More people than ever are calling me for advice on how to spend their days. Frankly, pre-COVID-19, I would have been put off by this question. A salesperson asking how to spend their days? I would have thought they could have figured that out. But things are not normal right now, and I understand that people—especially salespeople—need a new perspective on time management.
Who would have thought almost eight months in, we would still be struggling with the limitations of a shutdown caused by a pandemic? Certainly, we all thought that we would have been out of this situation by now. But the numbers are rising again, and we are back where we were months ago. It is evident that we are going to be stuck indoors for another while with no definite end in sight.
Salespeople are tired, at the end of their rope, and wondering what they can do to kick-start things again. But please don’t despair or panic. Keep your chin up, take a clear-eyed look at where we are today, and together, we’ll figure out what you can do to get things moving again—all within the parameters of the continued shutdown.
It is what it is, as they say. These are the cards we have been dealt, and the winner will be the person who plays these cards in the best way possible. The good news is that we all have the same limitations, so we are all starting at the same point. Review what you have been doing the past eight months and decide what has worked and what hasn’t. Pace yourself. Make a list of the things that you must get done today, this week, or this month. Plan your days carefully because they are precious.
Look at the bright side: Never before have you had this much freedom, autonomy, and time to get things done. But the thing is to make sure you’re doing what matters—all those things that you have never had the time to do right, if at all. This is the time for you to become the best salesperson you can be.
Here are seven lead generation steps you can take today that will make you a great salesperson tomorrow. Take this step-by-step approach.
Now is the time to learn to prospect. It’s simple when you have the time and resources we have today. First, develop your ideal customer profile based on the type of company, technology, service demands, and markets that best suit your company. Then, use this ideal customer profile as a template in your search for the right prospects.
By using tools like LinkedIn and Google, you can do an educated search to find the potential companies that fit your ideal customer profile. You can even look at job sites like Indeed.com and Monster.com to see which companies are hiring. Do the math if you see a lot of need for certain kinds of people in specific types of companies. You can also see which companies are hot and growing. Those are the companies to target.
3. Generate Leads
Now that you have your list of target customers, the next step is to turn them into viable leads. Once again, use LinkedIn, Google, and other sites to find the key people at those companies—the right people for you to approach about doing business. You are now sitting on their threshold.
4. Make Contact
The best way to approach these leads is by sending them technical newsletters using software like Constant Contact. By using this type of software program, you can approach 20–2,000 prospects at one time. The key to a successful newsletter is creating content that is valuable and pertinent to your target customers’ needs. Content that will make the recipients of your newsletters not only sit up and take notice but also look forward to getting your next newsletter.
5. Follow Up Consistently
Don’t stop at one newsletter. Keep going. Send one each month. Grow your email list so that you are always adding more to your receivers list. After you have sent three or four newsletters, check out who is opening them (yes, you can do that with Constant Contact). Start defining which potential customers who are receiving your newsletters are interested in which of your offerings. For example, there will be a group that opens everything you write about your flex and rigid-flex capabilities. Another group might open everything you write about HDI microvias. These groups are what we call your “tribes.”
6. Sell to Tribes
Separate your initial list into tribes and start sending them newsletters with content based on their specific interest. You now have an audience of companies focused on exactly what you sell. Now is the time to start, including call-to-actions and specific offers that they cannot refuse.
7. Contact Them Directly
You know who they are, and more importantly, they know you are, and they are very interested in your products and services. Now is the right time to strike. Either call them or send them a personal email. Your prospect is ready to give you that first golden opportunity.
What you have done is something that matters. You spent time that you would have never had in the pre-COVID-19 days, and you spent it productively. You now have a list of qualified leads. Companies and people in those companies know who you are and what you do. It’s time to do some business.
It’s only common sense.
Dan Beaulieu is president of D.B. Management Group.