Remember the good old days in sales? All you needed was a telephone (landline, wired, of course), a pile of bought-in leads, and the confidence that yes, you could pick up the phone, convince somebody that your product or service was better than everybody else’s, put the phone down and write your sale on the whiteboard in thick marker pen. It was SO much simpler back then, don’t we just yearn for the cold call days once again, in this over-complicated, social media-driven world?
To put it bluntly, no. And what’s more: the salesman who tells you that they do has exposed himself as a non-threat. He’s either tired of the sales world and ready to move on, or simply lacks the necessary skill or drive to adapt to the industry in the new, ultra-connected world.
A landscape built for marginal gains
Lead generation has changed considerably, even in the time we younger generation have been in the game. There are seemingly countless channels and mediums in which to communicate with your existing and potential customers. Indeed there has never been so much choice. Or it is a choice at all? Sure, it’s great having the flexibility, but soon enough you may feel obliged to use every communications tool available to you, because if you’re not, you can be damn sure somebody else will be.
More than ever, your relationship with a potential client begins before you actually speak to them. It’s your silent sales pitch that speaks the loudest: your reputation, and indeed pitch lives in your efforts on digital channels, and social media in particular. If you’re approaching leads on Facebook Messenger, better make sure your company page is up to scratch. Your prospective customer is checking you out while you’re typing your next message to them! Fresh content, stellar testimonials, contact details – all scanned for and judged in just a few seconds. It seems daunting but it’s the marginal gains that are required to succeed in sales in this age.
Choosing your Lead Generation weapon
There’s no magic solution to working out which channels work for you. Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Instagram, Messenger… and that’s before even considering the new Content kids on the block such as Medium and Quora. The modern salesman will be willing dip their toe in the water to see what works for them, and adapt as required. If they don’t, a shark will jump out and drag them under regardless. I’m no different: as an entrepreneur, I’ve run multiple businesses, each one slightly different, with different techniques and channels required to generate leads and make sales. And I don’t stop until I find the answer.
Remember the little black book? Scrap it, you’re going digital with that too. Each potential lead is more than just a name and telephone number: what’s their chosen platform, what are their social media habits, what useful information can you take from their profiles – and most importantly, how is it best to engage with them.
For most salespeople, this method of lead generation is still a new world. And therein, lies the opportunity.