In last month's Sales Clinic column, I discussed the importance of locating leads (suspects) in order to develop those leads into qualified prospects. First, we find a lead through various sources, and then make the phone call to actually determine whether that lead could be a qualified prospect—that is, a person or a group who could do business with you, should they choose to do so. Using a prospect survey sheet that lists questions to ask and the responses will help make the determination.
The first suggestion was using old files to make the phone calls. Following that was the suggestion that the property’s own staff could very well be in a good position to offer leads via their families and connections. Another great opportunity for leads comes from your daily newspaper, where one can find logical sources for businesses, organizations or individuals who may end up being prospects. Carefully read every section of the paper and seek out leads such as companies moving into your area, people with companies being transferred into your area and organizations managing sporting events that would attract sports groups or spectators. Newly engaged couples as described in the social columns of the paper certainly are good leads for wedding events. You might find the names of officers of local associations and organizations or details about their activities, which may be leads for local and regional meetings. Meetings and events being held at other properties in the area are excellent leads for developing prospects for next year’s meeting. Checking out a daily newspaper could generate as many as 100 leads. Just select what look like the most promising leads to call to develop as prospects.
Referral prospecting, or making contact with those prospects already doing business with you, can be very promising. In many cases, satisfied clients would not mind offering you leads, if followed up.
Further, just because a property may be doing business with a company or organization for one particular meeting or event does not mean that’s the end of it. Consideration should be given to seek out other business coming from the same company or organization. Make the inquiry.
If you call a lead that does not become a prospect, determine if they are able to furnish other leads for business. Ask the question.
The best lead of all comes from the telephone inquiry. This is where we lose some very good leads, but never know about it. It all depends on the way the phone is answered and the questions that need to be asked, as well where the call is transferred. Properties probably lose most of their phone leads by using voicemail to answer calls rather than a real, live, friendly voice.