Let me ask you a question: Do you want more sales leads flowing into your pipeline?
If you didn’t scream “Heck yes!” to that question, then stop reading this right now. Go run to your nearest 5-star steakhouse and celebrate your awesome life—because apparently you’ve got it all figured out.
But for the vast majority of salespeople, more sales leads are crucial.
We’re always looking for new ways to generate sales leads, because we always need more of them. Most of us have been taught that we need to make hundreds of cold calls every day to generate sales leads.
I’m here to tell you that’s just not true.
The best way to generate sales leads is to have tons of oars in the water, using multiple effective lead generation strategies at the same time.
In this video, I’m going to show you 15 ways to generate sales leads—and tons of ‘em. Check it out:
How to Generate Sales Leads
Here are 15 proven methods for how to generate sales leads you absolutely need to try.
Tip #1: Don’t ever settle for just one lead source.
This is one of the biggest mistakes salespeople make with generating sales leads. When salespeople only have one source of leads—whether it’s through a marketing source or cold calls—they immediately become vulnerable. If that one lead source ever dries up, they’re screwed.
Never, ever settle for just one lead source. I recommend having between three and five highly reliable lead sources that are slowly and consistently bringing sales leads into your pipeline. This has a multiplicative effect on your book of business. Even if you only get a couple of leads a month from each source, it really adds up.
Tip #2: Use prospecting campaigns.
The old-school mindset about prospecting was that salespeople basically need to make a ton of cold calls, and then sales leads would come rushing in. Instead, salespeople today need to be using prospecting campaigns. These campaigns include a number of different steps that each and every prospect is taken through. It’s a more nuanced process of trying to connect with prospects slowly over time, instead of just picking up the phone and calling them out of the blue.
The key here is to reach out to prospects in a number of different ways, which we’ll talk about in the rest of this article. You want to be thinking: How can I reach or touch this prospect in as many ways as possible over the course of the next few months? That way, when you finally do pick up the phone to call them, prospects will actually know who you are.
Tip #3: Share valuable content.
The traditional mindset on selling was that buyers had all of the value. They were the ones with the money and the salesperson was just trying to get it. But we need to change that mindset if we want to get more sales leads today. The modern mindset on selling is that salespeople have a lot of value, too. In particular, they have valuable insight and valuable content to share.
Our companies can easily create content that can be useful to our prospects and buyers. This isn’t content that they buy. It’s content that we salespeople give away for free. Maybe it’s an ebook or a series of white papers. Maybe it’s a bunch of case studies. Whatever it is, valuable content can help you slowly establish strong relationships with key prospects and buyers—before they even get on the phone with you. This is one of the most effective ways to slowly but surely start to build relationships with prospects.
Remember, most buyers are completing at least 50% of their buying process before they even talk to a salesperson. So we’ve got to find ways to give them value and insight along the way that makes them want to connect with us.
Tip #4: Use scripted prospecting calls.
Many salespeople get uncomfortable with the idea of scripted calls because they think, “Well, if I’m going to follow a script then I’m going to sound scripted.” As a result, when they actually get a prospect on the phone, they kind of meander. They’re unlikely to be effective when they’re doing that. Instead, salespeople today need to use scripted prospecting calls if they want to generate more sales leads.
The point is to know exactly what you’re going to say when you get on the phone with a prospect. You shouldn’t have to wing it. You shouldn’t be making it up as you go along, or wondering what to say next. Script it out. Take 10 minutes right now to write out what you want to say on your prospecting calls. At the very least, write out some bullet points to follow. I do this with every single one of my clients to make sure that they have an exact script to follow when they’re talking to prospects.
Next, you need to practice so you don’t sound scripted. Practice a few times and make sure that you sound natural. This script will be an incredibly powerful tool in your quest to generate more sales leads.
Tip #5: Use voicemails to follow up.
There’s a lot of controversy around the effectiveness of voicemails these days. But one of the reasons that we need to have multiple oars in the water when it comes to generating sales leads is that we never really know what’s going to work. Voicemails are a must. They’re still a great way to get on prospects’ radar.
I’m not suggesting you leave a voicemail every time you call a prospect. But voicemail should be something you use to follow up after sending a package, sending an email, or reaching out with some valuable content in another way. Script out your voicemails so you’re never “um-ing” and “ah-ing” through your message.
Tip #6: Use email sequences.
Email sequences are incredibly effective for generating sales leads, especially for salespeople who are selling to a large pool of prospective clients. An email sequence is basically a pre-planned sequence of automated emails that go out to the prospect. When I say “automated” I don’t mean you’re using Constant Contact or an HTML email service. I’m talking about automating these emails from your personal account or your work email so it seems like a direct email from you to the prospect—except it’s actually automated.
There are many systems out there that can do this. Many CRM systems can already automate email sequences in this way. Whatever tool you use, come up with a sequence of four to five emails to send over the course of a couple of weeks to each prospect. Make sure the emails sound personal and reference specific information about each prospect, such as their company name or position.
If you’ve got a big universe of potential prospects, this can be tremendously effective because it’s automating a lot of that tough work. Just make sure that your list is good, that the emails are right, that you have the right names, that you have their company name spelled properly. But other than that, you just upload it into the system and pump out emails.
