Sales management – important for a business’ success in any
Finding a good fit customer is like finding a needle in a haystack if sales prospecting isn’t done right.
Now, for a moment, imagine that you explained something to someone for 10 long minutes only to realize that nothing you said made any sense to them. What a frustrating experience that would be!
This is just how you will feel after attempting to persuade the wrong person to buy your product or service.
It is to avoid such misadventures that sales prospecting needs to be done correctly. Throughout this article, we’ll understand why it truly matters and how to do it effectively. But first, let’s look at: what is sales prospecting?
What is sales prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of researching, identifying and reaching out to potential customers or prospects with an aim to convert them into paying customers.
Therefore, the more you prospect and the better you are at it, the more likely you are to generate leads that will eventually convert into sales.
Why is sales prospecting important?
By prospecting effectively, you can identify those leads who are an ideal fit for the products or services that you offer. If you do not put in the right efforts, it is pointless to hope to gain a customer. Even if you do, what assurances do you have that they will not churn?
If you do not put sufficient effort into the prospecting stage of the sales cycle, you will be losing valuable time at the later stages. Sales prospecting is, therefore, vital as it not only saves you time and effort but also lays the basis for the relationship you will form with a customer.
Now that we have laid the groundwork for this article, let’s take a look at some tips and techniques to help you succeed at prospecting!
11 sales prospecting tips and techniques
Your goal of higher sales will require you to put in the time and effort that it takes to achieve it. Below are 11 sales prospecting techniques that you can use to prospect more effectively and win more deals.
1. Do your research well
Whenever we buy a car, a mobile phone, a toothpaste (or anything else that we would normally consider trivial), we try to understand everything that comes with it. Considering that research is a pivotal component of almost everything we buy or do, shouldn’t we also approach leads with the same mindset?
Now that we’re on the subject of leads, let’s take a little detour and talk about the difference between a lead and a prospect. Essentially, a lead is someone who is a potential customer that is several steps away from conversion, while a prospect is a lead that has been qualified and is just a short way from conversion.
Coming back to research, it is apparent that research plays an extremely important role in sales prospecting. When you don’t know anything about whom you’re targeting, how will you qualify them?
Thus, it is crucial that you research your leads’ problems and interests before you contact them and make sure that everything you are offering is relevant to them.
2. Write a compelling script
After the research is done, the next step is to reach out to the leads and figure out what exact words you need to use to capture their attention and get them to interact with you.
If you send them an email or a message, you know they can ignore you, and if you call them, you know they can hang up on you in seconds. When the chances of them refusing to acknowledge you are higher, what does it take to get them to notice you?
Right, a script that works.
When we speak of a script, we do not just mean the ones that telecallers use when making calls, but everything that one speaks or writes. Ensure your script includes the information you need to accurately and concisely address your lead’s needs.
3. Set a time to prospect
Would you rather block out an hour or two every day to reach out to leads or manage to squeeze in a few minutes between other tasks? Choosing the first option will provide you with better chances of getting the results you want.
A definite time frame for prospecting is vital if you are to achieve the results you desire. As with anything else, if your rhythm breaks, it takes time to gain composure again. Besides, being surrounded by noise is not uncommon for salespeople and working inconsistently in such an environment makes completing tasks even difficult.
Also, make sure that your prospecting time blocks align with the periods in which your prospective customers are most likely to be free.
4. Avoid selling
The point here is people hate being sold to. Sometimes people can put up with it, but most of the time they get angry. So, whether you’re making a call, sending an email, or messaging on WhatsApp, don’t use the opportunity to hard-sell your offering.
Instead, build a rapport by sharing interesting content or talking about common problems they face and their everyday solutions. Ultimately, people are searching for solutions, so talk about how you can solve their problems.
5. Ask for referrals
You probably know the saying, “network is net worth,” and your network is likely to include people who are familiar with people who may require what you offer. Don’t hold back on asking for referrals and let an opportunity pass you by because you thought one might refuse.
