by: Remie Longbrake | published: Sept 1, 2019
Prospecting is often the biggest roadblock to overcome in the sales process. It really separates for great sales person from the mediocre one. Sales is a learned skill, which I shouldn’t need to state, however it’s not entirely obvious or many more of us would be uber-successful.
I put these tips together as a guideline to set a foundation in your sales. It really all starts with the right prospect. After all most businesses don’t survive and it does start with the prospect, so give it your best and start prospecting with the right people.
1. What’s in the pipeline?
In sales the amount of closes you have directly reflects the amount of time you spend in prospecting. It takes continuous effort to work your prospects and following up is critical. There should always be prospects in the pipeline. Whether you speak with customers in person or over the phone, the prospecting process is where it all starts.
2. Is it in the details?
Too many of us in sales focus on all the details. We want all the knowledge about our product or service. We limit ourselves because we fear a prospect might ask a question we don’t have the answer to. Educate yourself but don’t be afraid of not having the answer. If you don’t know it, kindly say let me get that for you. Don’t let that stop you from picking up the phone.
3. Who is the ideal client?
I hear this all the time. My product is for anyone who will listen to me. Young, old, rich, not so rich (we have financing!) It’s everyone who may or may not buy. That is an expensive way to prospect, in any market. Maybe you sell furniture, only so many people are looking for an end table or a couch. You’re target would be those who have recently moved in the area, rented an apartment. Same for a car, or even a piece of software. Who is that ideal buyer. Write down the traits of your ideal client or customer. What are they thinking? How can you relate to them and what qualities would you look for if you were them.
4. Compelling offer
What are you offering? What are the benefits your solution provides? In the early days I could have sold so much more if I would have simply come from the benefits side of my services. Same holds true in your market. What is it that makes your prospects lives better. Use this information along with your ideal client to get a sense on how your offering makes things much better for them.
5. Be Genuine
Are you genuinely interested in helping your prospect or just helping you? Believe me, you have to have the right intentions. Take time to find out about your prospective client. Find their wants, motivations and pains. Take an interest. Most people don’t like the telemarketers, why? It’s not because they have a bad product necessarily, it’s because they rush the process entirely. Click…
6. Are you following through?
Just like your golf game, a good follow through builds accuracy and distance. So are you going the distance with your sales? One call to a prospect is not enough. Same with an email. Were you ignored, hung up on? Find out why. Don’t give up. For one, people do not like change, but they do like there lives easier. Does you product do that, sell upon that. It is extremely unlikely to sell your prospect in one try yet I see that all the time. Don’t be afraid of going the distance. You will be more successful.
7. Stay in sequence
We really are creatures of habit. Good things come to those who stick to it. Goes for fitness, our wealth, and our sales business. It’s important to stay in good routine as much as possible. Hence I said good, because bad routines are not helpful. I try to get the most important tasks done in the morning. I want to be sure I get those accomplished. It helps my mind for one, to let me know I “Got it”, but also our days are busy and things do come up which could detour those important tasks. Prospecting is the lifeline. It’s a crucial task. Too many I see put it off as if I get time. Guess what, that time rarely comes, or not often enough to be successful and meet the necessari goals. Get in a pattern, block out time for prospecting every day. Also consider your prospect and their schedule. Get to the point you take notes on them, times your called, when got voicemail, a no reply for three days, etc. Use your notes to your advantage or your CRM. It really does save time and staying in a sequence helps keep you accountable.
8. More info please…
You get this often? “Sure, just send over some info” What the prospect is really saying is they are too busy to be bothered and hoping you’ll go away. It’s a good way for the prospect to end the call. Some sales people get all excited but you likely know better. You can’t blame your prospect really. Perhaps you weren’t prepared enough and perhaps they really are busy. Either way, send the info and follow up. I follow up the same day or the next day at the latest. I will say I will follow up in 24 hours, will you be available? Stay fresh in their mind. Find out the pain points, the inefficiencies of their current product and remind the prospect of those pains so they will take action.
9. Are you wasting your words?
It’s said you have about 20 seconds to make an impression. Want to stand out, cut the small talk. Words like “Hi, how are you” or “How’s your day been?” Again, I hear it all the time. For one, it’s what every other caller has asked, but more importantly it doesn’t really matter or help your chances. Stay friendly, but you are here to prospect, not ask about the weather. This isn’t your neighbor so just cut to it. I’ve actually had people say “Cut to it.” Additionally, what if the prospect is having a terrible day. Bringing it up won’t help your chances for a meeting. On your note, cutting out this 3 - 5 minutes of meaningless talk will allow you to make more calls to other prospects.
10. Are you a one liner?
Don’t get slapped! I've been there. Name a household brand. Pepsi, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Domino’s, Ford, Chevrolet, Allstate, Progressive, etc. One thing they have in common? They use multiple forms of communicating and advertising. You think they would be where they were if they just stuck to the newspaper? Just send one email, one call, put up one billboard. You get the idea. The most successful use all means necessary to get their message across. I’m not saying you have to spend tons of money, but I am saying that it is crucial to be resourceful. Information is everywhere so you have to do all you can to get in front or your audience. Use social media, drip email campaigns, office phone, cell phone and stay persistent.
11. Playing the waiting game?
Are you waiting by the phone? I remember this meme I seen once that had a skeleton hunched over its desk, apparently waiting for the phone to ring. It’s important to understand you can’t just wait around on results. Don’t expect that return call or reply to your email from your prospect. This is crucial in the beginning stages especially. The prospect don’t know you, you have zero credibility and they really don’t want to talk. You overcome by being persistent. It should get easier in time, after rapport has been met, but even then don’t wait around.
12. Are you interested?
Want to be successful? Get interested in what you do. I know that sounds strange, but seriously if you don’t enjoy the product, respect the service, or even like the company culture it’s going to be hard to be successful. I’m not saying you have to use the product your company provides but you need to be in agreement that what the company does is valuable. You can fake it, but it’s unlikely you’ll make it.
13. Meet your goals
Many companies have sales quotas to meet. You should do all you can not to just meet them but exceed them. Be the leader in your team, your company, your profession. Want to go a step farther? Make your own goals, not just in business but in all aspects of your life. Anything is possible, and it certainly is possible you will succeed.
14. Be urgent!
What are you planning to do tomorrow that can be done today? There’s a good chance you’re not acting with urgency. Especially in the sales game. It’s not tortoise and the hare here. Get a plan together and take action, daily. Evaluate your plan and fine tune it to be resourceful. Are you currently making 5 new calls to a new prospect today? How can you turn that into 10? In what ways can you fine tune? Can you not take that sixth bathroom break? Spend 15 minutes talking about some TV show and the weekend plans? How can your goals be met by being more urgent? Can your income increase by eliminating the excess and making those extra calls today? It’s that kind of thinking that will get you where you need to be. So what can you do today to take urgency and take the proper action necessarily for your success?
So, there are 14 tips you need in your prospecting adventurers. I encourage you to take several minutes on each one and evaluate how you are currently doing and in what ways improvements can be made. Prospecting doesn’t have to be difficult. Look at it for the benefits. To better the lives of others and in the process improve yours.