You got into one of the greatest professions in the world. You are able to connect to clients at a touch of a button, on your smart phone or computer. If you really want to close sales those sales, first you will have to get good finding qualified prospects.
All new and seasoned sales people look for new customers to sell their products or services to. You can read any book or listen to any sales podcast and you will hear the importance of prospecting new clients.
What is Prospecting?
Prospecting means using all the available tools you have to find new customers to sell your products or services to. This is an important step when looking to create new business and earn a pay check. You must know who your prospects are because these are the people who will be buying from you if you take all the right steps in the sales process.
Your goal in prospecting is to create an inventory of qualified potential customer who may or will need what you are selling.
If you are not sure how to set goals, then you many want to sit with your direct sales manager and ask for guidance.
Ways To Identify Good Prospects
A lot of salespeople waste time, money and effort in, The Shotgun Approach. They try to sell everyone because they believe, everyone is a prospect, when this is not always true. Click here for more detail.
We need to qualify our prospects before we ever try to sell them anything. This means we have to discover a need.
A qualified prospect is anyone who needs your product or service, will pay you on time and is likely to purchase once and/or on an on going basis.
How Many Contacts Should I Have In My Inventory?
All successful salespeople make sure they have enough qualified prospects to achieve their sales goals. You should never run out of qualified prospects and if you do that means you are not finding ways to create business with or through each person you are in contact with. For more details, check out this article.
How to Find Prospects
Before you start to look for new prospects you should look at your current sales funnel. This will let you know where you are and where you want to be, based on the targets you have set. You will need to establish sales goals and plan on how you will succeed in meeting those targets. All new and seasoned salespeople know that sales is the life line of any business. Unless you’re not looking to grow, new sales prospects are needed to grow your numbers, business and bottom line.
If you are not sure how to find prospects or are not sure how many people you need to talk to ask to sit with your manager. You need to know exactly how many people you need to prospect and close, to hit your targets. This mean you need to decide your success ratio. This should be based on your sales numbers or the industry average.
Before you can start selling face to face you need to game plan and predict your sales success. This mean you will need to do some simple math to get an idea of what you need to do to have a successful month to month career.
Let’s say in your industry the average sales person closes 2 out of every 10 prospects. Lets also say your goal is 10 new sales each month. This mean your will need to talk to 50 people each month to hit your target monthly.
Why Some Sales People Are Not Good Prospectors
Fear of Rejection
Many people are not good at finding new prospects to showcase their products or services to. If you want to be good at sales, then get used to rule number one! Don’t fear rejections. This is one of the biggest reasons most sales professionals fail. They don’t want to hear NO, so they talk themselves out of a sale, new customer and asking for referrals.
Have you ever heard yourself say one of these lines? If you have, you are making excuses to why you should not succeed.
- The prospect is already happy with the product or server they have.
- I can’t compete with company X because of their price.
- I’m a woman and some men don’t want to buy from a woman.
- I’m sure the prospect is too busy to see me today.
- They will say NO to me because I’m too young. They will never take me seriously.
- My company is small and they have a million dollar business, they probably want to deal with someone large than us.
- I heard someone tried to sell them before and the company was not interested then, I’m sure they have not changed their minds.
- The prospect probably is to old and they will not get the technology behind my product or service.
We tell ourselves what we need to hear and talk ourselves out of millions of dollars in our lifetime. It is easier to go for the low-lying fruit but if we reach out we might find that the fruit which seems out of reach, is reaching for us also.
We have to realize that the customer is not saying NO to us rather we need to believe that if the customer is buying a similar product already, then they should be buying it from us.
Have A Positive Mental Attitude And You Will Succeed
What is a Positive Mental Attitude? It is believing in yourself. It is knowing that you can sell anything to anyone and everyone you talk to needs or wants your product.
If you believe in what are selling then you should also strongly believe that everyone needs your product. If we fail to present out product to the prospect then we will fail to get a YES.
All successful sales professionals know that a list of potential buyers will lead then through a successful the sales cycle, where they will find success. There positive mental attitude will add to their confidence when finally dealing with the customer face to face.
It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we have the confidence and realize people need what we have to sell. If you feel your being pushy and do not want to come off aggressive, that’s normal. I have found the customers will tell you if you are stepping over the line.
There is nothing wrong with asking prospects to do business with you.
