In this article, 34 of the industry's most experienced sales and business experts share their top tips on how to secure hot leads and appointments with qualified buyers who want your products or services.
It's time to get ahead of your competitors or fellow sales professionals by employing some of the surprising tactics mentioned below!
We all know that cold calling and emailing can work however, it's usually tiresome, frustrating for both the sales person and the recipient and above all else it's simply an inefficient use of your time.
Instead, a much more effective use of your time should be spent seeking out quality leads, qualifying and warming them up prior to making contact, so that when it comes time to pitch, you're much more likely to close the sale.
Note: The secret to setting warm, qualified sales appointments is also covered extensively in our interactive sales academy where top sales professionals come to take their skills to the next level.
You can find the course here: Sales Mastery Course: Setting Qualified Appointments and we'll even give you 25% off using discount code: CCSAVE25 on checkout if it's your first time taking one of our courses!
32 Secrets To Setting Warm, Qualified Sales Appointments
As promised, here are 32 ways Setting Warm, Qualified Sales Appointments brought to you exclusively at CommissionCrowd by the world's top sales authorities... ENJOY!
1. The Clue's In The Name: Warm. Qualified. Appointment.
Jessica Magoch (Global Director, Agent Recruitment and Success at (CommissionCrowd)
How do you set a Warm. Qualified. Appointment? Let’s break it down...
Warm: A warm appointment is an appointment you’ve booked where a relationship has been established between you and the prospective client.
Establishing relationships is the often taken-for-granted step that is missed when striving towards sales goals. People buy from those they know, like and trust, and all three of those are established in the relationship right from the beginning.
When you have a genuine desire to know the person, not just the problem or the company, you will stand out immediately from the rest of your competition, and avoid problems like “no-shows” and “I have to think about it”s.
Tip: Research the prospect ahead of time. Find something interesting about them or a common interest you share.
Qualified: Qualifying a prospect refers to asking a series of targeted questions to make sure:
- 1. They have the problem you solve
- 2. They want to solve it in the near future
- 3. They have the budget to solve it
- 4. You have established who the decision makers are and they will all be at the appointment
- 5. They meet certain specifications or requirements to be eligible for your product or service
Tip: Include qualifying questions as fields in your CRM so sales people can fill in the blanks and stay on target on a call.
Appointment: One big mistake new salespeople make is setting appointments, but not warm, qualified appointments. An appointment is simply an agreement to meet at a certain time and place. It’s a shared calendar event with certain expectations of what will occur and who should be present.
Tip: When setting an appointment, make decisions easy for customers by offering two options of times from which to choose. By giving them a wide open window, you are making the options too cumbersome. If neither work, select two different dates and times.
Learning how to set a solid foundation in the sales process by setting qualified appointments will save you headaches and objections down the line. Sales doesn’t have to be left up to chance.
Check out my mastery level course on Setting Qualified Appointments here : Sales Mastery Course: Setting Qualified Appointments and we'll even give you 25% off using discount code: CCSAVE25 on checkout if it's your first time taking one of my courses!
2. Take A Unique And Memorable Approach With Prospects
Carrie Wood (CMO at Lease Ref) Lease Ref
I have had success in mailing people money. Yes, you read that correctly. My primary objective is to stand out and be willing to do what my competitors are not. So I mail a letter (when everyone is using emails and phone calls), and I attach a $5 bill to the letter. It always grabs their attention.
The letter is to the point and brings value – it points out either a problem they were not aware of, or a solution to a problem they know they have. The $5 is not pointless – it ties into the fact that $5 will cover the cost of a couple of coffees, and that is what I want to do – use the $5 to have a coffee with them and discuss the contents of my letter.
Regardless of the prospect’s personality, everyone admits that’s it a clever and memorable approach – the kind of tactic that gets people to search for me online, and tell others in their office about the letter.
3. Determine The Best Sources For Your Business
Janice Dru (Board Member at Inkwhy) Inkwhy
What sources of prospective inquiries are generating warm, qualified sales appointments for you? Understand what the best sources are for your company – are you getting good referrals from clients or partners (such as independent, commission-only sales agents on CommissionCrowd)?
Do you have a phone number prominently placed on your website and other advertising material? Are you tracking the phone numbers you use (and recording the incoming calls) to assess the effectiveness of the different marketing campaigns you’re using to generate appointments?
Are people finding you because of a great article you wrote or because a specific media outlet mentioned your company? Determine what sources are generating the best appointments for you, and find ways to get more appointments from those sources.
