In some organizations, sales reps wear many hats. They’re responsible for finding leads, developing them and closing the deal. If this sounds like your situation, then you know the first step in the process is networking and building a contact list.
Define Your Ideal Customer
To be efficient with your time, think about your ideal client as your first step. If you’re selling home health care, your company may be delivering services to seniors. But, your client may actually be the adult son or daughter who is arranging for home care. Similarly, you may be selling tutoring services. Your client will be the parents. Make sure you develop a good profile, or persona, of your ideal client.
Learn How to Find Your Customer
Not every consumer watches the TV evening news. If you advertise your services on that format, you could be missing the mark. When you’re selling a consumer service, figure out where the target audience congregates. This approach involves from out-of-the-box thinking. For example, what if you participated as a vendor in an educational session during an online or in-person forum?
Another option, as suggested by Julie Bawden-Davis in a Trends and Insights column for American Express, is to develop relationships with other professionals. If you depend on physicians or educators or another group to refer clients to you, it’s time to ramp up your networking efforts. Identify a key individual or two and invite them to coffee. Explain how your service works, offer references and ask for their business. Ask what you need to do to get them to refer clients to you.
Become the Go-To Person
It’s not enough to tell people about your expertise. When you’re seeking leads and new clients, they want to know they’ll be doing business with an expert in the field. Don’t make them wonder about you. Take the initiative to show you’re a thought leader. Publish articles on social media channels like LinkedIn. Appear as an expert on panels at conferences. Make sure your website contains the kind of content that prospective clients are looking for.
Prospecting for new clients takes time and energy. If you develop a good plan and stick to it, you’ll find leads and be able to nurture them into paying clients.