The key to success in prospecting for new clients in a business-to-business environment is patience. There are no quick and easy approaches, there are no silver bullets that will guarantee a whole bunch of new clients — despite what the list companies and trade show producers promise you.
There is a surefire approach that will take ice cold leads to warmed up prospects to hot opportunities and ultimately to new clients, but it only works if you do. The system requires a consistent application of time every week in order to deliver the results you are looking for.
There are five major ways to enter new leads into your New Business Development System. Regardless of which combination of these approaches you use, patience is the key. Once you put the suspect into your system, continue to work the system religiously. At about week 10, you will begin to see results: first appointments with new client opportunities.
The five ways to generate new leads are:
Whether the new leads were generated as a result of exhibiting at a trade show or going door-to-door in an office park or meeting people at a chamber of commerce dinner, you never expect them to buy right now. Your goal is to determine if they are the right person to talk to and if they are a likely candidate for your product or service. If they are not a good candidate, you say “thank you” and move on to the next trade show attendee, next door or chamber member.
If they are a likely candidate, suggest a meeting to discuss their needs, knowing full well that their most likely response is “send me some information”. Bingo! Now you enter them into your system. While the prospect thinks they have put you off, you have just entered another opportunity into your hopper.
When you get back to your office, you send them your first contact letter, including your company information. The rest of your system includes a series of carefully crafted correspondence including letters, email and quick phone contacts.
Essentially, there are a few different responses to your initial request for a meeting, and each prospect has a different correspondence schedule based on their initial response.
Regardless of your prospect’s correspondence track, at the appointed time, you deliver the all important second call. In this call, you bypass the Didn’t Get It/Didn’t Read It syndrome by driving to the mini-qualifier: a few handpicked questions that both determine client need and generate interest in your offering. At the conclusion of the miniqualifier, you suggest a meeting. More likely than not, you will get your appointment.
Don’t expect every initial lead to turn into an appointment. If you regularly add more into the top of your system, follow the correspondence track and effectively deliver the second call with a mini-qualifier, you will have pretty solid success. The key is not to expect prospects to give you meetings right off the bat. Rather, place likely candidates into your system, patiently work your process, and watch as the system delivers the results you were looking for.