How well do you filter your appointments? For example, if you ask more questions on a contact form you may get better qualified leads – but less leads. Find the optimal number of questions to balance the quantity with quality. You may want to test a two-part form to initially get just the first name and email address, and then have a series of additional questions – the more information a person provides, the more likely that person will become a warm, qualified appointment with you.
Keep track of how many touch points you’ve had with your prospects. People who have interacted with at least 3-5 communications from you and have not opted out of receive those communications are more likely to become warm, qualified sales appointments. How many times have they opened and clicked your emails, and responded? How many text messages have they replied to from you? How many times have they picked up the phone or returned a voice message? How many times have they submitted a request for information on your website or from one of your partners? People who are very active with your communications are more likely to have a good sales appointment with you.
What do the people who are setting great appointments with you look like? Male or female? Income level? Level of education? Geography? Shopping behavior? Life stage? Donation history? Affiliations? You can use demographic information and predictive modeling to find potential customers who match the type of people who are buying from you. Once you know who your best appointments are with, target your outreach to people who are look-a-likes and continually reassess if the profile is changing or as you are looking to grow your market.
Understand how long it takes for your prospects to become ready to buy, and the different stages in their consideration to purchase cycle. Once you know the right timing, then set your appointments at the best time in the cycle. Ask your prospects questions like: how soon are you considering making this purchase? What factors will influence their timing and decision? Getting the timing right is one more secret to setting successful warm, qualified sales appointments.
4. Gather Information On Your Prospect
Gretchen Hydo (Professional Certified Life and Business Coach) @AnyLengthsCoach
Gather information on your prospective client. The more you know ahead of time about the challenges they have been facing and their goals, the better prepared you are to turn the lead into a sale.
By sending a quick email that contains 2-3 questions, you can gather the information you need to see if the potential is a good fit before booking the appointment.
5. Research Your Prospect's Connections And Ask For Referrals
Joe Templin (Managing Director at The Unique Minds Consulting Group) @TheRealHeadGeek
The Secret is to invest some time in R&D. Spend ten minutes checking out your next meeting (Linkedin, Google, FB, etc) and compile a list of people that you think that they know that you might want to meet. Type it up and present it properly (2 copies, one for you and one for them), and ask them to cross off all the jerks. As long as you consistently do this you will have as many warm introductions to call as you can handle.
6. Stand Out From The Crowd By Thinking Outside Of The Box
Andrew Thompson (Founder at PEAK Performance Professionals) @GO4PEAK
Sales is about people. A few years back a Realtor, who wanted to stand out and be different, asked me how he could get clients with virtually no budget. I told him to put on his best suit, bring a briefcase, a box of 500 business cards and meet me downtown on a Sunday afternoon.
When we met, I handed him a rough cut cardboard sign which was scribbled with "Will Sell Your Home For Food". I told him to hold this sign on the corner and anyone that came up to him to give them your business card and say "If I can sell your home, I will donate 10% of my commissions to the local food bank."
That day he gave away all 500 of his business cards and over the course of the next year made over $50K in commissions that could be traced back to that day. Sales are about people. We buy from people who create a positive perception of trust and have a good moral compass.
The day the Realtor gave out all of his business cards was the one day he WAS NOT a Realtor... he was someone who wanted to give back to his community, which gave him instant credibility over all other Realtors that day who gave you their resumes of how much they've sold, how long they've been in business and how they sounded like every other real estate professional promoting the industry and themselves - instead of people. Sales is about people.
7. Make Use Of Facebook Messenger To Directly Contact Your Prospects
Colin Thomson (Founder and Owner of Kast Media) KastMedia
Use Facebook Messenger. Messages sent via Facebook have been shown to achieve 80% open rates and 13% click-through rates. Compare that with something like 30% open and 2.1% click through rates on emails these days, and you see the opportunity here.
In order to use Facebook messenger, setup a chatbot (something like Chatfuel), and create a very simple interaction. In order to be able to communicate with them in the future through Messenger, they must respond. But, using “quick responses,” it is as easy as clicking a button.
As with the normal process for creating a lead magnet, create something that your prospective sales need. Solve a problem, pain point, etc. Now, create your block in Chatfuel.
It should go: “Hi! Glad you’re interested in (your thing)!” “Click get started below!” “Get started” (button) “OK, here you go! (Link to promised lead magnet) The button was a “quick response” that, when they clicked, served the same function as if they had sent a message saying “Get started,” which not only triggered your next message, but served as a response from them, allowing you to continue to follow up, at FAR higher open rates and click through rates than you would see via email.
