Fill your sales pipeline without cold calling.
Most salespeople at one point or another complain that they hate cold calling. But what if your industry legally prohibited cold calling as a means of generating prospects? How would you fill your pipeline? In this episode we answer a question from a listener in just that situation. Pay attention because there are lead generation lessons here for everyone.
Lindsay, a sales professional from the United Kingdom wrote us with this question:
I have just finished studying CeMap in preparation for getting started as a mortgage advisor. Under the current Financial Services Authority here in the U.K., the mortgage market is currently heavily regulated, and during the course of my studies, it was mentioned in the course work that cold calling is banned (where cold calling is defined as calling anyone, where the client has not requested or arranged to be called back). So under the definitions provided, calls can only be made to prospects where they have initiated the sale by requesting an appointment/information, or if they are a current client, and you are providing a follow up sale. So I am curious as to any tips on how to generate prospects in the market that doesn't involve making cold calls.
Lindsay, if you’ve listened to this podcast long enough or read my articles on the subject you know that I advocate a balanced approach to prospecting. This means, based on your industry, territory, and tenure in your position you develop a prospecting system that includes measured amounts of cold calling, referrals, networking, trade shows, advertising, and direct mail.
Generally when a salesperson is new to a territory or industry the balance becomes heavily weighted with cold calling because this is the fastest way to put new prospects into the sales pipeline. Unfortunately, due to industry regulations this core prospecting methodology is not available which means, for you, getting started in the mortgage industry will be an uphill battle which will require patience and persistence.
Because of your particular situation the key to success will be getting people to call you. There are several ways to make this happen.
Advertising. It is likely that any mortgage provider organization you join will be doing some type of advertising to generate leads. If not you will want to research where and how you can advertise. Consider consumer real estate magazines, direct mail, display advertising, and online search engine based advertising. Just be careful to comply with industry regulations in all of your advertising.
Trade Shows. Trade shows, festivals and home shows can be a powerful way to generate leads without cold calling. Just set up a booth, develop a fun give-a-way or raffle, and collect the names and numbers of people who give you permission to call them.
Develop an Online Presence. An important part of your lead generation strategy will be your online presence. Trust me when I say that you are going to get Googled. This is the Age of Transparency and people are going to check you out. The important thing here is to manage the information they get when they find you. Set up professional profiles on the major social networking engines like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and SalesGravy.com. Set up your own website with a professional picture of yourself and a blog where you can write about mortgage related issues.
Referrals. Your most powerful prospecting tool will be referrals. For you there will basically be three kinds – personal referrals, customer referrals and professional referrals.
Personal referrals come from friends, family and acquaintances. These are people who know you and are willing to send prospects your way. Be sure to let your personal connections know that you are in the mortgage business and (this is critical) keep letting them know so they don’t forget about you.
Customer referrals come from folks you have helped get mortgages. The critical task here is developing a systematic process for both asking for referrals after closing and maintaining long-term contact with these former clients so they think about you first when one of their friends are family members needs a mortgage.
Professional referrals come from others in the real estate and financial services industry. To generate these referrals you must form relationships with and become a resource to the professionals who service potential home buyers. Real Estate agents don’t get paid until their clients obtain a mortgage and close on the home. These Real Estate agents are eager to connect their clients with lenders like you who can help them quickly qualify for and get a mortgage. The more of these relationships you can build the greater your prosperity will be. The key here though is taking a long-term, patient approach to networking and relationship building.
Striking a balanced approach to prospecting is the most effective means of filling your sales pipeline no matter your industry product or service. However, you must remember in sales, activity is everything. Unless and until you develop the self-discipline for consistent, daily prospecting activity you will never reach your full earning potential no matter your best intentions. This is Jeb Blount, the Sales Guy. If you have a sales question please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.