Take the time to review your CRM, especially entries from a past lead list that didn't quite work out before. Old leads can still hold opportunity, especially during times like this when salespeople need to get creative about outreach. “…It’s time to take a look at your backlog and get a fresh set of eyes on some of your older leads,” writes Cassie Dodd in an article for LevelEleven. “…Take the time to do some Spring cleaning of your prospect list to uncover old opportunities to breathe new life into.”
Review your CRM to find opportunity in a past lead list
When looking through your CRM, narrow down your past lead list to make sure each prospect truly fits your ideal customer profile. It's not enough for a prospect to be in the industry that you generally sell to. You need to identify whether they have a potential need that your product or service can fill. Too often, reps consider any and all prospects who could use their product, casting too wide a net. Not every lead is going to be valuable or have the potential to pan out. Use this first step to make sure that only truly valuable old leads are left to re-engage.
Reaching out to contacts on a past lead list should be done with clear empathy. “Empathy helps a seller put themselves into their prospect’s shoes, fostering a relationship of mutual understanding and respect for each other’s needs,” Dodd explains. “In these unprecedented times, it’s important to be a human before a salesperson.” So, you should use that first outreach to ask how the prospect is doing and how they’re feeling. And be genuine. Establishing a relationship based on empathy will position you to learn the deep insights needed to truly understand the prospect, which in turn guides your strategy with any old leads you pursue.
Don't go straight into a sales pitch
Dodd reminds sellers who are reviewing their prospect lists that immediately launching into a pitch is not the way to go, especially with old leads. Re-engaging with these prospects will be more successful if you seek permission before pitching to them again. “Explaining yourself and the reason you called is an effective way to hook a prospect’s attention and get permission to pitch,” she explains. If you automatically jump into selling mode, you'll come across as a sales rep who is only trying to make money in a time of economic unrest. No one wants to work with a vulture like that. When times are tough, we need to care for one another and work to make sure both parties succeed when making a sale. If you don't have empathy, you don't stand a chance of making a sale, especially during a pandemic.
Along with the other tips, these best practices can help you re-engage with old prospects. And yes, some of those prospects may turn out to be duds, but likely, you’ll reignite some fantastic opportunities as well. It's always worth taking the time to review your prospect lists to find the hidden gems you may have missed.