8. Use The GET Method
Alice Kemper (President at Sales Training Consultants) @bestsalestips
If you want to set warm, qualified sales appointments remember this one big tip: You have about 30 seconds to make or break the outcome of the conversation. During those first 30 seconds your prospect will ask themselves three questions. . . and only if they like the answers will you increase your close ratio and gain the appointment.
The 3 questions are: Who are you? Why should I listen to you? And who’s this all about… YOU or ME?
Too often reps begin the conversation with their name and company name and ask a question such as… ‘How are you today?’ “Are you responsible for marketing?” or say something like, “I know you’re busy, I’ll be quick.” Or, “You went to our website recently and I want to see if you have any questions.” Or, “I have a way to save you money on your phone system.”
How do I know this? Those are just a few examples of the most recent sales calls made to me! In each of them I know who the person is, yet there’s no good reason for me to listen to any of them, and I certainly know,.. It’s all about them and not about me!
Let me share the secret to setting warm, qualified sales appointment by effectively and efficiently mastering the first 30 seconds of the conversation by using the 'GET Method'.
Greet – with a salutation, plus state your name and company Explain why calling – with a clear benefit to me Time – ask for a moment of my time – it’s a common courtesy Let’s say you are a marketing firm for realtors…
G: Hi Erin. This is Brad with ABC Marketing.
E: Our real estate customers are boasting of 15% increases in new home listings and 20% increases sales with our L5 Method of marketing.
T: If you’d like to know those realtors secrets, is this a good time to talk or should we set a more convenient time?
When they say yes to the good time… you have a yes to your first appointment… an appointment to begin qualifying to see it they are a quality and viable opportunity to pursue.
Which means, you better have more than just good questions prepared … you need great questions prepared after they say the first yes and take your call.
Now you know what the top producers use, The GET Method, to set warm, qualified sales appointments and for you increase your close ratio and gain the next appointment.
9. Qualify Your Prospects Fast Using These 3 Methods
Janice Mars (Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude) @JaniceMars
Pursuing prospects takes a lot of time and energy and going after the wrong people can dramatically inhibit revenues. The faster you can qualify prospects, the faster you can book appointments with the right people – and fill your pipeline with high-quality sales opportunities.
Before booking that appointment, get to know the prospect by qualifying them by niche, need and by priority:
(1): Make sure the prospect fits in your niche. Perhaps you’ve helped other customers in past and can demonstrate that success to this prospect.
(2): Find out if the prospect has an actual need to fulfill or problem to solve. They might be an ideal customer as far as niche goes, but they may not actually have a need for your product or service.
(3): Verify whether or not the project is a priority. The prospect may not be ready to invest in your product or service if they have too many other high-priority initiatives going on. If it’s not a priority, then they’re not qualified – it’s that simple.
Sales is all about maximizing your time by spending it on the right things. By using these qualifiers, you’ll save a lot of precious time – and your sanity.
10. Let Someone Else Warm Your Sales Leads Up For You
Christopher Van Buren (Founder of LaunchMoxie) LaunchMoxie
Warm Leads Make Warm Appointments The secret to setting warm sales appointments is to start with warm leads. The secret to getting warm leads is to let someone else warm them up for you.
Borrowing the trust and connection of a partner is possibly the best way to assure warm leads from external sources. A partner, who has already developed trust with their audience, loans you that trust when they recommend you or your services.
Why would a third party want to loan you this valuable trust they've established with their audience? Because you'll pay it back through a "cross promotion" back to them. This is known as the Joint Venture model and it brings the warmest leads possible.
As an alternative, your partner may be willing to send you warm leads because you'll pay them an attractive commission for them. But performance-based revenue models begin to cool down the lead sources. Something to keep in mind.
11. Leverage your current client base
Taneil Currie (Digital Marketing Strategist at Tenth Concept) @TaneilCurrie
One of the most important aspects in sales, is building and maintaining strong relationships. Similarly, providing exceptional customer service and a positive buying experience are equally imperative.
It is vital to implement a customer care program to ensure customer loyalty, repeat business and the opportunity for referrals. Leveraging your current client base is one of the most effective ways to get introduced to potential customers and grow your business.
Setting up a profile on LinkedIn to connect with your current customer base to gain exposure to warm leads is the first step in creating opportunities. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized with a professional profile image, updated information about what you do and a great summary that provides details about the problems you solve with your product or service.
