Prospecting is the process of identifying and reaching out to potential customers who may be interested in your product or service. Effective prospecting is essential for any salesperson as it is the first step in the sales process. In this blog post, we will discuss how you can become more proficient at prospecting and some techniques you can use while prospecting. Here are 5 Prospecting tips you can develop and use from now on to help you achieve your targets.
Know your target market.
Before you start prospecting, it is important to know your target market. What are their, Demographics, Firmographics and Psycographics. ? This includes understanding their needs, preferences, and pain points. And it includes understanding their business model and how they do business. This knowledge will help you tailor your approach and increase the likelihood of a positive response.
Knowing your market will help you identify where you might find your ideal customer. For example. Attending a seminar, for people training to become the captain of a ship is not the best place to find Retail Managers of hight street stores. Knowing where your target customers congregate both physically and virtually is a starting point to begin to communicate your message and solution to them.
But first things are first. We want to look at low hanging fruit for your products or services so the first question to ask yourself is “Who do I know, that may be interested in my product or service?” and contact them first. These may be friends, family, or past customers from previous jobs that you have held.
As you have conversations with people and by listening actively to what they say will give you the information you need to discover whether they are an actual prospect for your product or service. If they are not, it may be a good time to ask for a Referral to someone that they might know who may have a need or be interested in your product.
This conveniently brings us onto our second tool you can use when prospecting and that is called….
Ask for referrals.
Referrals are a powerful tool for generating new business. By leveraging your existing network of contacts, you can ask for introductions to potential customers who may be interested in your product or service. Referrals can also help you establish trust and credibility with your prospects.
Now one thing to remember is that just because the “prospect” you are speaking to eventually tells you they are not interested in your product or service, does not mean that you cannot ask them for a referral. If you have done a good job, built good rapport and in general got along well with the prospect. Then there is no reason why you cannot ask for a referral from them.
Business Networking International (BNI) is an international Networking organisation that has chapters or groups in just about every city in the world uses the simple question “Who do you know that may be interested in My/our service/product?”
You will be surprised how many referrals you will get if you ask.
But John, Where will I get the opportunity to ask for a referral, Well I’m glad you asked me that. Read the next tip to find out.
Attend networking events.
Attending networking events is a great way to meet potential customers and establish new relationships. Whether it’s a trade show, conference, or local business event, networking allows you to introduce yourself, exchange business cards, and learn more about your target market. Now that we are back in the real world after covid more and more people are meeting in person and Networking events and conferences are coming back. In our other article how to network effectively you can learn some of the tools and techniques that you can use when at in person events.
Cold calling is a traditional but effective prospecting technique. By reaching out to potential customers over the phone, you can introduce yourself, explain the benefits of your product or service, and gauge their interest. It is important to have a script and be prepared for objections.
But John!!!! Cold Calling is DEAD!!! I hear you screaming, Well , I have news for you, Cold Calling is the difference between you and your target, target market and achieving all of your goals in Sales and Business Development. The most successful salespeople use cold calling to help hit their target and keep their pipeline full. Have a read of our cold calling tips article to begin your journey to getting to your target faster than your peers.
Following up is crucial for effective prospecting. It is important to follow up with your prospects after your initial contact, whether it’s through email, phone, or social media. This shows that you are interested in their business and increases the likelihood of closing the sale.
In his book “The Ultimate Sales Machine” by Chet Holmes. This book emphasises the significance of consistent and persistent follow-up efforts in achieving success in sales. The research found that 71% of salespeople only made one or two attempts to contact a potential customer, while it often takes 5 to 8 follow-up attempts to close a sale.
Additionally, 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after the initial meeting, but 44% of salespeople give up after just one follow-up attempt. These findings suggest that salespeople who are persistent and consistent in their follow-up efforts are more likely to close deals than those who do not follow up enough.
Now, although these statistics were published in the Book and in the Harvard Business Review as far back as 2006, the statistics still hold firm and are as true today as they were back then. Even if the statistics have dropped by as much as 50%, it still goes to show that following up in sales is one of the most important things you can do when prospecting and selling.
For more information or to discuss your sales training requirements why not set up a meeting to discuss your requirements