Do you have any advice on how to be successful at prospecting?
Cold calling and self-sourcing are such an integral part of being in sales. I would like to hear from sales experts on how they do it successfully.
Prospecting is our area of expertise. I don't want to seem like I am trying to pitch you here but I have a number of videos and ebooks that are free on my website and that is www.salesscripter.com and go to the library.
What you have asked does not have a short answer but we definitely have tips that can help you get going in the right direction. And you can get those for free so again, not trying to sell you anything here with this response.
Feel free to contact me directly if you have any questions.
Hi Adam, first analyse your competition. Find out who buys from them and why. Then formulate a pitch that makes you better. Don't focus on price, because even if your price is better, if your new pitch defines greater value, then your price can rise. Look for added value opportunities and new markets. Can your product cross to new previously un charted industries ? I'm thinking on my feet here but for instance, could someone making bathroom cabinets make audio speaker housings for another client etc.. Above all, don't succumb to analysis by paralysis... Focus and be driven. For a field sales guy, working from home, it's often difficult due to lack of human interaction but that's no excuse. Brainstorm on paper with yourself. Once you find one prospect within a particular market, look for more in the same market. Once you find a prospect in a particular town, knock on more doors in that town. When at meetings or on the 'phone with a prospect or client, always ask if they know anybody who might be interested. Always hand out 2 business cards - one for the prospect and one for somebody they might know. Hope this helps and good luck !
The most important thing is really really simple.
Just Do It !
Prospecting is nothing more that engaging with people you'd like to do business with. There are lots of methodologies you could follow for organizing your prospecting activity (our firm has a simple model also) but if you don't actually engage with people who could buy your product/service you will get absolutely nowhere.
So my advice is follow this simple five point plan
1. Schedule time every day to prospect (as little as 15 minutes or as much as a couple of hours)
2. Be prepared (what are you going to say, what's in it for them etc)
3. Actually do it !
4. Review and refine your approach, USP's etc
Hello Adam , It not difficult to score sales successfully , In order to do that ,You have to study your segment market , study your clients , Know your competitors , then you will come to know your expected customers , Its not difficult to convince them , I have done the same with my targeted clients even with so many challenges , compare your products with others in market , work on their weaknesses , & your products strength .
Hi Adam, if you want more long lasting effect on lead gen and prospecting, using the more social approach is far better. I have a awesome mentor in this area that has the best usable and up to date system online. Please contact me directly for more info on this, thanks.
There is a lot of very good advice already presented so there is no need for me to reinvent the prospecting wheel beyond making the point that, unless someone is giving you leads, prospecting MUST be scheduled into your work day or work week.
Unless Divine Intervention is part of your prospecting plans, prospecting is NOT an optional activity. No prospects, no opportunity to sell.
Adan, The thing is prospecting is just like fishing.
You can do it the hard way or you can do it the smart way.
1) The hard way... Talk to everyone.
2 The smart way.
Look at your current customers.
remember the 80/20 rule (80% of you business from 20% or your customers.
Identify which market segments they are in.
Understand what it is that made them decide on using your services.
Build a case around that knowalage as feed into it the "whats in it for me" question and responses.
Seek out prospects that are in the same market segment.
Tell them your story and how you can be of benifet and value to them.
So what you have just done, is reconised what type of fish you already have. what type of bait you used to catch them and in which lake / river you are more likely to catch some more.
The next stage is how you go about reaching the suspects to make the prospects to make them customers, to make them repeat customers who are happy to tell others.
- a networker
- follow up at least 10 times in various ways
- disqualify prospects as quickly as you can to save time
As such there are no hard and fast rules of prospecting. Firstly you should know what exactly prospecting is.? A prospect may be any one ,maybe you know him or the person may be unknown to you whom you have met in train,hotel,airport etc.Firstly introduce your self then ask for his name,mobile nos etc.There should be no agenda from your side just general chit chat. After couple of days call him and again talk to him try to be friendly with him but please do not talk about your business.When you have become friend with him call him over cup of coffee and then tell him what you are doing,ask him about his plans etc if he shows some interest then take your conversation regarding your business forward,but please keep it simple and small.Though my method will take time,but in one out of ten person you will get a person who will listen to your business plan.
all the best.
