Prospecting for business is a vital tool that creates leads and activity then hopefully is converted into business opportunity – if it’s done right. Great operators have prospecting and lead generation well sorted and sales flow as a result.
Over the years a business collects a great amount of data about its clients and suppliers, but often they fail to capitalise on what’s lying dormant in digital systems. Data mining can be a very profitable initiative that every enterprise should employ to discover patterns and trends. Off the back of this create a tailored followup program with personalised calling.
Let’s for a moment consider this example… all people that attend open homes with particular characteristics are recorded for 12 months:
Data mining for Lead Generation
Open homes per week
Total for 12 months
Average number of parties attending each one
Total number of parties attending open homes
If you managed a conversion rate of only 5% on this example at $12,000 each there’s a staggering $1.26 million of potential business ready for you to uncover!
Peter Adams is just one of our thought leaders at INK Consulting Associates
You need a database to help maintain the relationships of your past and potential clients. You need to ensure you are being kept front of mind for when people need to call on your services. Leaving it to chance or thinking people will just remember you, isn’t enough. Constant, regular contact is important, as is choosing the right system in which to capture your data and then work it.
If starting from scratch, you need to look at the network around you, who do you have currently in your email address book and phone contacts? Think of the sports groups/Community Groups/Networking opportunities. You can start by introducing yourself to the other businesses around the village that you are based in and include the professional sector of Solicitors, banks, Accountants, Doctors. It’s all about networking and becoming known around your area. Once you have collated all the information, make sure you take the time to enter the data cleanly and correctly – the most common method of capturing data is on an excel spreadsheet – this can then be easily imported into most CRM (Client Relationship Management) systems.
Another thing to consider when looking choosing a system, is how easily can I access it from my mobile devices. Does it come with an APP? Can I log in remotely? Does the information synchronize so if I enter it into one device, will it update to the others?Cutting down on double – entering data is what you’re looking for as this will make you more efficient and minimize on errors as well as having it available to you 24/7 on a mobile APP.
The other feature you need to consider is how easily you can create newsletters, marketing material, Just Listed, Recently Sold, Auction Invites etc and can you filter your database so you can send relevant information to specific people. Gone are the days of blanket marketing your database. Get creative – send content specific material of what’s important to your clients out to them.You also want to have the ability to make and save notes, set tasks and store information so you can start to form a history around each person and hopefully a long lasting relationship, which is the key to a great database.
One of the key areas and the importance of a database or CRM in your business is its ability to drive a system and process that makes your business more effective and also successful. The database system that you choose has to have some key components:
Online – The ability to access your database system online or from wherever you are, provides you the ability to interact and always have it close to you in your day to day business activities. This information on your database can make working with clients so much easier and ensuring that you have the right information at your fingertips.
Access – Accessing your database via mobile phone, laptop, in the office or on the road is really important to ensure that you can see clearly what your process and opportunities for new business are but also how to create connection with as many of your customers as possible. Having the right system with great access makes life so much easier.
Mobile – Database systems and CRMs are now developing in such a way that they can be used on mobile devices whether it is a tablet or smart phone. It will enable you to have access to your data in an easy to use format while you are on the go. Make sure that this mobility provides you with the support you need.
Ensuring you have a system that you use will save you time and create consistency. Having a regular calling structure to connect with your customers from your database is so important. Set it up so that it provides you with a list of clients to call every week.
It is important that your system allows you to be able to update client information quickly and easily. In some cases now the database systems are enabling the customer to enter into your database (in a secure environment) to be able to update their personal information.
Remember that your database system has to have the ability for ongoing development. We see often clients who have committed to a particular database that has not evolved over time leaving them commercially vulnerable as competitors move in new directions.
Try and use a database system that enables you to develop clear businesses processes that your team can follow to create consistency. These processes also should deliver the customer a consistent and reliable experience that meets and preferably exceeds their expectation.
Here are some key items that need to be considered in selection of your database:
What will create an asset to the business and grow enterprise value;
Ensure data that is collected is as comprehensive as possible right from the start. Spend some time developing your data list;
Use the database to drive your day to day activity through developing tasks and events. The database should provide reporting to summarise your activity and provide a level of accountability. Ensure the system provides for easy import and exporting of system data to enable the data to be used externally when required. Note: Please ensure that data security is thought about.
In choosing the right system, ensure that consideration is made as to the potential needs and uses of the system in the future.
In a world where technology and it’s portability has become so important to our lives, one of the key areas that is now being reviewed and consistently looked at is database systems and how they become the Customer Relationship Management program for your business’s future. These days business is consistently about how we interact with our customers so they remain current and available to your network of clients, which is simply vital. The database system allows us to collect information on the client but also record the client interactions and future transactions. This data and history that we collect on our customer is what allows us to develop an ongoing relationship and be appropriate and current in all conversations we have with them. Your database now has to be a major component of your business and requires some investment in both money and time to make it work effectively.
