Generating sales leads is not the sole responsibility of the marketing department.

For many salespeople, if they had to wait for marketing to generate leads, they would wind up suffering a slow death.

The problem is how to generate leads.  For many salespeople this is one of the biggest problems they deal with.

Salespeople all know the power of referrals from existing customers and how these can be some of their best leads.   Unfortunately, too few salespeople have a plan to get referrals on an ongoing basis from their customers.

A lead generation strategy I recommend for use with existing customers is what I call the “3 Blitz Referral/Lead Strategy.”

The way it works is you block out 3 time periods each year to blitz your existing customer base for referrals.  Each of the three periods is targeted around a particular strategy.

Here is how to generate new leads with a process you use on an annual basis:

In the month of February or March, contact all of your accounts and simply state something like, “Here at ________, we’re having a referral blitz and I’m contacting each of my accounts to ask them for the names of others who I might be able to talk with.”

The approach is very straightforward and works surprisingly well.  When customers are told upfront what the salesperson wants, they often are more appreciative and helpful than if the salesperson beats around the bush while asking for something.

The next round of blitzing occurs in the summer.

When you contact each of your customers this time, you focus on thanking them for their business and asking them about how your company’s level of customer service has been.

Your objective here is to get them to realize the quality you provide them and, in so doing, to get them to talk about it.  Immediately after you thank them for their comments, ask them for the names of others who would benefit from the same service.

Your final round of lead blitzing occurs in the November/December timeframe. Again, you contact each customer.

The focus this time is purely to network and wish them the best for the holidays (depending on when exactly you call them). Many times calls during this time of year will become very personal as people tend to be more relaxed.

Don’t forget to use calls at this time of year to find out about their plans for the upcoming year.

Again, this is an opportunity to ask the person with whom you are talking for the names of companies and individuals you may contact who could benefit from what you offer.

Keeping the pipeline full is essential. The challenge is then magnified by keeping the pipeline full with not just names but great names.  This is why I like tapping into existing customers for leads.

Typically the best leads a salesperson will get will come in the form of referrals from existing customers.

How to generate new leads?  Well, the “3 Blitz Referral/Lead Strategy” certainly can’t hurt!

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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