Did you know that your chances of making a sale go up a gazillion percent when the prospect actually asks to be contacted by you? Of course you knew that! So how do you make this happen?
Prospecting is Dead
First, let’s take a look at the traditional prospecting funnel:
- Find leads.
- Call them… and call them… and call them… until you get an appointment.
- Check in with them again… and again… until they are ready to buy.
With the advent of technology, it’s getting harder to break through—and easier to be blocked. Tools like caller ID, voicemail, and email filtering all stand in the way of easy access, not to mention that there are more people vying for the prospect’s attention these days. I’m not saying traditional prospecting can't work, because it does—it just takes much longer than in the past. But there is another way.
Long Live Prospecting!
Twenty-first century prospecting looks a little bit different. Instead of calling, and calling, and calling, you now have the ability to set yourself (and your business) up to be a magnet that actually attracts new prospects to you. The prospecting funnel now looks like this:
- Qualified lead criteria (lead scoring) is established.
- Leads come to you (because of inbound marketing, which includes, but is not limited to: content marketing, social media, search engine optimization, and blogging) and they are weighed against the lead criteria.
- Qualified leads that are sales-ready (Sales Qualified Leads, or SQLs) go to the sales department.
- Leads that are not sales-ready go into a nurturing campaign until they become sales-ready.
Another advantage of this strategy is that you and your business can obtain a position of thought leadership. This is what establishes you as an expert and makes prospects want to contact you. You are the expert. You are no longer just a name in their missed calls, or filed into their junk mail, but you are an expert that they seek out for business advice—and someone they want to do business with. Not someone that they want to avoid at all costs.
Inbound marketers often use the expression, “Content is KING!” If this is true, and your content is what strengthens the magnetic pull that brings prospects to you (in droves)—then context is GOD. The context that you use to nurture those leads is what helps prepare the leads to be handed to sales.
Everyone loves a good quality call-in. If you're still not convinced inbound marketing is for you, you might think of it as a way to increase the number of good quality call-ins your business receives.