How to find prospects who are ready to buy – and what to do with them
Love to grow your sales? Find out how to find prospects who are ready to buy – and discover what to do with them when you do.
As a small business owner, you always have a lot on your plate. You’re constantly running around in circles trying to get everything done at once. And I can often feel that there’s no escape from the hamster wheel you have built for yourself.
To be honest with you, from time to time, I feel just like this dog sitting in a burning room and keep convincing myself that everything’s fine.
It’s simply impossible not to get sucked into this chaos, as I juggle between doing some client work and managing a team of a few employees. And while everything around me is burning and time is running out, I still have to keep searching for new clients.
If you are as busy as me, you also probably don’t have tons of time that you could allocate in the process of searching for prospects. As a result, there is a need for a solution that helps find clients in the right state of mind straight away.
Throughout the years of experience, I found that developing relationships the biggest force behind business success. At Digital Olympus we do relationship-based link-building and, for our business model, social selling is what works best to find ready-to-buy leads.
Relationship-based link-building also resembles a sales process in a way, because it involves lead prospecting, connecting with potential clients in a meaningful way, and then closing the deal with the link.
However, compared to traditional sales, I mostly focus on personalization and solid research, and I believe that it is what helps us connect with our clients.
So, based on my experience with relationship-based link building, I’ve compiled a few tips on how to find and convert leads without spending days and nights.
Building relationships with potential clients is the foundation of every successful sale, so I hope you’ll find application for these practices too.
1) Start with the basics – identify an ideal client
Every business starts with defining the target audience.
In my case, it is someone who has a sustainable business that heavily relies on organic traffic. Our target client knows the impact of SEO and understands how link building can help them.
With this buyer persona in mind, we’ve developed link-building strategies for SaaS businesses and affiliate projects, who are now staying with us for more than one year. So, you could tell that we’re enjoying the outcome of successfully defining our ideal client.
However, many small businesses fail at sales because they make a mistake of targeting everyone at once in hopes of higher income. This approach is too vague and usually has a reverse effect because neither you nor your clients know why they would buy your product.
But sometimes small business owners simply find it hard to identify their ideal client, especially if their product or service caters to audiences with different demographics.
If this is your case, you can experiment with one of these solutions to build your ideal customer profile.
Audience tab in Google Analytics
If you collect insights from your website using Google Analytics, in the Audience tab, you can find information, like age, gender, and location, using which you can form the demographics.
You can also see the percentage of returning visitors, which can help you understand who is interested in your product.
Social media ads
If you’re not on a shoe-string budget, you could create a free template or checklist and then use FB or LinkedIn ads to promote it across various groups of users.
Running an experiment like this can help you understand how different audience segments respond to your ads, and pick the one that has a higher potential to become your ideal buyer.
If running paid ads is currently not an option for you, a joint campaign might be your perfect solution to find prospects that are ready to buy your product or service.
Basically, you need to find a few businesses that should have the right audience among their subscribers and suggest running a joint campaign. You can be in charge of content, while your partners will be responsible for promoting your content.
If I had to choose among these three approaches, I would definitely go with the co-joint campaign, as I’m a fan of everything related to building partnerships. But if you do choose this option, keep in mind that it’s not an easy task to persuade other companies to help you with lead generation.
To make this process go smoother, you need to have an already established personal brand and a significant online presence. In this case, companies will be more inclined to work with you, as you are already considered a quite well-known expert, and have something valuable to offer in return.
2) Put together a list of your potential clients
Once you’ve uncovered what type of clients are your best bet, you need to figure out the resources that can give you access to the list of such companies.
For instance, if I’m looking for potential clients among SaaS companies, any website, like G2 or Capterra, which has lists and reviews of such companies, can be a great starting point.
In case your small business offers digital marketing services to B2B companies, you also could give a try to websites like Crunchbase and ProductHunt.
