Your business leads are only worthwhile if they turn into sales. Sure it’s easy to network and make initial contact, but for small business owners their lifeblood is a steady stream of sales, especially in this economy. To get that recurring revenue, The Direct Selling Education Foundation offers up three ways to turn warm leads to hot.

No. 1: Make a List & Check it Twice

Whether you are just starting out or already running an existing business, chances are you are spending a lot of time thinking about ways to get new business and keep the business growing. That’s why the Direct Selling Education Foundation says it’s important to create a list of every person you can think of that may be interested in your products and services even if the interest seems removed.

Once you have the list, cut it down to the people who are most likely to want what you have to offer and would want it right now. Invite those “most likely” people to a special event whether it’s a cocktail party, BBQ or open house. According to The Direct Selling Education Foundation, your special event isn’t the time to try to sell, but is rather about introducing your business to prospective clients. Think of it as an open house where real estate agents will invite buyers to come check out the property but won’t pull a full court press to get them to buy. During your event you can inquire about setting up follow-up appointments, but be careful not to come off too pushy.

The Direct Selling Education Foundation says the ones who are the most interested are not only the most likely to buy from you but to also recommend you to others. And as any small business owner knows referrals are everything.

No. 2: Embrace Social Media

Let’s face it, there aren’t enough hours in the day to handle daily tasks let alone embark on a social networking strategy, but it’s important that small business owners don’t ignore this medium as a way to turn prospects into paying customers. Using social media to connect with the people on your list doesn’t mean you have to be on Facebook ten hours a day or tweet every fifteen minutes but you do want to use social media to continue to build the relationship with your list of potential clients.  One way to keep the relationship growing is to provide useful tips, solutions and information via social channels about your product and services. The Direct Selling Education Foundation says to think of social media as a subtle way to get the word out about your product and services. Be careful. You don’t want to inundate the potential clients with sales pitch after sales pitch. In the world of social media that’s the quickest way to turn off a would-be customer.

No. 3: Don’t Give Up

Turning leads into sales isn’t easy and isn’t going to happen every time, but the worst thing you can do is get frustrated and give up. You are going to encounter no’s, which is why The Direct Selling Education Foundation says that when it comes to turning warm leads hot, quantity matters. The more people you meet the better chance you have of getting new clients. Being organized is also paramount. Keep track of everyone you meet, follow up promptly and get involved in organizations and groups that are important to the people on your sales lead list. Staying positive and continuing to network is the best recipe for growing your business and turning those warm leads hot.