Answered! How to Perfect the Art of Sales Prospecting
Table of Content
If you want to sell, you have to ask a prospective customer if they want to buy what you are offering.
Most probably, the first ninety-nine would turn down your offer. There is no embarrassment in it. But the hundredth one may buy.
It is a matter of numbers. The more people you ask, higher would be the sales.
What Is Sales Prospecting
In the simplest of terms, sales prospecting means asking if someone is interested in what you have to offer. It is the fundamental stage of selling and consists of finding out who might be interested in your product.
Identifying a potential client is the act of prospecting. The term itself is borrowed from mining for gold and precious metals. A prospector would dig everywhere they thought there was a possibility of finding more and, after a considerable effort, strike Gold (or in this case clients).
Easiest Sales Prospecting Methods
- Phone Calls
- Facebook Messaging
- Quora Messaging
Regardless of any other technique, this still remains the most used. Its other name is cold calling. However, it must be noted that cold calling is only meant for potential customers.
Unless the calling is aimed at a particular demographic, it may end up being a waste of resources. Therefore, a call for selling a life insurance plan would be usually aimed at someone below fifty, and a demo for new software be aimed at a small business owner.
The most significant element of successful cold calling is to have some foreknowledge of your customer. This would include age group, city, locality, education level. A fairly clear idea of their needs is a prerequisite of successful cold calling.
Of course, one cannot divulge this to the customer since it might come off as snooping.
Reaching out through emails is quite successful as it gives a considerable ROI. Since email can be, in no small degree, automated, it is far cheaper than having someone call.
The other great advantage of an email is that the prospect can read it at their leisure instead of being disrupted in the middle of a lunch or meeting.
Since you have the liberty to take your time to think of a correct and appropriate message, make sure that the email is worded carefully.
It must be no more than two hundred words and contain strategically placed links that would lead the buyer to a landing page with complete information. Otherwise, you could include a phone number or link to a related FAQ.
It is unobtrusive, and at worst, would be deleted. Cold calling has the disadvantage of annoying some of the prospects .
Not through your Facebook page but groups. It is an excellent covert tool for pitching one’s products. Invest time in building up a rapport with the members you think would be interested and the best way to do this is to initiate a conversation via Facebook Messenger.
Of course, Facebook itself would give you a fair idea about the client but one on one interactions can work superbly.
Unlike a call or email, the chat with a Facebook persona is also quite reassuring. People associate the name with a face and posts and are assured that it is real.
Quora is a question and answer platform. Though you could quite directly market on Quora by using links, it also allows you to develop followers.
Since messages can be sent directly to followers, these can be used for marketing and finding prospects.
Here too, the level of confidence is high since they feel like they know you from your answers.
Of course, Facebook and Quora cannot reach as many as can be reached through calls and emails, but the prospects are of higher quality.
The same holds true for Reddit, but it takes longer to build a reputation on Reddit and get a substantial number of followers due to strict rules of moderation and arguments between participants that does not happen on Quora.
Essential Sales Prospecting Techniques
A call or Facebook message is just an avenue. But let us talk about prospecting tips and tricks. What makes a difference?
- Work according to a script
- Never try to sell
- Do more for more success
You are conversing with someone unknown. Unless you have a script, you are going to flounder badly. Best case scenario, you may be able to hold the attention of the person at the other end of the line for a minute before they decide to hang up.
This time has to be used wisely. Introduce yourself and the brand name. Follow this with a quick pitch about the product.
One of the best sales prospecting tips is to make a script sound like a natural conversation. It is actually quite hard to do, and that is why experienced salespeople are in such demand. They can build a rapport quickly with smooth intonation, use of simple language, and humor.
Sounds counter-intuitive? Yes, it is. If you try to sell, you will face stiff resistance.
Remember that the call is for prospecting, not selling. It is finding out if the client is interested enough.
A sales call is different and would lay out the promotional aspects by pointing out the price and performance.
A prospecting call is a warm-up and meant to break the ice. The aim is to get the prospect to entertain a follow-up call that will be more detailed.
This does not mean you don’t mention the brand or pitch it. Just don’t try to close the sale.
Prospecting is slogging. There is very little chance that any of the first thirty or eighty customers would express any interest.
The effort, however, has to be the same, and the eighty-first client must be called with the same enthusiasm and optimism as the first.
Enter the game knowing that you would most often get turned down. This does not reflect on you or the product at all. Every customer is bombarded by marketing and they subconsciously tend to treat it as white noise.
What did the prospectors in California Gold Rush do? Sift through the dust to find ore. After months or sometimes years, they would find something.
Sales prospecting is similar. It is daunting, but there is a pot of gold at the end of the road. Not everyone is suited for the task. Optimistic people with high self-esteem are better at prospecting. Proper research, of course helps, but much depends on the skill of the person doing the prospecting.