On Crunchbase, you can find the list of IT and tech companies, and evaluate each company using the information about its total funding amount and the number of investors. These details give you a hint at the size of the company and whether it could be interested in your services.
As for ProductHunt, it is a great tool to catch your potential clients in the moment. There, you can find a list of recently released products, updated every day.
The website users upvote these updates and leave reviews, from which you can gather information on whether a potential client fits your ideal customer profile.
In the image above, you can also see that ProductHunt shares a list of upcoming product releases. It’s a perfect opportunity to find clients that are about to put new products on the market and who might be interested in some additional promotional activities that you could help them out with.
In addition to all the options we already mentioned, you can always turn to LinkedIn for help. It allows you to search for potential clients via a job position or a type of business if you’re using a paid version.
For instance, here are the search results for all people who are holding the position of an SEO manager and are based in the US.
LinkedIn can be a great source to use to extend the list of potential clients. However, there’s a small issue with all those leads.
While these prospects are all relevant, the chances that they need your services right now are quite small. This means that you need to send 10X more messages even to get a reply, let alone close a deal.
Indeed, it can be very frustrating to send hundreds of emails with a low chance of getting any feedback. That’s why it is better to focus on finding the leads that match your ideal client portfolio and are ready to chat about your services because they are interested in them at the moment.
3) Narrow down the list of prospects to find those who are ready to act
While browsing websites with company reviews and LinkedIn profiles helps find potential clients, you still need to make sure that they are in a position to purchase your product or service. So, when including prospects to your list, check if they currently have something you could help them with.
For example, if I find a client that fits our ideal customer profile and has already produced some content, it is a signal that they might be interested in investing in link building. When I see that both these factors are matching, then this lead is the right one for my company.
For sure, this only sounds good in theory. In practice, defining the factors that indicate that a prospect is a good fit is a trial-and-error process.
That being said, if you want to make prospect research go a bit smoother and take less of your time, I highly recommend outsourcing. For instance, you can find freelancers who specialize in lead generation with an hourly rate within your budget and outsource this task to them.
As a result, you will get a clean list of prospects who’re likely to purchase something from you, while saving yourself a good number of hours.
You can also take it one step further and outsource the process of searching for the right person to connect with. This way, a freelancer not only comes up with a list of businesses for a partnership but also finds reliable contacts within these companies, who will maintain communication with you in the future.
If you don’t have the budget for outsourcing right now, you can get a list of companies that might be interested in working with you through your industry groups on Facebook or LinkedIn.
On Facebook, among B2B link builders, we have a popular group called B2B Bloggers. In this group, you can easily find potential clients, who are interested in link building as well, and you won’t have to wait for their response for too long.
Or, if you’re a member of an industry group on LinkedIn, you can also browse group members to find potential prospects.
As LinkedIn profiles often have information about the company and the job position, it makes it easier for you to find the right person to contact. It will surely take some time to do, but the chances that you will close the deal faster are higher.
You already have something in common, as you’re the members of the same industry group, and it impacts the response rate significantly.
4) Connect with your prospects in a meaningful way
Once you have your final list of potential prospects, it’s time to build connections. However, there are a few things to watch out for.
If you decide to go with email outreach, keep personalization in mind. I found that sometimes email outreach done by sales and link builders has one common issue – they are using generalized and overused templates that lack a personalized approach.
That’s why, to succeed with your cold emails, stress out that you did solid research, which led you to a conclusion that the client you’re contacting might be interested in your services.
But if you want to build an even deeper connection with a prospect, switch to the detective mode and try to find additional details about the potential client. It might be one of the following:
- job accomplishments, like launching a new product or starting a new partnership
- the content they’ve created that you liked and shared
- their experience that can relate to the services that you’re offering
It’s never a bad idea to point out that you have something in common, like interests or shared connections. In both cases, it helps you build rapport and makes them feel that you care about them.
If you want to try other outreach methods, it’s always a good idea to connect via social media.