Still, if asking for referrals directly is a problem (and it’s understandable), you could come up with a referral program and reward people who refer others. Getting referrals is one of the best ways to grow and strengthen your customer base, so do not overlook such opportunities.
6. Attend events
Attending events is a great way to grow your network. If you want to meet people in your industry or others, any industrial event, webinar, etc., is a great place to be. Furthermore, these events provide excellent opportunities to make yourself known to other businesses with whom you can collaborate.
Alternatively, you may want to host webinars or events for others. This is another effective means to meet people and it doesn’t have to be extravagant, all that is required is that it has a context that is ideal for all who will attend.
If you decide to host a webinar, make sure the topics it covers are relevant to your industry. Nothing will be worthwhile if what is delivered is not relevant.
7. Stay active on social media
Over 58% of the global population uses social media, imagine the opportunities a business is missing out on if it doesn’t establish its presence in a place where people pour in every day.
You can build stronger and wider brand awareness with an active social media presence. Be sure to post relevant and engaging content regularly and be easily accessible to your audience. Also, join relevant industry groups to stay updated on the latest trends.
You can also watch out for Q&A platforms like Quora. People come looking for answers to their problems on platforms like these and this is one of the best ways to connect with customers who are so willing to voice their concerns.
8. Rank prospects
We all have many things to do, but not everything can be accomplished in one day. It is therefore necessary to prioritize. A similar approach should be applied to addressing prospects.
You know you cannot give every prospect the same amount of attention. For instance, it is inappropriate to continue sending emails to someone who indicated they wanted to be contacted after a two to three months period.
You should, therefore, rank your prospects based on different criteria, and then plan your outreach. By doing so, you can be more personal with them and you can also focus on the prospects who are most likely to convert.
9. Communicate via multiple channels
More ways than one exist for someone to contact you. If a phone call isn’t possible, then maybe a WhatsApp message, if not that, maybe an email, if not an email, perhaps a letter. In short, today we have multiple channels through which we can connect with people around the world and it costs nothing to do so.
Reach out to your customers wherever they are — don’t confine yourself to one or two channels. If it is Facebook that they are most active on, then build an active presence there. If your customers prefer emails, then engage with them via emails. But don’t set limitations to your engagement
Besides, you can find platforms today that offer a variety of features that help you engage prospects and customers via a multitude of channels, making sales prospecting an almost effortless task.
10. Follow up with lost customers
Your customers churn for a variety of reasons. The reasons may vary from budgetary constraints to dissatisfaction with your product. Nevertheless, what is the harm in trying again?
Identify the reasons why your customers left and reconnect with them. If they left you due to budgetary issues, convey the latest offers to them. If the reason they left was that they weren’t satisfied with your offering, let them know about the latest updates.
Do not consider all customers lost, since they onboarded for a very good reason. Just come up with the right things for them and they will return. However, you don’t want to run into losses just for someone bringing almost no value.
11. Utilize the right tools
By resorting to manual methods, you will find sales prospecting difficult. You will either spend a great deal of your time dialling numbers or saving contacts to send messages. It is fortunate that we live in a time when there are solutions to even the smallest of problems.
Using the right tools to prospect will not only make you more productive but will assist you in achieving your targets and accelerating your business growth.
Explaining something to someone who will eventually not understand what you are trying to say will only cost you time and effort that could have been better spent elsewhere. This is the same with sales prospecting.
Nobody said sales prospecting was easy, but if you approach it properly it can be made less challenging. By now, you know prospecting is not only about making calls, sending emails, and DMing on social media, and so on. Prospecting entails more.
From researching thoroughly to utilising the right tools to implement your sales prospecting strategy, there are numerous small steps you must take in order to achieve a successful closure.
Among the many techniques on how to improve your sales prospecting, the techniques discussed above are some of the most important ones!