Prospecting is the first step in the sales process, which consists of identifying potential customers/prospects.
When sales reps make outbound calls or send outbound emails to leads in hopes of creating opportunities for account executives, then prospecting is said to take place. It can involve cold-calling as well as reaching out to nurture leads that have gone cold.
The goal of prospecting is basically to develop a database of likely customers and then systematically communicate with them in the hopes of converting them from potential customer to current customer.
10 Quick Tips About Prospecting –
There are a number of different tips that can be used in order to help turn a prospect into a customer.
The following are the easiest sales prospecting tips that you can act upon to see the best results.
Tip No. 1) Target and be Specific
Before doing anything, make sure to first target a good prospecting list. It should consist of people or companies that are most likely to buy your type of products and services.
Start with a list that doesn’t have more than 500 names. This would avoid a lot of confusion.
Avoid marketing to everyone. Trying to appeal to everyone makes your message bland and easy to overlook. Even worse, if you are bland, you can’t be memorable. Word of mouth is a beautiful thing, hence, Be Specific.
Tip No. 2) Research and Understand
In order to target a list in the right manner, you have to do a complete research about your customers before approaching them. You can search the internet or you could use a lead generation company like Aeroleads, which would automatically give you the prospects at your fingertips.
You need to understand your prospect’s needs, challenges and how your product or service meets the needs of your prospects or assist with the challenges that your customer faces.
By researching, you not only understand your prospects better but also understand your competitors which can help you target better.
Tip No. 3) Aim at Them
Make it about them, not about you or your company. Focus on how their problems will be solved by using your product.
Be up to date on their industry news events or trends, this could help you craft a relevant and effective pitch. Demonstrating your knowledge of their industry engenders your prospects to become more interested and feel as if they are a top priority to you. Knowing key phrases or common terminology in your prospect’s industry helps make you look knowledgeable and interested.
Also, find out the reviews about your own company, as this could not only help you improve your company, but it would also help you when your prospects launch a questionnaire at you.
Tip No. 4) The Perfect Email
Present a “prospecting offer” of no more than 5o words that clearly states who you are, what you are selling, and few features of your product or service. Make sure to change the features each time you send a mail to avoid repetition.
Having an email template for cold outbound emails is a wise tactic that helps you save time. However, it’s easy to sound generic and formulaic when using a template so it’s crucial to make sure you still sound like a real person. So, you can write a template and then customize as needed.
You could also refer the emails that you have received. It will be interesting to see the different approaches people take to try and get attention.
Book time on your calendar every single day to prospect. The key is consistency.
Always make sure to never bore your customers. Schedule your prospecting sessions for 3½ hours. Take a fifteen-minute break between each hour. That is more productive than five prospecting sessions of one hour each.
Also, keep accurate records of your prospecting sessions. Thousands of salespeople are successful prospectors by following this particular rule. The act of keeping records will cause your subconscious mind to constantly improve your results.
Tip No. 6) Perseverance is the Key
Call every name on your list every 3-4 weeks. Understand that only a small percentage of your list will be ready to buy the first time that you call. Many more will be ready each successive time that you call. Most prospects will not want to meet with you until you have presented prospecting offers at least three times.
Remember that Persevering doesn’t mean continuing on blindly with an approach that isn’t working. It means continuing to move forward, even if you have to change your approach repeatedly until you get one that seems to work the best.
Tip No. 7) Don’t cross the Line
Never give up is a great motto for exercising, but horrible for sales. If the prospect does not fit your ideal customer profile or seems to yank you around, then move on.
If the prospect says “No” or “I am not interested,” you say “Okay, good bye.” Do not press for an appointment. Do not try to engage the prospect in a conversation or ask any questions. I will assure that less than 1% of the prospects will ask you not to call again if you do so.
Tip No. 8) Recommendation comes from Existing Customers
While you’re talking to prospects about new opportunities, asking them for new leads. You fail to realize that the best leads will always come from your happiest customers. Yes, this may sound basic, but I’m amazed at the number of salespeople who do not understand this statement.
Keep in touch with your existing customers in a positive and helpful way and you will certainly be the first person that your customer thinks about to call the next time they need a product or service that you offer.
The fact that your existing customers know your product well and thus if your product is doing good, then they would definitely recommend you to others.
Tip No. 9) Beg for Feedback
Obviously you would ask your customers for feedback in the future. But to get that future it’s important to get a feedback from people around you.
Look for your co-workers or a client with whom you have a good understanding. Don’t be shy to ask them – “Would you reply to this? What’s unclear? What would you change? etc”. This would not only get you better in the prospecting sector but would also help you grow your company.
If you feel that would ruin the competition among co-workers, then record your own calls. The goal is to hear yourself using your usual conversational tones and change what seems to be wrong.
Tip No. 10) Patience is Virtue
Last but definitely not the least as this is the most important of them all.
As you start contacting prospects, you will find that you hear ‘no’ a lot more than you hear ‘yes’. This can be discouraging, but you should recognize that it’s just part of the process. Patience is vital, along with self-motivation, to keep you from losing your momentum.
People need time to digest and think about what you are offering them and even when you do have the perfect solution, the purchasing process takes time.
Remind yourself that every ‘no’ is getting you one step closer to the next ‘yes’.
Prospecting is still the most valuable tool for sales reps, but you need to get it right if you want to avoid getting lost in the noise. Hopefully, these 10 Tips help you in your Prospecting Success.
Navaneetha, popularly known as "nav", loves to read, play badminton, play the keyboard and sing but when she's not doing any of those, she loves to write. What started as a high school hobby to write is now her ongoing passion. At AeroLeads, she manages Inbound Marketing and Social Media Marketing.