Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
Cheers to the New Year! Now that the holidays are finally behind us, we can focus on making more money in 2022 with more high-quality sales appointments, which I believe are the only ways of truly hitting sales goals. The challenge is, of course, finding these appointments and getting them locked-in, because you can be the best salesperson around, but without quality leads that convert to appointments that ultimately convert to sales, you’ve got nothing.
1. Solicit social media influencer shout outs
Social media is ever-growing, and I’ve found that the easiest way to grow a social media audience is to ask an influencer for a shout out. It’s important, however, to determine if your influencer has been verified by a social media platform (such individuals and companies will have some sort of a verification check mark next to their name). That said, some aren’t verified, yet still have a large and loyal following (you’ll have to direct-message or private-message them to ask). Unfortunately, these people get messaged daily by those pitching them products or services, so it may take time and multiple attempts to get them to see your query. Once seen, it may then take some bartering of services or money to get the shout out, but believe me, that is the easiest and fastest way to get found on social media.
2. Ask for introductions
This one is a bit more difficult and takes some patience. Say you wish to meet someone who is an acquaintance of your friend. The first step is asking that friend, “How well do you know X [the acquaintance]?” The second is being in the same room as both your friend and this person, and finally asking your friend, “Can you please introduce me to X?”
Sometimes, you can get away with just a phone call or email introduction if there is some value there for all parties, but most of the time you’ll have to wait until there is an event that both your friend and their acquaintance will attend. Another option is hosting an event and asking your friend to personally invite or bring this person with them.
Related: How to Up-Level Yourself as a Realtor
3. Regularly attend targeted networking events
If I want to meet wealthy individuals looking to purchase million-dollar homes, I’m going to need to go where they are going to be, or at least be around people who can refer me to them. To be successful at networking, you have to be a regular at events; this is something that no one really tells you, but is the secret to networking, and where most salespeople fall short.
Local networking events can be found on Facebook, Meetup and LinkedIn, and if you can’t find one that works for you, start your own event and invite people who have large spheres of influence. Having those who attend also post pictures and/or share the event on social media also helps grow a circle of contacts.
4. Sell to your existing client database
This is easily the most often overlooked area in sales. As salespeople, we’re trained to prospect for new business, but how about selling to existing clients? If they purchased once from you, chances are they’ll do so again. Some people send birthday and holiday cards, while others mail gifts or personally knock on doors and visit. Some hold client appreciation events like dinners or movie nights.
Selling to existing clients will certainly involve time and effort. Some people have an employee tasked with it, while others are naturally great with gifts and visiting.
Related: How Networking Is Necessary for Effective Entrepreneurship
5. Partner up
It can be very helpful to network with others who sell to the same types of prospects that you do, but who you don’t compete against. For instance, mortgage loan officers and divorce attorneys are my ideal partners, because most people need to get qualified for a mortgage loan in order to purchase a home, while others hire divorce attorneys to sort out separation of assets, which might involve selling their home.
After you identify people who can recommend you to prospective clients, you’ll need to do the do the same for them. Partnering with like-minded people with whom you can have a mutually beneficial relationship can create a synergy that results in great leads. Just remember to refer leads back to your partner: one-sided relationships don’t work.
6. Publish articles
Nothing screams “expert” more than your own published article in a major publication. Most people will skip over this one because they feel they don’t have enough time or that they’re not good at writing. Both of these excuses might be valid, but if I can do it, so can you — it just may take a bit longer to reach the outcome you seek. I started writing monthly client newsletters (back when people use to read emails), then I moved on to writing my own blog, then to submitting to lower-tier online magazines. Outside of podcasts and speaking, this is the best way to flex your experience.
Related: Want to Be Published on Entrepreneur? Here’s How You Can Avoid Common Writing Mistakes and Become Your Editor’s Best Friend.
7. Become a speaker
The next level up from publishing is public speaking — in my opinion the ultimate in being labeled as an expert in your field. Depending on who you know and how popular you are, getting on stage can be easy, but it may start by speaking at events that fewer people have heard of, or which take place in further-flung parts of the country. Getting your foot in the door might require asking event promoters and being a back-up on speaker to get your shot (unless you’re amazing on stage or have a large following), but the payoffs are considerable.