Be sure to ask your clients for recommendations, testimonials from clients showcase credibility and will make it easier when attracting warm leads from their network. Often, times your current customers may already be connected to someone you have been trying to set an appointment with.
Browse through your current client’s connection list on LinkedIn, once you identify a prospect that you would like to be introduced to, reach out to your client and ask if they would kindly make an introduction or offer to take them both for lunch. Your client is now setting the appointment for you! LinkedIn offers many advanced features to discover decision makers, CEO’S and executive level employees, doing an advanced search of people you are trying to connect with will also help you see who is you network and how you are connected.
If every satisfied customer introduced you to three new warm leads, filling your calendar with qualified appointments will be a less daunting task and you now have a system for generating an endless pool of new customers.
12. Carry Out A Needs Analysis
Morlyn Duma Maturere (Associate Wealth Consultant at DeVere Group) Morlyn Duma Maturere
Experience has taught me that a qualified sales appointment means meeting a prospect who is in need of your product or service at the right time. An unqualified sales appointment means meeting with a prospect who does not need your solution, which may be a waste of time for both the prospect and the sales person.
The secret to setting warm, qualified sales appointments hinges on the following tips from experience; Do a needs analysis or fact find to establish if the prospect will be interested and willing to get that solution from you.
Create good rapport with prospect on the phone such that they cannot wait to see you in person. People prefer to work with someone whom they feel comfortable with and they can easily pick your attitude from the way you talk to them on the phone. Present a value proposition that makes a lot of business sense to the prospect!
Remember there are a lot others presenting proposals to the same target. Once you establish there is need and your value proposition is awesome, find out if there is a budget. Simply put, a qualified sales appointment must have ticked the following; suitable product, to a suitable prospect, at a suitable time, and a suitable price.
13. Find Better Matched Clientele Right From The Start And Nurture Long Term Relationships
Elinor Stutz (International Trainer and Educational Speaker) SmoothSale
Your future success begins with a vision seemingly beyond what you believe to be achievable. Maintaining a continually filled pipeline requires a long-term vision of earning a returning and referring clientele.
The balancing act of developing client loyalty with the daily hunting to find and secure prospective clientele is the formula for a forever filled sales pipeline. The satisfaction in working with you translates into repeat business, testimonials, and referrals that enable increased sales. Anyone who has attempted filling a sales pipeline and maintaining it knows it’s far from being easily accomplished.
The entire process described above begins with cold outreach, this could be on the phone or using social media. Due diligence on behalf of research before an initial contact achieves the better results.
The time spent to research the people behind the company, the business philosophy, the clientele type, and the industry in general, pays big dividends. For example, a LinkedIn profile may reveal much and the person and their work history. Beginning the conversation with what you just found online and tying it to how your offering may be of interest will at least give you a moment of introduction.
Most people err on the side of believing the call is all about what they have to sell. Be forewarned this is not true. The call is about the prospective client and learning what is of importance to them. Come to a determination of whether they have an issue that your service may solve.
Another error is to be desperate for a sale to maintain the pipeline. Accordingly, some representatives ignore the fact whether they will enjoy working with the other person, while others discount to the point of zero profit. In either case, extreme frustration will set in making the entire effort non-worthwhile. By having an engaged conversation with respect flowing in both directions, and uncovering matching principles for business and life, you are likely to find the better matched clientele.
The importance for matching with similar minded people is that the relationship will blossom. Remaining in touch to see how the clients are doing and ensuring satisfaction with what’s in place encourages further conversations. And now additional needs reveal themselves and more robust sales are in the works.
As you see satisfaction with the service you provide and eagerness for further conversations, the time is right for inquiring if the customer might know of similar companies in need. The Smooth Sale refers to earning a returning and referring clientele, and this is the surest way for maintaining a full sales pipeline.
14. Referrals From Customers Convert Almost 400% Greater Than Leads Generated By Sales Reps
David Priemer (Vice President Sales at Influitive) @dpriemer
Over the years I’ve found the best way to set warm, qualified sales appointments is through a referral from a customer or employee advocate. That is, a customer or employee who is already familiar with your solution and value proposition and can gracefully broker a conversation with a like-minded prospect.
Advocate-generated appointments are incredible for two reasons:
1. Conversion Rates: All qualified sales appointments start life as a lead, and research shows that leads that come in as referrals from customers and other employees convert at rates almost 400% greater than leads generated by sales reps and about 50X greater than leads that come from email campaigns. That’s because advocates can get you to directly the right person in a way that completely circumvents the 6-inch reinforced steel walls modern-day customers erect to prospect themselves from predatory sales reps.
