Sales Prospecting refers to the act of researching, contacting and beginning conversations with potential customers. Without sales prospecting, there would be no sales.
Before a person becomes a customer, and hopefully a repeat customer, they must first be a prospect. You will always have more prospects than customers since not every person you contact will see the benefit of the product or service you are offering.
Today, we as customers expect immediate, convenient, personalized service. If one organization doesn’t provide it, we have another choice to turn to. So understanding your potential customers is vital to overcoming the competition and learning what it will take to help your prospect choose your product or service rather than your competitors.
There are a number of different tips that can be used in order to help turn a prospect into a customer. They all require a certain level of understanding on the part of the salesperson regarding what the prospect needs, which then requires a solution be presented that meets those needs.
The following are the easiest sales prospecting tips that you can act upon to see the best results:
1.Understanding Your Customers
You will not know the prospect’s interests and buying habits when you first contact the prospect. Your first contact might involve some information-gathering with the prospect before you can know all of this information.
Earlier, your prospect would have been interested in comparing your price to your competition’s and making a choice based solely on cost. But today, your prospects will want to know more about your company. You will need to be familiar with the aspects of your company that will be of interest to your prospects. Present this information as part of your sales presentation so that the prospect knows what kind of company they are considering doing business with.
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.
Non-financial aspects of your offering, such as your company’s values, ethics, social responsibility, environmental responsibility, and more also play a key deciding factor in your prospect. Knowing this will help you utilize this knowledge in your sales prospecting techniques.
2.Branding and Marketing
An optimized website, business cards, product or service catalogs etc are some of the marketing tools that will help you look more organized and professional.
From a prospecting point of view, your prospect should be able to recognize anything they receive from you because all of your marketing collateral will have a similar design or style. Once your prospect becomes a customer, they will be able to recognize anything from you on sight, which will move your latest mail out of their ‘junk mail’ pile.
Be creative in marketing yourself and try to promote yourself in venues other than that your competitors might be using. Cross-promoting your business, brand association, hosting free seminars, offering free downloadables, newsletters and blog are some of the modern marketing venues that work tremendously for sales prospecting.
In today’s marketing, with abundant choices and alternatives, you need to understand that the customer is doing you a favor by having done business with you and not the other way around.
Even before a prospect has become a customer, you can practice excellent customer service skills. Consider how your prospects will be responding to your marketing efforts, and make sure that it is easy for your prospects to get back in touch with you. For example, what does your email say? What options are available to your prospect? If your prospect doesn’t feel as if he or she has a direct route to you, it is unlikely that they will even stick around long enough to leave a message. The way your customer perceives you and your brand will have an effect on your sales prospecting. A negative image can have a worse impact and a positive image can give you the best results.
The prospect should feel as if you are eager to speak to them. What about leaving your contact number or allowing them to choose an option that will connect them to your phone number? Think about how you would like to be treated if you were responding to a salesperson who is contacting you, then give them the information they need to reach you.
4.Research and Strategize
Sales prospecting cannot get easier when you have all the contact information of your prospects at your fingertips. Services such as AeroLeads give you the prospect information with their LinkedIn profiles within 48 hours, as per your requirements. You can also find prospect details yourself with the tools that AeroLeads offer.
In addition, you can search the internet to find and understand your prospects and find their contact information. You can not only understand your prospects better but also understand your competitors which can help you strategize better.
What are customers or reviewers saying about you? Are there any specific complaints that seem to be reappearing? What news is out there about the business itself? Are there concerns about your ability to compete in any way? Are there issues raised about specific aspects of the operations? If you can bring solutions to these issues to the table, you will be demonstrating value to your prospects.
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. Perseverance is vital, along with self-motivation, to keep from losing your momentum. Remind yourself that every ‘no’ is getting you one step closer to the next ‘yes’.
Of course, if you continue to get no after no without getting any success with your prospects, you might want to seek input from others. 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.
Smart work beats heard work in sales perseverance. Keep trying to convince your customer, but work in smart ways. Study your customers and use that information in your convincing efforts and surely you will see positive results.
6.Your Existing Customer Are Your Brand Ambassadors
Realizing this statement gives you an added edge over your competitors. No one better knows about the efficiency of your product or service and can refer the same to other than your existing customers.
Once you’ve made that first sale, you will find that each individual future sale will be easier – the process will be faster, the close will be easier, and you’ll find the entire process simpler if you are trusted and considered an expert by the customer.
To facilitate future sales to existing customers, you will need to keep detailed information on the customer. This will help you to target the right customers when your company is offering new products or running promotions. That way when you call, you have benefits to offer that you know will truly be an advantage to your customer. Calling the customer with an offer that provides no benefit to them will quickly discredit you as their ‘expert’.
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 to call the next time they need a product or service that you offer.
Sales prospecting has evolved from cold calling and it is highly beneficial for sales professionals to evolve with the time. Depending on the type of business you have and the organization you work for, some of these may not be possible for you. But keeping an open mind might help you generate ideas that will work for you.
Additional Read: 5 Best Prospecting Techniques