Different ways to Find New Prospects
Before we go through different ways to prospect. You have to know where to prospect. This one is easy. Everywhere you go and all the time. You’re a sales person and your “office” is always open for business. Everyone you talk to could be a potential buyer today or in the future.
When you are prospecting new business, you have need to be deliberate in your plan of action. Do not be like most sales agents who feel that they can just “wing it” and make their monthly targets.
The best sales people:
- Check Current Files – This means prospect the customers that are already doing business with your company.
- Ask People They Know For Their Business – People that you know can benefit from your product. If you don’t ask them, someone else will. If your friends don’t buy from you, ask them for referrals.
- Take Part In Industry Gatherings – It is a great place to meet people, network and find new clients.
- Ask Current Customers For A Referral – Build good relationships and ask satisfied customers for names of people they feel will benefit from your product or service.
- Ask Your Current Customers To Introduce You – A warm hand off will show that you are a trusted person to do business with.
- Check Business Listings – You can find prospects in trade associations and Chambers of Commerce listings for your business segment.
Contacting Your Prospect The First Time
Send out a letter or email explaining who you are and include any helpful information that will help the prospect know what you do. Include your name and company name.
Keep in mind. These day companies receive hundreds of email each day and yours can get lost, so make sure you let the prospect know that you will follow-up with a phone call. Let them know when you will be calling, date and time.
Now that you have a date you will follow-up, you will need to find out all you can about your customer.
You can call their office and chat with the secretary and ask a few questions to find to the information you need.
Can should visit the companies website and learn all you can about the company, their products and services and how your product or service can help them improve sales, their bottom line and/or customer satisfaction.
The more strategies you can combine the better your results and the better chance you will have for a fact to face meeting and a closed sale.
Planning Your Approach
Want to be successful? Then you have to plan. Take your time at this step as it will make or break you in the world of sales. Read previous sale article on asking questions and listening. Click this for another article.
Once you have your approached written out, it is time to practice and adjust until you have it just right.
Once you get your approach down. Call the client and ask for the face to face meeting. Don’t quite because they say NO or if don’t have time. Be persistent and do not give up.
Once you have your approach down do not be afraid experiment different approaches. Everyone you talk to will not relate to your one approach.
Remember the goal is to add to your inventory of qualified prospects. This is not a sales call. Before you call make sure you understand what you are looking to achieve.
YOUR GOAL IS TO GET A FACE TO FACE MEETING!
When calling the prospect ask for them by name and introduce yourself right away. We know the prospects name because we did our homework before we called.
Ask for a few moments of their time and find out what the prospect does at the company. Sometimes the people we think we need to talk to are not the people who make the final buying decision.
Ask open-ended questions. This will get the prospect talking and your job is to listen.
You can only get to this step if you have asked enough questions and understand the prospect.
If the person you are talking to is not the decision maker ask to talk to them but if the person you are talking to is the decision maker then you need to:
- Find out what products or service they are currently using.
- Ask what the prospect enjoys about their current products or services.
- Find out why they purchased that product or service from the competing company in the first place.
- Ask what the prospect would change about the current product or service.
When the prospect tell you what they would change or what they do not like you will be able to tailor your presentation and show how your product will satisfy their needs.
Tell your prospect a few benefits and advantages of your product or service. Remember you are not looking to sell, you are only checking interest.
Ask For The Opportunity To Do Business
This is an important step that many salespeople get wrong. They forget to ask for the right to do business with the prospect. Let prospects know you want their business and are willing to work for it.
Even though the prospect is doing business with a competitor, they will be happy to do business with a friendly face.
Points To Consider
When finding new prospects know that each person you talk with is different. How you handle each relationship will be important to your success. You will find some prospects are easy to work with and others who are demanding.
When your on the phone with the prospect know two things will come up:
- They will only do business with the company with the best price. This is when you will need to show the value of your product or service if your price is higher.
- Do not do a lot of work, just to find out the customer is not interested. Find out what it will take to earn their business and get the prospects commitment before you start doing the work.
The life line to your success, in a sales career, is going to come from you looking for new prospects. Once you stop looking, your career will soon come to an end.
Understand it is going to take some work to find new customers and build the confidence in you and your product or service.
Salespeople who do the necessary prior planning will find that they will have more success compared to those who do not plan.
Now its your turn to make a difference. Share the solution people are looking for on your favourite social media platform. It’s easy to do and a proven fact your inner circle wants to know what you know.
Leave a comment by telling us what one tip you will apply to get out of the box and drum up new business.
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