Outbound Prospecting: Best Practices for Finding and Reaching New Leads


Prospecting for sales leads often feels a lot like prospecting for gold—it’s a lot of hard work for not much substance. That is, unless you either:

A – Get lucky.


B – Do your homework and learn how to get better at prospecting to find the big gold deposits (leads). 

If you know anything about business and lead generation, you know that luck has very little to do with it. Although it might seem a bit cliché, there’s a great quote from inventor Thomas Edison that fits here:

“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.”

In prospecting, we talk a lot about opportunities, but we’re not talking about luck, happenstance, or a random twist of fate. You have to create the opportunities for your sales team by putting in the work. That’s the entire point of outreach and prospecting. It’s a lot of work, but it’s well worth the effort. 

Of course, you don’t necessarily have to be the one that does the work. The virtual receptionists at Smith.ai can work as your outreach team and provide full support for your outreach campaigns. We’ll help you craft the perfect strategy and even be there to field the leads when they start coming in!

Of course, it’s still a good idea to know the best practices for outbound prospecting. Fortunately, we can help with that, too. Read on to find out how to step up your prospecting game to maximize every single lead opportunity. 

Lead referral programs 

This is one of the best ways to generate leads because it also doesn’t require a lot of work on the part of your sales team. It’s also effective because people listen to their friends and family (and even strangers) when they’re trying to decide which businesses to work with. Plus, your incentives don’t have to be spendy—simple giveaways can be quite effective. 

For example, you might offer a referral program that gives 40% off for the new lead that was referred, and 25% for the referrer, who can refer as many as 10 people, claiming a total of 10 separate discounts. 

Maybe you’ll offer a BOGO special, whether it’s buy one, get one free, or buy one, get one at a discount. This works well when you’re trying to push certain products or services, such as oil changes or another car service. 

Sweepstakes and drawings are a great budget-friendly option. Then, you aren’t really giving individual incentives, so it’s simpler. Plus, one big sweepstakes or prize will still be cheaper than per-referral programs. 

You can search the Internet for examples of great referral programs, ideas for referral program incentives, and other inspiration to help you create yours. 

Make sure your website and CTAs are optimized 

Some of the worst leads to lose are those that simply hit a dead link or saw the wrong CTA on the landing page they hit. If you haven’t already done your SEO, it’s time to get to work. Start with an SEO audit to make sure that you know where things stand. This will make it easier to make a strategy for improvements moving forward. 

If you’ve already done SEO, it might just be your CTAs and banners that aren’t hitting the mark. Consider investing in an A/B testing tool or hiring someone to handle the optimization for you. 

Create unique content 

Today’s customers aren’t interested in being “sold” products or services. They have a need and they will find the best possible companies to fill that need—the way they decide who is “best” includes a serious authority check. One of the best ways that you can create a continuous stream of leads from all kinds of audiences is to create and publish unique content. 

Start a blog where you share information related to your business. If it’s relevant to your industry, publish whitepapers or eBooks and give them away as free resources to your leads. Consider guest blogging and creating content on social media, too, so that your exposure crosses several verticals. 

Offer live chat for your website visitors 

Chatbots are great, but live chat is better. It allows your visitors to reach out to a person directly and instantly. It saves them the hassle of picking up the phone or taking the time to compose an email, and it’s especially helpful for simple inquiries and needs. If you don’t have the resources for hosting a live chat on your own, consider outsourcing to a team like Smith.ai for a team of live chat agents who are available 24/7. 

That way, you can focus on other aspects of your business and if there’s anything that the chat agents can’t handle, they’ll reach out to you so that you can take over and keep the lead moving along in the sales funnel. Live chat also makes it easy for people to get answers to simple questions that might otherwise cause them to just leave because they can’t find what they need. 

Showcase testimonials, reviews, and social proof

Along with all of the other content you share online, other people’s experiences should be high on the list. People like hearing from other people, as mentioned above in the referral program section. When you highlight testimonials or use social proof tools to let people know that others are taking action, you are going to get a lot more attention. Of course, you’re going to say that your company is the best, but when people hear it from others, they’re far more likely to believe it. 

Or, you can let the virtual receptionists at Smith.ai handle the hard work 

At Smith.ai, our virtual receptionists do more than just field phone calls and schedule appointments. We can also act as your outreach team to create and execute outreach campaigns and drive those lead conversions. Whether you’re looking for that support, assistance with lead intake and appointment scheduling, or even a 24/7 answering service, we’ve got you covered. 

To learn more, schedule a consultation or reach out to hello@smith.ai.

Lead Generation
Business Education
Written by Samir Sampat

Samir Sampat is a Marketing Manager with Smith.ai. He has experience working with businesses of all sizes focusing on marketing, communications, and business development.

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Take the faster path to growth.
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