Prospecting for Explosive Growth
All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players ~ Shakespeare
Ah but then? How do I find the those that are most interested in my products and services? Which ones really need what I have to offer? Who really wants my products and services? Why is it that just the thought of prospecting makes some shiver with uncomfortable anticipation? The prospecting term refers to digging for gold. Could it be that spending all day digging for gold (insert prospects) in a place where no gold (clients) exists is immensely frustrating. No nuggets (clients) for extended periods would be frustrating. Now imagine if you were in a legitimate gold mine and every few minutes or so you found a nugget. This would be quite a different sensation. Excitement and interest would rule the day.
Where is your gold mine?
We’re starting a new sales blog series in support of Brian Tracy’s Sales Success Intensive workshop series 1, 2 & 3. We’ll target the following seven different sales stages.
2. Relationship Building
3. Identifying Needs
4. Effective Presentations
5. Overcoming Objections
7. Referrals and Resales
Does anyone like prospecting? I can’t say it’s my favorite activity. Actually, it has more to do with the type of prospecting. For example, cold phone calling, I can do it, and I’m not bad, but all that time on the phone and mostly leaving voicemail’s, ugh my mind generates literally hundreds of other options that would be preferable. I’m far more comfortable walking into a new business and striking up a conversation than I am with leaving voicemails. Networking on the other hand is fun. Talking with people is a lot more interesting than leaving voicemails. Unfortunately not everyone at a networking event fits my target. Which means networking can take much longer than other sources of prospecting. Everyone on my cold call list fits my target.
Prospecting is often said to be the single best opportunity to increase sales. Sales is the highest paying, hard working job and easiest low paying job in the world. Improving the quality and quantity of your prospects makes a dramatic difference. The “go to” rule if you want more sales is “spend more time with better prospects”. Brian Tracy recommends starting every morning with 2-3 hours of prospecting activity. Many, some would say most, sales people waste an awful amount of time focusing on the wrong things. Time has always been the great equalizer. Some are born with advantages true, but everyone has only 24 hours per day. Poor Habits and Poor skills have derailed many a budding salesperson.
Inner Game - Belief
Many sales professionals are derailed by the inner game of sales. This is where attitude and belief play such a great role. Overcoming fear is a critical skill. Fear of rejection makes many unable to pick up the phone or get out on the road. Here are three tips to overcoming fear:
1. Become sold on your product, value or service., If your not sold, no one else will be.
2. Believe the customers lives will be better with your product or service.
3. Use high integrity tactics. No tricks, be honest about how it will help your customer.
Remember that a Positive attitude – wins the inner game.
If you want to spend more time with better prospects do your homework.
1. What are the characteristics of the ideal prospect
Describe in detail – age, income, occupation, interests
2. Who fits the description?
3. Who is acquainted with idea?
4. Where can you go to meet people that match your target?
5. How can you get a good list?
** A good goal is to add at least one new qualified prospect to your list every day.
You must capture information on your prospects. It’s also much more than name, address, work phone. You can also capture, home phone, title, marital status, family names, ages of children, income, spouse name, hobbies, previous experience, own or rent house, type of car Etc.
Work your prospects effectively and efficiently. Keep two versions of your prospect list,
1. Master list in alphabetical order
2. Working list tickler file for calls and follow up visits
Stay in touch with your prospects. You can use birthday cards, seasonal greetings, letters, articles phone calls and more. Try to touch your best prospects four to six times per year.
Develop a standard system with a custom “touch” checklist for each prospect.
Approach the contact process as effectively as possible. First off keep the proper image (dress appropriately) and make sure you always have the right recruiting tools. Keep clean copies of all your materials (especially blank contracts) in your office, in your car, in your home office. Build an online tool kit that allows you to electronically send any materials necessary to your prospect.
What if you’ve done your homework but you’re unsure on how to approach your prospect? How do you start the conversation? Here are five approaches scenarios:
1. Introduction from a mutual contact – You can use the asked and promised method. Example: Mr “X” asked me to contact you and I promised him I would reach out and give you a call
2. If you have common circumstances pay a sincere compliment. Thanks for taking the time to meet with me. I’ve been very impressed with how your business is performing.
3. News: I read about your business in the paper, on the web, Etc.
4. Startling statement – We have a terrific program to overcome the major problems in your business.
5. Provocative statement – I understand that you are losing market share, I’m disappointed, I’m here to help.
Master three of these approaches.
Practice and role play with a friend or your spouse. Make sure your approach is non-manipulative, non-high pressure. You’re here to start a conversation and provide products and services that your prospect needs and wants. (If your prospect doesn’t need your products or services your talking to the wrong target.)
Set the appointment – Remember that your introduction sets the stage for relationship development. Your main goal is to set an appointment with the prospect. When you set an appointment, lock it down.
1. Date, time, place, no escape clause
Some appointments are clearly more difficult than others.
1. Gatekeepers - I’ve spoken with many individuals who struggle with the gatekeeper role. The receptionist provides a valuable service for your prospect. As such she can be a valuable advocate in support of you and your business. View this as another valuable relationship discussion Develop rapport, build the relationship remember her name and send a thank you note for support. Remember that it’s all a process. If you’re working on your ideal and best prospect it’s worth the time
2. Get attention with a pre-approach letter or gift. Make sure to explain the benefits of the appointment regardless of purchasing. This is an amazingly valuable process. Agreeing to an appointment is a behavioral change and people change for a reason. There must be a benefit. If the only benefit to agreeing to a call is the purchase of your product than the prospect is forced to make a benefits decision immediately. His time will be wasted if he doesn’t purchase the product or service. However, if the meeting itself offers value outside of the purchase the time will not be a waste. Once again, time is the great equalizer.
Prospect sources are endless. The first place to research is your current customers. Setting an appointment with new prospects can have a return as low as 1 in 16. Connecting with referrals from current prospects is shown to be almost 1 in 2 for accepting the appointment. Ask politely and easily. Stimulate the customers thinking. Who do you know in your type of business?
Check with orphaned customers. Orphaned customers are previous customers that are no longer active. This is more challenging of course as you might find out a few reasons as to why they are not customers any longer. Customer satisfaction is clearly the key. Regardless of the outcome you will gain insight into your business, enhance the relationship or receive a referral. Your call will generally be received on the strength of your relationship.
I realize this may seem like an awful lot of information just to improve prospecting but this is what it takes to be a professional. Also, realize that not all of these activities need to happen immediately. Changing and learning new habits is a challenge. Pick one new activity each day and practice.
Brian Tracy’s Sales Success Intensive Series’ 1 2 & 3 are excellent opportunities to learn new skills throughout the sales process and it’s a one day activity you can dedicate to improving your sales results. Reach out for more information or request a free quote at www.businesswhitt.com. See our other sales blogs www.businesswhitt.com/blog or give us a call at 714-920-6211.
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