How do you find new sales prospects? Here are 3 simple strategies?

Today we suffer from too much information

The average office worker now sends and receives an average of 121 e-mails every day (source: Radicati 2015). You would think that we were better informed than ever before. In fact, the opposite is true.

These days we suffer from overwhelm. So much new information reaches us that it can be hard to take any of it in. That is bad news for sales people. It causes a major problem if you are looking for new business.

Do your prospects know you exist?

In “the good old days” we received far less information. As a buyer, I might receive a couple of sales letters a day. That meant that there was a fairly good chance of me taking a brief glance at these letters. I would probably remember the name of the company that approached me. I’d be more likely to take a follow up call.

Today, I just delete the endless sales e-mails without reading them. Voicemails often suffer the same fate. If you want to make an impact on your prospect, you have to communicate differently.

It’s time to turn traditional sales thinking on its head

It shouldn't be this hard to find new prospects!

It shouldn’t be this hard to find new prospects!

Traditionally, sales people have tried to start new conversations with prospects. They have used e-mail, phone and letter to try and gain the interest of the buyer. However, there are plenty of places where a buyer is already interested an having conversations.

It’s time for sales people to go to the places where the prospect is already engaged and asking questions. Here are three places where this is happening.

Events

Every year there are long discussions in our industry about which trade shows printers should attend. Is there enough of interest at? Are big, international shows like Drupa worth the time and expense? But there is one thing missing from these discussions.

People rarely discuss the shows where prospects attend. These have huge opportunities for printing companies. Few printers attend them, so you have a clear field. One of my clients recently gained three worthwhile new clients through attending an event that focused on fundraising organisations.

There’s also a cheaper alternative.

The trade press

The trade press is often crying out for interesting content. Over my career, countless print industry magazines that want me to write for them have approached me. The same applies to your target market. Trade publications and websites that focus on your customers will often be interested in content that helps their readers.

If you can provide an article that shows people how to use print to create great marketing, many publications may well be interested in running it. You will get a good bit of exposure. This will lead to sales enquiries.

If all this sounds a bit too formal, there is another option.

Forums

Buyers are discussing issues in many places on the Internet. The easiest place to find these discussions is on LinkedIn special interest groups. There are some very niche interest groups. There is sure to be at least one or two focusing on your ideal prospect.

Aren’t data lists a much easier way of getting hold of new prospects?

An entry on a spreadsheet is no guarantee that someone is interested in talking to you. Remember, the three strategies I have just outlined are ways to find prospects that want to engage in dialogue.

Think of the amount of time it takes to have a truly effective sales call with a new prospect. Cold calling is getting harder and harder. It is time to look at new prospect acquisition strategies.

Here’s a quick action point if you want to start a dialogue with engaged prospects

Challenge yourself. Make a target that you will try becoming involved in a forum, a trade publication or an event. Be prepared to spend some time becoming known, wherever you decide to become involved. Provide useful information, not a sales pitch.

You will find that people become interested in you and your services. You’ll stop hearing people claim they didn’t know you existed.
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