When people think of sales, a particular image usually comes to mind. A person sitting at their desk, phone in hand, dialing numbers and giving their pitch to whoever answers the line. Anyone who works in sales, however, knows this is far from reality.

Sales is a strategic industry. You have to know who you’re selling to, what they need to hear and where to find them. That’s why prospecting is such a big aspect of the sales process. If you know how to successfully find qualified leads, then you’ll boost your sales and client base. Let’s take a closer look at a few ways you can master prospecting.

Know Your Buyer 

The key to sales prospecting is to know who you’re looking for. Identifying your target audience and creating a prospect profile will help you zero in on people who need your product and will be receptive to your sales pitch. 

There are a few details your profile should include:

  • demographic information
  • income level
  • primary personality traits
  • biggest problem in life
  • obstacles to solve that problem
  • why they need your product or service

You can use your existing customer database to help answer these questions. Sift through your contacts to see what they have in common. You can also look at your top five customers and use them as a template for an ideal customer.

Use Email

Phone calls are an excellent sales tactic if you’ve had previous contact with a lead. But cold calling people from your contact list is not always as fruitful as you’d hope. This is where you should leverage the power of email marketing.

As you collect lead information from your company website, you’ll have an entire list of people’s emails. Use them! You can start email nurture campaigns to help guide them through the customer journey and keep your brand top of mind. Always include a call to action that links back to your landing page so they can purchase at any moment.

End that nurture campaign with a powerful sales email to close the deal. At this point, you’ve created a relationship with that lead and they’re much more likely to engage with you than if you’d just picked up the phone.

Ask for Referrals

Too often salespeople will close a deal and simply walk away. What you don’t realize is that you’re leaving quality leads on the table. The best way to effectively prospect new leads is to ask for referrals.

You don’t need any official form or online submission to this, either. You can simply hand them a business card and ask them to send their friends your way. This is especially powerful if you’ve created a strong, trusting relationship with that client. They’ll happily provide social proof to other interested businesses, which gets more people interested in your service.

Leverage Content

A great way to help educate prospects during the sales process is to use your existing content. This could be social media posts, blogs, white pages or anything else that offers more information about a service they’re interested in.

To do this, however, you need to have an active online presence. Keep your social media channels active, regularly publish blogs and have a handful of lead generators that help move prospects to the next stage in their customer journey.

If you’re lacking helpful content, start making that a priority. You can take stock of common questions your customers ask, misunderstandings about your business or even general information about your services. All of these topics can be leveraged in the sales process both for people in your pipeline and as a way to reach out leads that have gone stale.

Prospecting is a tough part of sales. But if you have the right process and research in place, you’ll easily find qualified leads who are excited to discuss your services. Use these four tips to improve your prospecting and start closing deals!