2. Customer Experience: If you think about it from the customer’s perspective, a warm introduction is far more friction-less and much less obtrusive than being put through your lead generation machine. The customer doesn’t have to decipher a complex sales pitch validate the intentions of the sales rep. With the proliferation of peer reviews on consumer sites like Amazon and B2B sites like G2Crowd, buyers are becoming more and more weary of vendor-generated content.
Personally speaking, the chances of you getting a meeting with me with a prospecting email are almost nil, but if a friend or colleague tells me your solution is worth looking into, you can almost certainly expect I will.
15. Use Lead Magnets To Make Your Prospects Come To You
Sabri Suby (Founder) KingKong
Educate your prospects, making them want to come to you. To set a warm, qualified sales appointment it all starts before your prospect is even thinking of working with you.
You want to put out a piece of content as a form of a lead magnet, that answers the number one question those prospects have on their mind right now. After they download your lead magnet, you put them into your sales funnel and provide them with a series of educational emails that gets them one step closer to their desired outcome.
This way they are only reaching out to you when they are ready, willing and able to do business with you. Your lead magnet can be a free report, a webinar or a cheat-sheet, anything that offers further information that helps the prospect get answers to their burning question.
The content you provide will have 20% pitch. “Hey do you like this content? I can set aside X amount of time in my calendar to go through XYZ problem you’re having”. This way, the prospect is only putting up their hand to speak with you when you’re ready, willing and able.
They book a time on your calendar, for a time that you’re available. Thereby, you are no longer hounding them and following them up, the prospect is coming to you.
16. Refine Your Targeting And Narrow Your Focus To The Decision Makers In The Companies Who Need Your Products/Services
Steven Benson (Founder & CEO of Badger Mapping) Badger Mapping
The secret to setting warm, qualified appointments is targeting and finding the specific group of people in the world who your product or service helps the most. When people buy your product or service, they are hiring it to do a specific job for them.
To set great sales meetings, you need to be focused on the people most likely to want to buy your product. A lot of companies, when you ask their sales teams who their product is for, they will have a long list of the different people in different roles in different industries.
One of the keys to our success to marketing our product to get sales appointments has been that we focus on just one group of people, field sales people, for whom we build a product. The best bullets in the world don't hit the bullseye if they are aimed at the wrong target.
17. Use This Strategy To Guarantee Warm Introductions And Referrals
Bruce King (Business Growth Strategist) Bruce King
Fact 1: 85% + of people will give referrals if you’ve done a good job.
Fact 2: Only 5% of salespeople ask for referrals.
Referrals are, without question, the best way of setting warm, qualified sales appointments. Although it’s hardly a secret! Most salespeople have a way of asking for referrals, and usually they do it badly.
Here’s the best way to do it...
Go to LinkedIn, and one at a time, go to your customer's profiles. If you’re not connected to your customers, you should be.
Next, look at who is endorsing them, and look at their profiles. If you think they could be a good fit for you, make a note of their names and company names.
Next – telephone those customers, that’s far preferable to email. And here’s what you say after exchanging a few brief pleasantries...
“(Name),as you know, I like to invest my time looking after my customers, not looking for them, but like you, I too have to generate new customers. So I’d really appreciate your help please. I’ve been doing some research on LinkedIn and I noticed that (Peter Smith) at The XYZ corporation is well known to you and in fact endorsed you.
I think he’d be a really good fit for me. You obviously know him and his company well. What do you think? If they think you would be a good fit, or they are unsure, ask for an introduction, and if you are selling high ticket items, you may even want to suggest you take them both out to lunch. Go through this process diligently, and for sure, you are going to be meeting with a lot more qualified prospects and getting a lot more referrals when you ask for them by name.
18. Get Into The Mindset Of Not Trying To Sell Something To Your Prospect But Helping Solve Their Problems
Ali Mirza (President at Rose Garden Consulting) Rose Garden Consulting
Everyone talks about providing value in order to get an appointment. Problem is, most people completely misunderstand that. Understand, unsolicited advice is just that, unsolicited.
Rather, try to look at it from your prospect's lens rather than yours. Your prospect is thinking "What's in it for me", while you may think that equates to value, you are wrong. If you client does not know they have the problem you solve, your value is worthless. Seek to talk to them at their current position and them walk them to yours.