All good points have been mentioned however I would like to add that with the advent of social media, sales prospecting and marketing has changed from the some of traditional ways of doing it. Starting with a well segmented database get people (networking events, social media and all good traditional means) to subscribe to your social media platforms. Create content on your profession, post to your web site blog, ensuring that through landing pages and auto responders that you are able to attract prospects with something they want, score users looking at your content or postings. i.e what you send out make sure there is something for prospects to engage wit you. There are a number of tools to enable you to do this.
Trust this helps
There are several things to consider.
1. The first thing is to what to say, how to say it, who to say it to, and how often to say it. Many non professional and untrained sales people say that you should not use scripts. They are dead wrong. The problem is they do not take the time to learn inflection, memorize, practice and internalize the scripts. When they do not take the time to do the above they always sound like the armature that they are. Ex: Although a pilot has flown hundreds of times... do you really want to fly with a pilot who does not use their check list every single time? Your Script is your check list.
2. You must be consistent every single day with the number of contacts that you have set, otherwise you are never going to gain the momentum you need.
3. You must track your numbers every day, week, month, and year. The numbers tell you everything about how effective you are in your prospecting. They tell you if you are good or bad in your initial conversation, converting to appointments, closing deals, etc. EX: When I started my sales career because I tracked my numbers, I knew that I had an appointment to close ratio of 20%. This told me that I either had a poor sales presentation, or I was not very good at prequalifying my appointments. After I had the training that I am talking about my closing ratio went from 20% to 95%. Since my average commission was $14,400 the increase of 75% in closing made a significant difference in my life style, and it can in yours as well.
4. You must also master how to mirror and mimic your prospect so they think subconsciously that you are just like them.
5. You also need to master how to ask questions rather than tell your story. A Master Sales Person asks questions that lead the prospect to a predetermined conclusion to buy from you.
I know this is a short list for a very involved topic. I have a private podcast series that will go in depth about this topic if you would like more information. You can find it here:
I attend Chamber events and am a part of groups where the members main focus is networking. These are guaranteed names. After a meeting and business cards are exchanged, I look them up on Linkedin and make a connection. These are more warm contacts when met face to face than cold calls. If you have to make cold calls, make them to people and businesses in your area that you may have an association with ( local restaurants, hair salons, etc.). That way you have a connection to talk about.
In terms of prospecting I assume you're talking about sourcing leads relevant to what your selling? I find LinkedIn a fantastic tool for this as you can filter by job role, company, location, etc.
Referrals are also an integral way to source leads. Do you have an existing customer base you can go to for referrals? Calling somebody who has been referred to you by somebody they know is a much more successful way of growing your business than cold calls alone.
Lastly, sourcing a call list from a list provider with the relevant contacts/industries for your product and calling them is another useful way of making sure you're focussing on calling the right people for your product.
Prospecting can be a daunting process for many business owners and entrepreneurs. And a lot of businesses fail because of not enough prospecting activity. Outsourcing is all good but how passionate can somebody be on something that you started as a business?
Granted if you're already running a decent enough business with lots of revenue then yes, outsourcing might be a good idea to get some stuff off your back. However if you're just starting out it might not even be an option depending on how much funds you have available to outsource services such as lead generation, appointment setting or selling products over the phone for you.
Many business owners don't understand that prospecting is a vital part of their day to day activity and time needs to be given to those important tasks.
I agree with most people here, having a plan, schedule is important. Knowing where to go and what to do is key and will help any business owner or manager to grow.
Prospecting is not only using the telephone, cold calling or warm calling. Prospecting is any kind of self promotion you could do. From your social media to networking events everything needs to be considered and time needs to be put aside for any of them. Yes, some of them you can automate, such as social media. You could use an automation system that posts all your comments, pictures and offerings on your networks and profiles. But again, somebody has to sit down at least 1 or 2 hours a week to create those posts and schedule them.
Networking events are great to get noticed but also joining a local (or international) networking group is important. This will take time to build but once you made a positive name for yourself, people will start recommending your business.
