Great salespeople are always on the lookout for leads and are weighing each lead against a list of criteria to see which leads are the better leads. This happens in organizations where salespeople are responsible for generating all their own leads and in those where some leads are provided to the salespeople.
Leads are good, but even better if they are good leads. One trick you can use as a salesperson to make sure your leads are better leads is to look more for opportunities as opposed to just looking for leads. We like to say that it’s more powerful to search for opportunities than it is to search for prospects.
Look for Opportunities, Not Just Leads
How do you do this? Don’t spend all your prospecting time just searching databases that show the company name, the leaders, total revenue, etc. There is nothing wrong with any of that activity, but when you're relying only on this information what you really have is a suspect: someone you suspect could be a prospect.
If you spend some time reading trade journals, business publications, blogs, and other sources of business insights, you will spot some opportunities. Someone selling small business insurance will benefit from reading articles about local companies that are expanding. Someone selling sponsorships for a local sports franchise will be quite interested to read an article about a heating and air company expanding from commercial into residential. If you sell search solutions and other digital marketing tools, you will spot opportunities by reading a local business journal to see what types of industries are taking out the most business loans in your marketplace.
Don’t just hope that the suspects you have identified will be good prospects. Search for opportunities to greatly increase the likelihood that you have a solid lead.