19. Use These 2 Top Tips
Mike Kawula (Entrepreneur, Inc.500 Alum, Author) Dinner Table MBA
The following two tips will ensure your sales pipeline is continually full and, more importantly, primed with qualified prospects.
1. Never let up on whatever method is driving you the most qualified prospects
Most systems take time to get up, running and tested. The worst thing a business can do is pull back or pause the engine that is driving qualified leads when leads start to stack up.
I see this time and time again...
Companies start to have some success, pause for a bit to catch up and then momentum is lost and sales leads run dry. To avoid this, make sure you have systems in place to handle leads properly and are always planning ahead for when it comes time to scale up.
With that said, make sure that the support is in place to ensure you can provide the same level of service to your 10,000th customer that your first customer received.
Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
2. Never be dependent on one source of leads:
Things change all the time. Pricing can change, response rates can change or the medium may become obsolete. Initially, find the one system that drives you the most leads. Perfect that system to handle scale and once you have that in place, begin testing a new source for traffic and leads. Again, once this is perfected, converting well and producing quality leads… rinse and repeat.
20. The Sandler No-Pressure Prospecting call Method
David Davies (Managing Director of Sandler Training) @sandlertv
Nobody died in the making of this sales call.
We all know that telephone prospecting is one of the most challenging aspects of selling. Salespeople spend entire careers trying to avoid doing it. It is typically a pressured and pressurising exercise for both parties.
The Sandler No-Pressure Prospecting call dissipates all that pent-up tension.
Start with a pattern interrupt:
“Did I catch you at a bad time?” Set a mini-upfront contract: “I should probably tell you who I am. Then you can tell me if it as a bad time?”. Don’t forget to smile. This is a little tongue-in-cheek. Keep going: “It will only take two minutes to share with you who I am.
You can then determine if you and I need to have a conversation today?” Deliver your perfected 30 second commercial Tell them - Who you are? What you do? Why you do it? Who you do it to? Why they let you do it to them? How they felt afterwards (results)?
Share with the prospect some common challenges you ‘eat for breakfast’ in the style of Stroke > PAIN > Impact, example: Business is pretty good, but you are concerned at a decline in new business revenues. You have good salespeople, but they just aren’t picking up the phone and prospecting any more. You can see the business is stalled and you are unsure what to do about it?
You might need 2 or 3 of these PAIN activators to find one that the prospect is experiencing and wants a resolution to. Start ‘stripping line’ – this is a fishing term used to describe the action which is opposite to what the prospect would expect.
Most prospecting calls end in a “No”, right? So, take the first move. Take them to a “No’ directly. This takes the pressure off them and keeps you in control. Sounds a bit like. “I don’t suppose any of what I have just said resonates with you at all, does it?” If NO: “I didn’t think they would. Can I be cheeky and ask what challenges you are facing right now?” If YES, to continue the fishing analogies you know need to ‘set the hook’.
1. Can you tell me more about that?
2. Can you give me an example?
3. …and that impacts you how?
Still in the game? You are, great! Now we need to move them to a meeting...
So ask them: “It probably doesn’t make sense for you and I to meet and talk that through, does it?” Try not to sound too incredulous when they say “Yes”. Ask them if they have their Calendar handy and have them suggest a couple of times that work for them.
Be authoritative, make sure it sounds like a polite order. They are not doing you a favour, this is a business meeting. If you are feeling particularly brave at this point ask them: “I don’t suppose you could book that in both of our diaries? My eMail address is….?
21. Use Retracing Methods To Secure Referrals
Michael J. Maher (International Best-selling Author and Founder, The Generosity Generation) Twitter @7LBook
The Great Re-Trace is communicating with every person of a strand of referral sources. For example, Joe refers Jeff who introduced you to Cindy who recommended you to Janet.
You would call Cindy with an update on Janet. Then you would call Jeff to express appreciation for connecting you to Cindy. Then you would call Joe to let him know what has happened.
There is enormous, subtle power to this strategy. Don't spend a penny on personal advertising, don't do personal promotion; THIS gets you referrals and relationships. It's about focusing on people and letting the numbers take care of themselves.
22. Stay Consistent And Utilize Multiple Outbound Sales Prospecting Methods
Justin McGill (Founder & CEO of LeadFuze) @Jus10McGill
Consistency. Sounds easy, but it is truly the most difficult thing to master. Utilize automation tools to completely handle some of the mundane tasks (such as cold emailing). Don't forget about other outbound tactics like direct mail, or social selling (follow up on Twitter, LinkedIn, etc). Do things outside of just email to stand out from the crowd and block time off in your calendar for these activities on a daily basis.
