Everyone loves it when leads are converting and the customer base keeps growing. However, only the sales team- especially those focused on sales prospecting know how much effort they had to put to achieve the ‘much-lauded’ success.
Yes, the results are beautiful but you can’t get there without putting in work. Prospecting has got to be the hardest part of the sales process. In fact, 42% of salespeople asserted that prospecting constitutes the most challenging part of the sales process. It involves starting from scratch and building the prospect through the sales funnel.
It is no wonder most sales teams do everything possible to circumvent this stage. But it doesn’t have to be so. This article takes a quick look at what sales prospecting is and some easy expert tips and techniques to get what you need without all the trouble.
What is Sales Prospecting?
Simply put, prospecting is the process of fishing for clients, buyers, or customers for a business. It involves several methods of seeking a new audience, with the end game being to increase the customer base by converting the prospects to happy loyal customers.
Well, it isn’t as easy as it sounds. And the rapid change in the sales world makes it more daunting. Today, sales conversion is way more complicated, as it is focused on individual buyers.
So, how do you ‘go fishing?’ By sending out cold emails? Or social spamming? Well, these methods may bring you a few leads but, they are not effective in the long run.
As much as prospecting is difficult and you just want to run over it, it is crucial to note that not all prospects are good fits for your business. Statistics show that about 50% of your prospect are bad fits.
This is why experts advise sales teams to put in lots of work and focus at the prospecting stage. So, you don’t end up wasting time on the wrong prospects.
What is the Difference Between Leads and Prospects?
A lead is way different from a prospect. A lead is like raw, unprocessed data. It characterizes every visitor who ever showed a slight interest in your services or products. Maybe they just came across your website and visited a few pages. These are not solid prospects yet.
A prospect, on the other hand, is a lead that has qualified as a potential customer. Prospects are visitors who showed interest in your service and qualify in the lead scoring board as a potential customer. That is, they align with your targeted buyer. Prospects are the leads you should spend your time nurturing, as they have higher chances of making a purchasing and recommending you to others.
5 Effective Prospecting Techniques
There are several prospecting techniques employed by salespeople today. With the buyer-focused sales scheme, everyone is coming up with different techniques to see which sticks. Notwithstanding, it is important to spend time on productive prospects. This is why we compiled this foolproof technique to save you time and boost your performance.
1. Don’t Start Cold
Most salespeople are in a hurry to start the first conversation that they forget the first role of sales prospecting – don’t start cold. This is a lead that will likely convert soon, why bombard him or her with spams and/or unsolicited calls.
Research shows that most buyers or clients will readily do business with a firm they heard of. Like salespeople, buyers spend time researching several companies before making a purchase. Therefore, it is essential to get your prospects familiar with you or your businesses before making the first call or sending the first email. You could look up their names on social media, try to get to know them before the first conversation. A shot in the dark is not really a wise way to go about it.
2. Don’t Forget to Follow Up
Prospects are like newborns that deserve all the attention and care. It is not enough to make a good first impression. You have to follow up on all prospects throughout the deal. Also, do not do just ‘checking ins,’ be sure to make them feel you are with them every step on the way.
If you have nothing else to ‘check-in’ with, you could send them additional resources to keep them interested in what you have to offer. This also reassures them that you do know the in’s and out’s of the business. Don’t let your lead go cold. Do follow up.
3. Get Online
The world has gone global. Virtually everyone and everything is online today. Research shows that a good number of millennials and gen Z spend virtually all day on their phone. And what better place to learn more about your prospects than social media platforms.
Social media platforms offer a plethora of benefits to sales teams (and by extension) businesses. It is a good place to go fishing and also a fertile soil to nurture your prospects. Don’t be left behind. Get online!
4. Build Credibility
No one wants to do business with an unreliable team. Your prospects want to know you as much as you want to know about them. They want to know that you are indeed an expert in the field and that you are trustworthy.
You could try filling your website blog section with quality articles, conducting relevant webinars, speaking at related conferences, or writing guest articles. Whatever glove fits your hand. The goal is to establish yourself as a professional and reliable person in the field. This will go a long way to help your prospect trust what you have to say on your first conversation.
5. Don’t Start Selling Immediately
This is a common mistake with most sales team across the globe. True, prospecting is part of the sales process. However, it not advisable to start selling at this stage. Anyone who knows his onions in prospecting knows that this is the stage to win leads over, not to put them under undue pressure. Try building a relationship with your prospects. Make them comfortable. Give them reasons to trust you. Be sure you have successfully won them over before pushing them down the sales funnel.
5 Expert Tips to Get the Bang from Your Prospecting Game
It is no doubt that prospecting can be somewhat challenging and daunting. However, you are sure to get the bang of your effort with the right tips. Some expert tips include;
- Consistency is key: Good things don’t come easily. Even if they do, ‘good’ prospects do not. Therefore, you should be prepared to prospect daily. Remembers “quitters never win.”
- Explore every method available until one works: Remember there is no one-size-fits-all approach in prospecting. Each prospect may need a different prospecting. Whatever the case may be, be sure to keep trying until you get it right. There is no shame in taking a step back, readjusting, and refocusing on your goal.
- Employ reference scripts, if you must: Yes, I know it is not the best approach clients want your original idea. But, it is better to apply a reference script than allow the conversation to go cold. Remember you have to come across as a pro in the field. Make sure you get pro references too.
- Spice things up with cold calling: Cold calling isn’t the best of all prospecting methods, but good cold calling can help you cover some laps in the race. It is crucial to state that cold calling is 100% effective on its own. You should try adding it to other techniques.
- Success takes time. Don’t push it: This is especially true for new prospects. It may seem like a long tiring trip. But giving up shouldn’t be an option. Take the time to nurture the prospect until it is mature enough to convert. Don’t stop trying!