Effective sales prospecting is key to the success or failure of the sales representatives within your company. But it’s not sales.
Prospecting is the step that comes before selling because it’s the step that brings you leads. You need either dedicated prospectors that can turn over leads to a killer sales team, or you need your sales reps to make sales prospecting a priority in their schedules each day.
Effective sales prospecting is a learned skill, however. Just as with closing, it is important to bring the right energy and talent to the table to ensure that you’re finding the right leads at the right time.
1. Don’t sell
The first and most important golden rule of effective sales prospecting is don’t sell. Don’t do it. Sales prospecting is an entirely separate step from sales. Effective sales prospecting is a fact-finding mission. You want to find out as much information about your lead as possible because you want to determine whether this lead is a good fit for your company or not. This is a wonderful chance to create a relationship with a lead. You can engender trust. You can prove your expertise. Think of sales prospecting as setting yourself up to hit the perfect shot.
2. Consistency counts
In ye olden times, prospectors didn’t pan for gold only on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Just as with the gold seekers heading up to Alaska, you too should be out and prospecting every single day. Effective sales prospecting is the cornerstone that will ensure it possible to meet sales quotas. Carve out a piece of your day dedicated to prospecting and treat it as a priority. It’s highly likely this will work best when you set aside time in the mornings. You’ll be able to finish your sales prospecting early before anything else can take precedence.
3. Do your research
Not everyone is your ideal client. That’s great news! When you know that, you can target your efforts to those who will benefit most from your product. Effective sales prospecting happens when you have a thorough ‘ideal customer’ description and then you can focus on leads that match up with your ideal client profile.
For example, if the product you sell is created for small to medium sized businesses, chasing after CEOs of global enterprises is going to result in a lot of frustration. Great ‘ideal client’ profiles will help you narrow down and avoid wasted effort. When you work smart, you don’t have to work hard.
4. Work to your strengths, but don’t limit yourself
Each person has a different work style and a different form of communication that they favor. Figure out what works best for you. If you love chatting with people on the phone, then focus on cold calling. If the idea of calling someone from out of the blue makes you break out into a cold sweat, perhaps email might be a better fit.
While you should lean into your strengths, it’s important to remember that communication is a two-way street. Your prospects also likely have preferred modes of communication and if what you’re doing isn’t getting results, try switching it up. For example, contacts in the C-suite are more likely to prefer calls. There’s an endless variety of ways to meet prospects from attending conferences, holding webinars, in-person networking, social media networking, referrals, and more.
5. Use a script
The point of a script isn’t to make what you say sound canned and salesy. A script offers the best language to use to describe the value and features of your products or services. If you’re against the idea of using a script, think about it this way: what you say right now is already a script. It’s just not written down. Likely every call you make or email you send follows a similar template, even if it’s not exactly word for word. Writing a script is just a more intentional way to do this to ensure that you’re maximizing each contact with a prospect.
Once you’ve practiced your new script a few times, it’ll start to feel (and sound natural) so you’ll have the best of both worlds.
6. Welcome (and plan for) objections
Hearing an objection is great news! It means your lead is thinking about what you’re saying. While you shouldn’t be selling while you’re prospecting, make sure that when you’re drafting up your scripts, you include responses to common objections you hear over and over again.
7. Ask for referrals
Referrals are the warmest leads you can hope to land in your lap. Oftentimes, the simple act of asking can produce tremendous results. If you have happy clients, a little nudge from you might be just the ticket to get them talking to their friends and professional contacts about how great you are! Referrals come to you with an already established base of trust that you don’t have to build.
The best time to do this is right after a sale, but it’s not the only time. A good sales rep will stay in touch with a customer even after the buying process is over to check in and ensure they’re still happy with their service. This is another great time to ask if you receive a positive response.
8. Leverage automation
Did you know that 50% of sales time is wasted on ineffective sales prospecting? Yikes. One of the ways to get some of this time back is to use automation. A bulk of sales prospecting can actually be done by an outbound sales platform like Growbots.
Growbots makes it easy to select the right target audience, create campaigns, and optimize your results to ensure the time you do spend is well worthwhile. With Growbots, you could save up to four hours every day on effective sales prospecting.
9. Don’t give up immediately
Effective sales prospecting can sometimes be a long game. You might meet prospects that aren’t ready to buy – yet. That doesn’t mean they won’t be ready in three months or six months. Check back in with prospects regularly until you hear a hard ‘no’. Most sales people give up after the first follow-up so if you stick with it, you will break away from the pack. Your dedication and belief in your product or service will make an impression on your prospects.
10. Review what you’re doing
You don’t want to be investing your time in techniques that aren’t producing results. Once a good quarter is a good time to review what you’re doing to see what’s working and what isn’t. With regular reviews, you will begin to hone your approach, your target audiences, and your pitch to be even more successful. Even when you have a well-oiled system, you might even find that something that worked for you six months ago is no longer effective. After all, practice makes perfect.
Using effective sales prospecting can help you set yourself up to be able to hit your sales quota every month without fail. These 10 golden rules of effective sales prospecting are what we focus on when we’re training new sales reps, but we want to know what is your favorite tip for effective sales prospecting? Share what you do in the comments below.