23. Use Multiple Touch Points
Nick Kane (Managing Partner at Janek Performance Group) Janek Performance Group
Setting warm appointments isn't just about picking up the phone once and expecting to connect. It can take multiple touch points, using different media, to get a prospect to respond to you.
Business people are busier than ever and inundated with marketing and sales inquiries on a daily basis. To break through the noise, you’ll need to show some tenacity and creativity. Leave voicemails and send emails at different times of the day. Use social media such as LinkedIn or direct message via Twitter, if appropriate. Didn’t catch your prospect Tuesday at 9am? Try it again the following day at 4:30pm.
24. Referrals Are An Important Part Of Your Business Development Strategy
Jane Gentry (Sales Growth and Leadership) Jane Gentry
The best warm appointment is an introduction. How much time are you spending developing a network of people who know you, trust you and are willing to make referrals?
With a referral, you are already vetted in the customer's mind and you can get right to the important topic - their business. Seeking referrals should be an important and regular part of your business development strategy.
25. The secret is that there is no secret
Dave Kurlan (CEO of Objective Management Group) Dave Kurlan
It takes hard work, practice and tweaking.
1. The sound of your voice - your tonality - must be such that someone would choose to speak with you! If you don't sound good it won't matter what you are saying.
2. Emotional Positioning - You must have a solid, concise, emotional positioning statement that tells your prospect about one of their likely issues that you can help with.
3. The problems you solve - You must be prepared to provide a couple of very short (less than 10 words) examples of problems you solve.
4. Discuss in detail - You must have a short discussion about those issues until you identify a problem that they would like to fix. Your discussion must lend itself to your being able to say, "Sounds like a problem" and ask, "Would you like to fix it?"
The only qualification required at this point is that they admit to an issue that you can help with. It is too early and completely wrong to strive for BANT. An issue you can solve is as qualified as you need to be until an actual sales conversation occurs.
26. Utilise Linkedin To Get To Know Your Prospects Ahead Of The Call
Jack Tuckwell (CRM Specialist at Force Manager) Jack Tuckwell
LinkedIn is one of the most under-rated platforms for lining a pipeline with warm, qualified leads.
Everything from their previous job positions, where they studied to specific projects they’ve contributed to can be found allowing you to discover any areas of common interest.
Maybe you studied a couple of years apart at the same university? Or both knocked each other about playing rugby for opposing teams? Whatever it might be, it sets you up on mutual ground for an opening gambit.
Which leads me nicely to my second point - developing a nose for opening the right doors. Once the lead’s interest has been piqued, qualify by identifying their biggest pain points and positioning your product/service as the benchmark solution.
Whether or not they’re ready to commit, you’ll find a warm, qualified lead entered into your pipeline ready to be nurtured until the time is right to make that purchase decision.
27. Offer Something Of Value To People You Conference And Network With
Jason Parks (President of The Media Captain) @TheMediaCaptain
I recently came home from an important industry conference with lots of business cards. I spent some time typing up extensive notes from the conference and offered them to people I'd met there.
In the offer, I requested a phone meeting to learn more about their business and perhaps share some useful advice with them. This generated a number of phone interviews and quite a few warm leads.
28. Never Try To Sell On The Initial Fact Finding Call
Gene Caballero (Co-founder of GreenPal) GreenPal
Never try to sell on the initial phone call. Rather gather information and let them know that you want to discuss their pain points with your team to ensure sure you can bring them the best possible solutions for their business needs. This will ensure that you get another opportunity to earn their business.
29. Use Facebook Ad Campaigns + Hold Seminars
Jesse Hendon (Board Member at My Insurance Solutions) @Jessehendon
In my business, we are currently utilizing 2 roads to create high qualified warm leads. The first is a bit more high-tech and the second is a bit more high-touch. My business is insurance, primarily Medicare Supplements, Life Insurance and Annuities.
This is an older crowd and a product that isn’t full of sex appeal. It is however a very large market with demand. My high tech approach has been using facebook campaigns running surveys around wealth and health. My demographic enjoys these surveys and at the end we ask for permission to contact to get their results.
Facebook allows for pretty sophisticated targeting so we are hitting our target audience and they become engaged. It’s driven quantity, but there is still a lot of wood. However, quantity of leads cannot be discounted and we’ve driven sales!
