It doesn’t take sales to grow business – it takes relationships.
As we head into our Live Finding New Business training programs, we have participants consider the accounts they’ve researched and why the key contacts may be interested in their products and services.
We also have participants consider their role as professional seller today. The job of sales professionals is NOT that of an order-taker or telemarketer. Their role is to proactively find new and maintain existing profitable customer relationships to grow revenue.
Prospecting is: developing a rapport with people who could be interested in your product or service and giving them a reason as to why it makes sense to buy from you (or at least trial your offer).
In our experience, professional sales people avoid consistent prospecting and don’t allocate daily time to the effort for a multitude of reasons:
A discomfort with “cold calling”; which may include limited research information;
Lack of understanding about the value they bring to the potential client;
Fear they sound like a telemarketer;
Limited success in immediate prospecting rewards;
Success in prospecting takes a disciplined and focused attitude and a daily structured routine.
Changing the definition of prospecting is the first step in generating new business. Remember: it’s not telemarketing.
The other topics we dive into before making live calls together are:
You probably have a specific type of customer in mind — that’s who you need to target. Identify common needs and challenges of this customer based on their business climate. Do you know who their customers are and what competition they face? How could using your products/services help them to achieve their business needs or solve their problems?
As you consider all the customers you want to connect to and earn the right to build a following with, have you thought about where you’ll get the best return on the time for your investment? In addition to these high return customers, consider the types of sectors, industries and businesses that have the highest demand relative to your product/service offering.
Consider an offer you know would open the door and capture the interest of a new prospect who demonstrates good business potential. For example, to capture immediate business from the competition, what kind of offer would you want to make to bring them over NOW?
Do Your Homework
The key reason we have training participants research potential accounts in advance of training is to help you learn as much about the potential customer and their business needs before making contact. Reviewing a potential customer’s web site, LinkedIn presence and other tools we explore in the workshop helps build the customer profile identity including their current activities, upcoming events, recent projects, key decision makers or influencers and what their potential needs for your product/services appear to be. LinkedIn is a great tool to find out if you share any common contacts with prospects that may be able to facilitate introductions. Leveraging these relationships can greatly increase the chance of a successful connection.
Doing homework in advance of prospecting demonstrates professionalism and experience. It also helps you to thoughtfully consider: What are the current trends and general issues within your target sector and local markets and regions? What’s important to your prospective customers and how are your company’s services and products relevant? What’s your WOW difference?
Create A Personal Message
Use what your research has found to create a tailored message that resonates with your prospect’s current business activities and needs. You may have experience in formulating Unique Selling Propositions (USPs) or Finding the Pain Point of a Customer and articulating a Benefit or Advantage Statement to solve their pain or problem. The reality is you have to be a great listener. Being able to hear what is at the heart of the matter for a customer is the secret to any successful communication. Responding to what you’ve heard in a genuine and wise way creates the foundation for trust and shows you are plugged into their business, their sector and to their unique and personal needs and wants.
Prospecting is not a cut-and-paste form of communication. You are trying to earn the right to have a conversation. While you will have some key messages to emphasize, every interaction must be customized.
Suggest an Easy Next Step
Brand new prospects may be interested in your business, however they may want to get to know you better before making a commitment.
You’ll want to build relationships by offering the business an easy next step, such as inviting them to view your product online, providing a time limited trial as part of your offer (as outlined above), or suggesting a follow-up meeting.
Another second step is offering a “buzz piece” — a special update on a current trend or paper or testimonial relevant to businesses in the target sector. This enables prospects to become familiar with your work and it positions you as an expert.
Focus on Productive Activity
Develop a process for documenting your prospecting so you can track results and stay motivated.
An example of a SMART prospecting goal is 20 - 25 new business calls a week or 4- 5 connected prospects a day, which includes finding or following up with a new prospect or arranging a new introduction.
By staying focused and disciplined daily, you’ll get great results including referrals through word of mouth which is the real benefit of a relationship-building prospecting approach.
For more information on our Situational Prospecting course or other programs please drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.