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To make sales, first you need leads.

To make sales, first you need leads.

It goes without saying you can’t sell something without someone to sell to. Therein lies the rub. How do you find the person to sell to? How do you attract them to your business? Where do you find sales leads?

The curt answer - everywhere

Yes, I’ll concede that not everyone is a customer for everything. But in today’s interconnected world you’re likely only a few people away from someone that does need what you’re selling - or at least knows somebody who does. So it really comes down to networking and seizing every opportunity.

Forget filling your pipeline. Fish in the reservoir.

The process of gathering and qualifying leads has become much more automated and far easier than in the past. Marketing activities can now be funneled to your website where the levels of track-ability, accountability, and quantifiable ROI are unprecedented.

Personalized and tailored landing pages that are tightly integrated to outbound marketing can close the loop. Videos, newsletters, webinars, e-books, and other low-cost incentives can help cajole and coerce prospects to “enter” your lead program. Today, all it takes is the capturing of a name and an email.

It’s why everyone you interact with now has potential to propel sales. Even if they’re not a good fit they can easily forward an email or a web page or share socially – increasing your reach with less effort and investment than it took in the years past. So fish in the reservoir and funnel the big fish into your pipeline. But be sure to catch and release the little fish so they can grow and spawn.

It’s why we preach to our clients - always get their email.

Today’s marketing automation allows your lead nurturing to run mostly on autopilot. But you do have to provide the fuel - or to continue our metaphor - the fish. If you have a retail store, place a container on the counter with some giveaway promotion to gather business cards. Or better yet, setup a kiosk, an iPad, or a computer and have them simply enter their name and email. Offer to “email” them their receipt or more information or coupons - regardless if they purchase.

At every interaction, try to gather at least an email and a name. Teach every salesperson. Augment your P.O.S. software to prompt sales clerks to ask for an email. Today, I’m always surprised when I’m asked for my zip code but not my email. After all, the zip code can usually be gathered via the credit card transaction - but the email must be offered.

It doesn’t matter what business you’re in today. Gather email addresses. From plumbers and hairdressers to car salesmen and dentists - if you want to keep your reservoir stocked with fish, both big and small, gather emails.

Feb 28, 2014
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