Personally, I prefer to connect on LinkedIn as it makes the whole process faster and easier. But if you want to make it work every time, make sure you add a quick message to let them know why you want to connect with them.
In case you decided to stick to emails, I highly recommend using email tracking solutions to see whether your emails are read or not. Based on this data, you can decide what’s the best way to proceed further e.g., send a follow-up or search for another email.
5) Get the most out of each connection
You won’t be shocked if I tell you that only 1 out of 100 prospects is ready to purchase your services. As for the rest, they might not be ready to work with you due to various reasons, starting from the price issues and ending up with not being a position in hiring you right now.
My business can relate to it as well. We also have a good number of companies within our circles that are interested in our services but are currently not ready to accept our proposal.
In spite of that, there’s still a way to use these not-yet-converted connections by engaging them in the following activities:
Invite your prospects to attend your webinar
This is a super elegant way to prove to them that you’re a true expert in your industry. As a result, your webinar audience will be full of listeners that are truly interested in your topic. And, if they like your webinar, then they will recommend your services to their friends and colleagues.
Yet, it is not an easy way to nurture your prospects. Such a virtual event can benefit your business, but setting up a great webinar requires a solid time investment, as you need to prepare an engaging presentation, write a script, and practice your public speaking skills.
But most importantly, to run a successful webinar, you need proper and reliable software that fits your business needs. If you’re looking for one, I recommend using a list of best webinar software options with a piece-by-piece analysis, put together by my friend Adam Enfroy.
G2 is another place where you can find a detailed overview of the most popular webinar software based on real user feedback. If you take a quick look at the image below, you can see that, among the leading webinar software options, G2 lists GotoWebinar and Zoom, the latter being my personal favorite.
Suggest they join your online course
Another sophisticated way to engage your not-yet-converted prospects is to invite them to participate in your online course. In the process of learning, they will not only obtain valuable knowledge but will also put it to practice right away.
But just as with webinars, creating an online course is a time-consuming task. You’ll have to find the time and manage your budget to develop not one, but several presentations for your classes, create didactic material, and, of course, find the fitting platform to use for your course and the equipment to record the videos.
Once you have your online course ready, there are several ways you can market it to your potential clients.
You could start by sending a pre-course email and include their emails in the list of subscribers. Make sure the email includes a general description of the course, key speakers, dates, and whether the course is free or paid. Don’t forget to finish your email with a CTA button to enable quick subscriptions:
If you’re afraid that your email ends up in the Spam folder, you can turn to social media for help and share an update about the course on your profile.
You can also take it one step further and increase the number of potential participants by posting this update in the industry group:
Create a private group or slack channel
Even though these contacts might not be your clients yet, it doesn’t mean that there is no place for them in your community.
Your prospects might not be interested in hiring you right now, but they are most likely following your activity online, that’s why it makes perfect sense to invite them to join in on the fun.
One way you could do that is by creating a private group on Facebook or LinkedIn and sending your prospects an invitation to become a member.
If you’re not a fan of social media groups, you can take advantage of a business communication platform and create a channel there. For instance, on Slack, you can create a private group only for your prospects by adding them via their email address:
As a result, each of your prospects will get a similar email with an invitation to join the group:
This is a great solution to share exclusive offers, updates, as well as information about your upcoming online courses or webinars.
Over to you
The search for prospects that are ready to buy from you is a real journey, and to embark on it, you should be prepared well.
First, you need to know who you are looking for. If you identify your ideal client right away, it will make your search easier and will guide you throughout the entire process.
Once you have the rough number of potential clients figured out, you will have to narrow it down to those prospects that are currently interested in working with you. Connect with them in a meaningful way and build rapport before you offer your services.
And, if they are not ready for the partnership yet, don’t give up on them. Make them worthy members of your community by inviting them to private groups, offer to participate in your online courses and webinars. This way, they will surely think of you first when they need your services.
Written by Alexandra Tachalova.
Photo by Daria Shevtsova.