeks or 6 months.  Having that date in the calendar will mean that you act promptly on anything you discussed and will also mean that you can bring any new information to them before they find it out for themselves.  This can make you look like a great asset, reliable and extremely effective at what you do.   You will quite often find that if you haven’t already arranged a follow up, your calendar will soon fill up with new prospects leaving your hard work to go to waste.  Do be as prepared for your follow up as you were for your initial meeting because the customer doesn’t want to feel that you are slacking or already have your feet under the table.  They want to feel that they are still in control of the situation and that you are up to date with their business and business needs.

Simple steps to effectively keeping ALL of your leads HOT!

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