Having a referral scheme is also a way of prospecting. Getting your current customers involved is a great way to keep them informed about new products and services but gives them also the opportunity to not only recommend you but to also get paid or receive some sort of contribution value for that recommendation.
Email marketing is another source to prospect as long as it is targeted and not just sent as spam. Having a contact name and doing the research necessary to understand the customers business is fundamental and gives credibility to the email. By following up with the potential new customer within 2 days will secure you at least a 30 - 40% success rate of arranging a meeting. If you're selling over the phone then the success rate is a bit lower but still above 25%.
Those are just a few things people can do to prospect. Prospecting is not something evil that we have to do. It's a daily activity that will promote our business and ourselves, and that is not an activity at all. That is just fun. As we get to talk about what we're all really passionate about. Our work, our services our products, why we are different and when we finally convince that one client or 2 or 3 or more, then we get this little kick in the head that says: You are awesome...
So, my advise on successful prospecting? Understand your business and always keep in mind why you started it in the first place. Bring this passion to anything you do, every day when you talk to people, even when you're out shopping, out with friends, out with colleagues, meeting strangers in the street, tell them what you do. How you make a difference to their lives. Be passionate about what you do and prospecting will not be a necessary evil but a fun activity that will keep you and your family, your employees and their families happy and fed.
You're doing good...you create work, you create happiness. That's how I see prospecting. And that's my key to success. The passion about my business and my services comes across when I talk to my clients. Consistency, love and passion is key.
As Leon says, the first step is defining your target market and ideal customer.
Next you need to define their key problems and the solution you provide to solve that problem.
Use the marketing equation (Interrupt, Engage, Educate and Offer) to create your message and marketing materials.
Use LinkedIn to find out about each person on your call list. Find something you have in common. That turns a cold call into a warm call.
Step 1 - go to salesscripter.com and spend 45 minutes completing the questions. It will give you scripts for voice mails, qualifying questions, how to get around gate keepers, everything! It's the coolest new sales tool I've seen in years!
Track your numbers, consistency, and follow up.
Track your numbers to determine how many initial calls, follow up calls (or touches such as marketing, etc), and appointments you need to generate for one successful close
Make a daily plan that supports those numbers
Make sure you follow up consistently, and follow through with anything you promise or is asked of you
Outsource it, spend time doing what you do best and let others for a fraction of what you are worth do it for you.
www dealclosers ca
Outsource as much as you can to focus on what you need to for your business success.
Prospecting is nothing more than striking up a conversation with someone you'd like to meet. It starts with you and your contacts, centers of influences, friends and relatives. The people most receptive to you are the closest friends and relatives. They would like you to succeed and they are purchasing your product or services from some else. It is how you approach them.
When I recruited a new rep for my sale force I sent a letter to his or her closest prospects. The letter read as follows:
We are proud to announce the appointment of Joe Smith to our firm.Joe's education and experience has readily prepared him for a successful career in with our firm. Below is a list of products and services available thorough our firm.
Please contact Joe to congratulate him or stop in at his office if possible. I hope that when the topic of insurance or investment planning arises you'll consider calling Joe for assistance.
Prospecting now requires building relationships and finding ways of demonstrating your value proposition. Join a Chamber of Commerce and get involved in a committee and build relationships. Introduce people you know to others you know and them in return ask to be allowed to demonstrate how you do what you do.
I came in to the business cold calling door to door and became fairly good at it. It take s a lot out of you and cold calling today is poorly received by many. I do all my business by referral. My Clients, Attorney's and CPA's refer me to all my new clients. Know who you want as a prospect and target getting in front of them on a favorable basis.
If you have a friend who is an Attorney for example. Call his office and ask his Administrative Assistant or wife for the names of four of his closest friends. Invite them to lunch to celebrate his birthday. There are four people who you will be able to get close to and be perceived as a peer.
I could help you more if I knew what your product or service was.
John E. Stanojev, RFC
President / Financial Advisor
Adam...Leon did a great job at laying out the process for prospecting. For me, it comes down to:
- daily planning of your activity
- as Leon states below, having a great pitch
- daily action of prospecting - even if it is a 15 minute block
- persistence - keep reaching out until you hear a firm Yes or No...not maybe or I am not sure
The minute any of the below falters, so do the results.