My high touch approach comes from seminars. People love to hear experts talk about issues surrounding their life events. Annuities (income streams) and Medicare are major topics around retirement. By hosting free seminars around the city, we’ve developed a quality pool of leads that are typically VERY interested in our product. Also, these seminars are in person and not over the phone or online. So there is a connection immediately built. Both of these models do very well for us.
The insurance game still requires a bit of face to face however the need for face to face is dwindling. If you can get both avenues producing for you, your funnel will be consistently filled with potential buyers. Best of luck!
30. Be Clear About Who Your Ideal Prospect Is
Maura Schreier-Fleming (President of Best@Selling) @bestatselling
Ideal prospects are most likely to buy from you. Know both demographics (data) and psychographics (how they think) so you can very clearly know who is a good prospect and who isn't. Don't kid yourself about those who aren't ideal prospects. You set better appointments when you're clear about meeting with people who are more likely to buy.
31. Qualify Prospects Ahead Of The Pitch Using These Three Questions
Jimmy Woodard (Business Development Manager) 360 Designs
Before a meeting ever takes place, weed out suitable prospects on the phone using the following three qualifying questions:
- What would you change or improve with what you're currently doing?
- What's your biggest headache with [sales/marketing/HR/recruiting/etc]?
- What's your biggest objective?
Only then will you truly know if your solution solves their immediate problem and you won't be wasting time when it comes to the pitch.
32. Stop Talking When You Get What You Want
Tim Morris (Principal at Leadership Consulting) Leadership Consulting
Clear targeting of prospects is key. Be very specific about the type of company you focus, and qualify that the individual you reach has a suitable level of authority.
Once you make contact; be laser focused on your objective, if you aim to book a first call, when you achieve that 'STOP TALKING'. More sales prospects are lost by saying too much than by saying too little. Having your prospect asking questions is a good thing.
Clearly, appropriate targeting is key to getting good leads. Be very specific about the type of companies that you want to work with, and establish that the individual that you make contact with has appropriate authority. Once you engage with the individual, keep your objective at the very front of your mind.
33. Direct Mail Can Still Be Utilized
Jeremy Levine (Business Development Manager) FitSmallBusiness
1. Direct Mail: Surprisingly, direct mail works in certain situations. At a previous
employer, before trade shows, we would run extensive phone and email campaign to reach certain key targets. If we could not reach someone we wanted to see, we would send handwritten notes via priority mail which got a high response rate.
2. Keep emails as short as possible.
3. Sell the dream Remember that most people need to tell time, not how to build a watch, so for the most part, no one cares about the awesome technology your product has under the hood they want to know how your product can save them time and money.
34. Form Strategic Alliances
Molly Grubb Grubb Wealth Management
To understand how to have a full and warm pipeline you have to understand your source of the pipeline. Most professionals who are in a revenue generating role are seeking to gain referrals from their clients.
Although, this may seem obvious and a great option the gold mine that most fail to mine is a proper relationship with a complementary professional. Otherwise known as a strategic alliance. Note, I did not say a referral partner.
A strategic alliance is a partnership that is formed with only a few key professionals that share your ideal clients' needs. You act as a division of their firm to serve their top clients for a shared fee otherwise known as economic glue.
Through this alliance you are meeting with your partners periodically to discuss which of their clients needs need to be fulfilled and offering second opinions. You are also conducting joint client appreciation events, doing panel discussions at conferences and much more.
The whole purpose of this relationship is to continue to add tremendous value to your strategic alliance so that the end of both of your careers you will have served your clients collectively in a way you would never been able to before and been have immense success. If designed correctly and with the right partner, you can quadruple your revenue within the first four years of doing this.
The issues are that you must have a program that is followed consistently and work with a professional that truly have an entrepreneur spirit and wants to grow. Over 80% of affluent clients work begin a relationship with a professional through a referral of another professional. This is why you want to have a well thought out plan that does not mimic the old, ” I give you a referral you give me a referral program.”
Through a properly designed strategic alliance, you will always have a pipeline of warm qualified leads because someone that you have fully vetted and compliments your occupation has given them to you with economic interest for themselves and the client.
Check out these other articles from our Expert's Corner series:
Secrets Of Closing The Sales Like A Pro
Building A $40m Business With An Independent Sales Rep Team
33 Ways To Close The Sale Like A Pro
Interview With Mike Kawula: How To Build Rapport And Earn Trust Online
Jane Gentry: The New Sales Funnel
31 Ways To Create A Lucrative Sales Funnel
32 Ways To Prospect For Sales Leads Without Cold Calling
Interview With Khuram Malek The Outsourced CEO