A Customer is someone who buys from you - once. A Friend is someone who buys from you more than once. And an Advocate is a customer who buys repeatedly from you and sends you referrals. And referrals are your best source of new business.The process of converting suspects to prospects, prospects to customers, customers to friends and friends to advocates is called the sales pipeline, sales cycle or sales funnel. View prospecting as an integral part of your sales pipeline. Make friends with marketing. It is their job to generate leads. However, you must also do your own prospecting.Generate your own leads through speaking at industry events, conducting a webinar, doing your own email blast, asking your best customers for referrals, writing a newsletter or blog, engaging suspects in a conversation on social media and cold calling. Experiment to see which combination works best for you. Remember to coordinate with marketing so that your prospects hear you as one voice.Start a conversation with prospects on Twitter, LinkedIn or other sites. Your immediate objective is to generate interest, not to inform the customer of your products' features. Set goals for yourself to trigger the self-fulfilling prophecy phenomenon. Increase your prospecting not out of fear, not in a panicky, impulsive flurry of phone calls, but in a confident, methodical way.
Set aside at least an hour a day for prospecting. Segment your accounts by grouping them according to geography, industry or size. Aim for 50 - 75 phone calls a day. Expect to reach 6-8 qualified prospects a day. You goal is to make appointments with 50%, or 4 prospects and close 25% of those. For most industries, there are similar sales ratios to work with. Stay in touch with prospects over a long sales cycle through web conferences that update customers on industry news, product changes, certification issues, pricing changes or promotions.Reach out to new people every single day - no matter what. No one ever gets too successful to prospect. It's quite the opposite; daily commitment to prospecting is what makes long term success possible. Begin to create a sense of urgency as you prospect. Momentum and a sense of urgency are necessary conditions for closing sales, and it starts with your first contact with your prospect. Remember that your goal for the initial phone call is to get an appointment. In most cases you need to be face-to-face with your prospect to make a consultative sale.