Consider this: Look at the number of clients and contacts you currently have on your database system and then check the number of people that you currently have on your mobile phone. It is always important to think every time we meet a new customer or person and we collect their phone number on our mobile phone that this information needs to be transferred into our database system so that we can enhance and build on the relationship using the tools available in that system.
In sales, because of the further development of electronic communication tools such as text messaging, emails and Facebook, many people have moved away from the tried and tested and proven communication tool, the telephone.
The use of the telephone and creating a call to a prospect or an opportunity allows you to create a personal connection with that client that no electronic means will provide.
We know that if we can make personal contact with a potential or opportunity, the ability for us to listen to the client’s situation, understand their needs and then propose some potential solutions, helps them feel that we care and that there is a person involved in the transaction.
Because of many salespeoples’ reliance on electronic mediums there is also a reluctance to call.
This reluctance or fear of calling is a key factor in most salespeople’s inability to make the required number of calls per day.
We have to investigate why these fears or this nervousness is happening and create clear solutions to enable these calls to be made.
Once the initial fears are overcome and confidence builds, creating more and more calls to prospects becomes easy.
These new prospects are either added to your database as future opportunities or appointments are secured from that initial information and discussion.
It is simple and clear that you just have to make your calls. Putting a simple call script in place to give you some key pointers for discussing your client’s true wants and needs will help you create solutions that enable the transaction to happen.
Here are the top 5 things you can do to help develop your database.
Update all the contact information you currently hold for everyone on your database. Of these, their email address and phone number (now most commonly their mobile) are the most important as this is most likely how you will stay in touch with them.
Grow your list. Add new prospects, people who may be interested in what you have to offer. The more people you communicate with, the more you will be able to turn prospects into customers.
Learn how to make the most of your existing systems so they can do tasks which would take you hours manually. Many simple tasks can be automated nowadays through the existing software on our computers, so find out what yours can do to save you time and money.
Uncover the gaps in your systems. What do you want or need to do (or your competitors are already doing) that your current system can’t? Use the upcoming holiday downtime to research new systems or software that you can install and have up and running by the time the new year kicks in.
Spend some time looking at what other people in your industry are doing. Are they using Adwords, Facebook adverts or other forms of online advertising to bring in new business? Are they using their Facebook business pages or their LinkedIn profiles to improve their credibility and get noticed? There are many more online opportunities than most of us realise so take some time to look at what’s available so you can make use of them in 2017!
One of the main benefits of a CRM system is that it can help you maintain contact with your customers and prospects.
We all know we need to be in touch with our customers on a regular basis but it is often a task that gets put on the back-burner, especially when we are busy. But it is very important if you want to uncover the goldmine hiding in your database, and turn your prospects into customers.
One way to ensure that you actually achieve your communications objectives is to put together a plan for 12-months ahead. It can be as simple as detailing the communication to be sent out and the contacts to be made, such as personal phone calling. Decide how you are going to communicate with your clients – phone, email, newsletter etc – and determine how often. (Read our guest blog below for more on this.)
When planning your communications, think about the resources you have at your disposal and what you will need to buy in. For example, do you believe you can competently write, design and deliver a newsletter using MailChimp? If not, you will need help. Factor the time and the cost of what you are doing into your planning.
Creating a plan is a key task at the beginning of each year so you have a clear outline of what you will be doing to contact and keep in touch with your network of clients and potential clients.
You may not realise it but within your business lies an untapped goldmine. This goldmine is your database. Are you exploiting it to its full potential?
Most businesses do not and that means they are leaving money on the table. Money that is likely going to their competitors.
Don’t let that be you!
While your database may be one of your biggest assets, in order to turn the static information it contains into a goldmine, you need a customer relationship management system or CRM.
Think of it is like this: your database is a record of your past transactions while a customer relationship management system is a tool to develop your future business.
A CRM will help you grow your business by building in-depth relationships with your customers. It is a system of tools, technologies and procedures – available as a software program – for managing, improving or facilitating sales and other interactions with customers, prospects and business partners.
Many businesses have a database of their past transactions but do not look toward the future by putting in place a customer relationship or contact management system.
So, a good plan for this month, especially this time of year, is to spend time developing a CRM.
There are many software systems available but before you sign up for one it is very important to first identify what you need your system to do. Only then should you research the different options to find the right one that meets your highest number of needs.
To find the right one, ask your business contacts what they use and do some online research. Check out the negative reviews as well as the positive ones so you can find out what the pitfalls are before you commit.