Tip #7: Send LinkedIn messages.
Social media is often over-hyped in terms of its effectiveness with sales leads. But LinkedIn is actually an amazing tool for salespeople. If you’re not using LinkedIn messages to get through to those tough-to-reach prospects, then you’re missing out. LinkedIn is typically connected to a person’s personal email. So if you’re sending LinkedIn messages that are intentional, thoughtful, and reference specifics to those high-level prospects, you’re much more likely to get through and get your message read.
Send LinkedIn messages. It can be through the network’s sponsored email platform or, if the prospects are in your network, then you can just directly connect with them and send them a message. Either way, use LinkedIn in a manner that’s personalized, intentional, and concise.
Tip #8: Send FedEx packages.
FedEx is one example, but you could also use UPS or another delivery service. There’s something really powerful about sending a package to your high-level prospects. FedEx and UPS packages get opened. It’s as simple as that. People actually open them because they’re not going to just throw them out. Even the CEO of a big company is likely to open a FedEx package. Maybe it has a book in it, or something else of value. Send something they can use or get ideas from. Then follow up with calls using your prospecting campaign.
Tip #9: Ask for introductions.
The data shows that top performers are asking for way more introductions and referrals than average and bottom performers. I use the term introductions because I think the term referrals is often confusing and unclear. An introduction is very clear. I’m asking you to introduce me to someone just like yourself who I might be able to help.
If you want to know how to generate more sales leads, you need to be asking for introductions all the time. Ask every single person that you’re in front of. Get as many introductions as you possibly can. And by the way, there’s no downside to asking for introductions. So be that top performer and ask every single person you’re in front of for those introductions. Get them to connect you with other people.
Tip #10: Become a speaker.
Salespeople always tell me, “Oh, Marc, I can’t be a speaker. I’m not great at speaking in public. Anyway, what would I even talk about?” I’ll tell you: You’re an expert in solving the problems that your prospects face. That’s what you would talk about. It’s time to become a presenter to generate sales leads. Go to industry events or host private events where you speak. You’re not just giving a sales pitch. Rather, you’re giving valuable insight into the industry and marketplace. At the end, you can set up meetings as a result of that speech. Becoming a speaker is a high-level concept and a lot of salespeople won’t do it. But if you have the guts, if you have the confidence, then you’re going to be so much more successful.
Tip #11: Do targeted networking.
Many salespeople use networking as a way to get in front of prospects. But what most salespeople miss is that networking must be targeted in order to be truly effective. Be highly intentional about where you’re networking and what your goal is when you’re actually networking.
There are two forms of networking. There’s networking with your prospects at trade associations or similar groups where your prospects are members. Then, there’s networking in groups within your own industry where you might be able to connect with people who could possibly connect you to other folks. That’s good, but not as good as targeted networking where your prospects are. This is why you should really be specific and intentional about networking.
Tip #12: Publish articles.
A lot of salespeople tell me, “I don’t have time to write an article!” Fine. Then hire a writer who will actually write it for you—but you give the writer your ideas to use. Now that you’ve got these articles, you’re an author. Share the articles with your prospects. Articles don’t feel salesy. They’re not like a brochure. Articles have useful information. They have insight. And they’re something that your prospects are actually looking forward to reading. If you publish articles and then share them, you’ll get on prospects’ radar that much more effectively.
Tip #13: Host private events.
Host private events where you invite your prospects and your top clients to come. Make it an exclusive event at a venue that seems important, like the Ritz or a University Club. Bring everyone together and give them valuable content at the event. You might speak yourself, or you might invite an outside speaker to keynote the event. You’ll be amazed by how many people really want to come to something if it feels exclusive and valuable.
Tip #14: Sell deeper.
What about the business that you already have? Are you spending enough time digging into your clients’ world? Understanding how you could be better at helping them? Sell deeper to your existing clients. A lot of salespeople close a sale and then immediately say “OK, I’ve got to close the next prospect.” Don’t do that. Don’t overlook your existing clients. They’re already there. They already like you. They already know you. How can you sell more deeply to those folks?
Tip #15: Partner up.
Identify other organizations that sell to the same types of prospects that you do, but aren’t your competitors. Partner up with them. Identify people that could recommend you to prospective clients, and you could do the same for them. Partner up with them. Create mutually beneficial relationships that can help you generate more sales leads while helping others do the same.
So, there you have it. Those are 15 ways to generate sales leads—and tons of ‘em. I want to hear from you. Which of these ideas did you find most useful? Be sure to share below in the comment section to get involved in the conversation.
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About the Author Marc Wayshak
Marc is is the best-selling author of three books on sales and leadership, including the highly acclaimed titles Game Plan Selling, The High-Velocity Sales Organization and his forthcoming book, Sales Conversations, Mastered.
Marc is a contributor to Inc, HubSpot, Fast Company, Entrepreneur Magazine, and Huffington Post Business. He also hosts a popular YouTube channel on sales strategy with over 103,000 subscribers.
Marc helps thousands of people his data-driven, science-based approach to selling that utilizes all the best tools available to sales organizations today.