Whether you are the rain-maker in a small firm, a sales representative, or responsible for a national sales force, it’s in your best interest to branch out and create alternative ways to reach perspective customers. Having multiple marketing streams is the life-blood of any lead generation and lead nurturing program. But don’t count on your company’s marketing department to do it for you, it’s not their job.
Here are 15 ideas that you or your team can begin to implement. Focus on one idea per day. Many of the ideas can be combined to save time and you can repurpose some of them for even greater impact. It can help to break the cold call routine, invigorate the mind and help you to come up with your own ideas. Public speaking. Go out and contact 2 business group organizations and get them to invite you to speak at one of their meetings. Try and tie your product or service into global or national trends and promote your speech as a way that their audience can prevent the most common pitfalls that most companies face. Hold your own business meeting and invite your partner alliances to speak – you of course are the key note speaker Write articles. While driving in your car to your next appointment get out a tape recorder and rehearse your presentation. Get an assistant to transcribe your tape recording and then edit the draft as if you were giving general information instead of a sales pitch. There you’ve just written an article. Get it posted on your web site. Submit it to a trade magazine. Capture the main points and turn it into a tips sheet to leave with prospects after meeting them. Publish an opt-in electronic newsletter. Most every sales rep should be using some kind of CRM (customer relationship management) software. Get to know how to use the broadcast email option. This will allow you to send multiple emails addressed to only the recipient, thus avoiding SPAM filters. This is a great way to keep your specific prospects, customers, channel and alliance partners informed of the great things you are doing. Use strategic alliances to your advantage. Think about creating sales focused alliances with the sales reps that sell to your prospects but don’t compete with you directly. For example: A custom software company rep can go on a sales call with a computer hardware sales rep to show how buying the hardware will help him reduce costs or improve efficiencies – with the use of a custom software program. This can be a great way to get in to see a prospect that may not have wanted to see you otherwise. For more help on this go to: http://www.emdco.com/channelmarketing.html Create a tips booklet. This is a great way to summarize the key elements that you think your customers should consider when buying your product/service. Keep it low-pressure and make sure it’s not slick looking. You can use this to leave behind with a prospect or to mail before calling for an appointment. Use the key points from your articles. Get testimonials. You should have a list of testimonials to use on all of your marketing materials. Make sure you include real names and titles of your clients. Put together this list so that you can use it to establish your own personal credibility. Create your own web site or start a weblog “blog”. Even if you work for a large company you should have your own web page. Get your company to add a few pages for you. If they won’t do it then they are not working in your best interest. Go online and get your own web domain setup. Create a few pages that will help to establish your expertise and credibility. Post your articles, post podcasts or webcasts so that your prospects can view them at their convenience – that’s key. Give them the kind of content that they are looking for such as helpful links. Promote it to your prospects, industry experts, customers, reporters, etc. as a place to get up to date information. Establish relationships with reporters. Find out which reporters cover your industry and call them up to introduce yourself and ask them how you can help them. All reporters are looking for reliable sources that do not come across as purely self-promoters. All national association events will have reporters assigned by industry magazines. Call the event sponsor and get the names of the media that will be at the event. Contact the reporters that will be covering the next national industry event and ask how you can help give them an angle that is interesting to their readers. While you’re at it call the local business journal of the city you will be visiting and pitch story ideas to them. Pitch media stories about you. Come up with ideas that relate to industry trends, pitfalls to avoid, or ‘how-to’ angles. It’s no different from selling to your prospect – show the reporter how they and their readers will benefit from your story idea and you will be more likely to make the sale, so to speak, and get coverage. For more help on this go to: http://www.emdco.com/publicity.html Create direct mail post-cards. Yes direct mail post cards are great ways to get your name out to prospects. The post cards work because the information is easy to read. Promote your speech at the local business meeting, or turn it into a short survey that enrolls them in a prize drawing. For more help on this go to: http://www.emdco.com/integratedmarketing.html Networking groups. Most networking groups are little more than other sales reps like you looking for someone to sell to – why not turn the tables and target those that have similar prospects and turn them into your own little sales force. Create a referral program that stipulates what a qualified prospect means to you and give them $150 per lead that turns into a sale or give them a percentage of the first project or a percentage of all projects for a year. Instead of the other reps calling after the meeting to sell you something, you’ll be getting reps calling you with qualified leads that they hope will get them a little or a lot of extra money. Wouldn’t you rather give a referral fee to some one that helped you get thousands in business than to pay for advertising that may not even result in a lead? Send other author’s articles to prospects. Get to know the industry experts in ancillary industries. Send articles that will help your prospects. If they see that you are willing to help them in other areas, then they may be inclined to trust you when you call on them. Get 12 articles, select a group of prospects and mail out a sequence of 12 mailings over weeks or months. Make the envelope/letter anonymous with nothing more than your first name signature. When you have completed the sequence, call up the prospect, tell them that you are the person that sent the articles and ask for an appointment. Conduct surveys. Call your prospects/clients and ask them 2 to 3 trend-finding questions. Conduct similar surveys when you speak. Compile the information and write an article, send a press release to reporters, use it in your newsletter. Post it on your blog or web site. For more help on this go to: http://www.emdco.com/marketresearch.html Sponsor contests. Send out a fax or letter asking prospects to sign up to win something. It should be a considerable prize and some thing that is useful. Why wait for the annual expo to attract visitors to your booth. Get them involved at all times of the year. Get them to go to your web site. Promote the contest to the media and industry experts. Keep all entries and get them on your mailing list. Sell directly to your competition. Do you have prospects that just won’t buy your solution? Make a deal with your competitor to split commissions and share prospect intelligence. Then make an appointment with your prospect. Introduce your competitor in person and say “Joe/Jane can help you with your needs” and leave to let them make the sale.
Even if you are a sales rep for a fortune 500 company, I know your marketing department is not creating this kind of credibility for you specifically – that’s not their job. By employing these ideas you will create the momentum of future sales and everyone in the company will be asking you how you do it. You can then say, with a wink, “I have 15 personal sales reps working for me!”
David Wells is a business development expert, speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of http://www.emdco.com a provider of business-to-business lead creation, data confirmation and integrated marketing solutions. You can subscribe to “The Business Promoter's Tips of the Week" ezine at email@example.com