Sales
LEAD GENERATION

The Key to Sales Success!
by Marc Beauchamps

   "One who has a thing to sell, and goes and whispers in a well, is not so apt to get the dollars, as one who climbs a tree and hollers"

Chinese Proverb

   One of the critical components of any business is lead generation. To be successful in the financial services industry it's paramount that you develop and maintain a successful lead program. You may have the best price, best equipment, best service package and hottest application; but if you don't have a prospect to whom to sell, all your hard work will be of no avail.
   The first step is to develop a prospecting plan that will generate sufficient leads to reach your sales goals. Don't know where to start? Just drop me an email, I'll send you an Income Goal Sheet that will assist in determining your contact and sales ratios. Regardless of the tactics you employ make sure they fit your personality and individual selling style. If you know you're not going to cold call, don't lie to yourself, develop an alternate strategy.
   Here are several commonly used methods to generate solid prospects.

  • Cold Calling
  • Telemarketing
  • Joint Ventures
  • Direct Mail
  • Referrals
  • Niche Marketing (i.e. restaurants)
  • Lead Companies
  • Free Promotions or Giveaways
  • Internet Websites
  • Association Endorsements
  • Chamber Meetings
  • Lead Exchange Groups
  • Civic Groups
  • Seminars
  • Print Media
  • Free Reports, Free Newsletters
  • Trade Shows
  • Local Newspapers

   We don't have room to cover all of these in this column, but in my opinion the four most successful strategies for outside salespeople are; Cold Calling, Telemarketing, Joint Ventures and Direct Mail. Lets review each strategy.

Cold Calling

   I speak with many successful salespeople still using cold calling as their main lead source. There are approximately 50,000 new businesses opening per week in the United States and millions of existing merchants upon whom to call. Many salespeople are leading with a value- added product for the initial contact rather than bankcard services. By leading with check processing, gift cards, time & attendance, legal age verification, debit and/or prepaid products you have the opportunity to peak interest and establish a new relationship. Once you're in the door the odds of converting their merchant processing business is increased ten fold.

Telemarketing

   The telephone is still one of the best business tools available. Telemarketing enables you to utilize your time in a more efficient manner; many more prospects may be reached over the phone than by face-to-face contact. In addition, if you're working a specific niche, telemarketing allows you to target market much more effectively. If you are averse to cold calling hire a telemarketer to set appointments; this lets you concentrate on what you do best, sell. Make sure you are aware of all the legal regulations involved with telemarketing.
   Here are several sources for telemarketing leads:

Joint Ventures

   In my opinion joint ventures are the best lead source. It's so much easier to work with a merchant that's been recommended or referred by a strategic business partner than go in cold. By aligning yourself with a company that services your target customer, your sales distribution channel is increased at little or no additional cost.
   If selling to a niche market like restaurants, form joint venture partnerships with all vendors that service those merchants. Partner with menu planners, restaurant equipment distributors, consultants, software developers, liquor distributors, restaurant associations, property managers, sign manufacturers, and security sales people. Exchange leads with your partners it's a win-win for everybody.
   Here are some potential partners:

  • Advertising Reps
  • Alarm System Companies
  • CPA's
  • Consultants
  • Financial Planners
  • Internet Hosting Companies
  • Insurance Agents
  • Local Banks
  • MLM Distributors
  • Newspapers
  • Office Equipment Reps
  • Payroll Sales Reps
  • Printing Companies
  • Restaurant Sales Reps
  • Sign Companies
  • Software Sales Companies
  • Telecom Sales Reps
  • Trade Journals
  • Web Site Designers
  • Yellow Page Reps
  • Equipment Manufacturers
  • Associations
Direct Mail

   Although over utilized in many markets, direct mail can still be a good lead generator. The easiest route is to target new businesses with a postcard mailing. Always use 4-color, it is well worth the additional cost. The key to direct mail success is advertising copy. Remember this acronym AIM:

  • A   Get Their ATTENTION
  • I    Peak Their INTEREST
  • M   MOTIVATE them to Act

   Another tool is a pre-approach letter. A pre-approach letter introduces your company and product line to potential prospects. Always follow a pre-approach letter with a phone call. This strategy works well when targeting niche markets, but the cost is higher. Keep close tabs on response rates and closing ratios in order to calculate you return on investment.
   Lead generation is a vital part of your sales success. Always combine several lead generation strategies and you will never be without a prospective customer.