Finding those ideal prospects is probably the most challenging task in the Sales process, but putting time in at this stage will greatly enhance your chances of converting a prospect into a potential client. It will provide you with the all-important company insight, which will help develop your case at the initial appointment stage and develop a rapport with your client. It won’t go undetected, the client will know you have spent time researching their company and are genuinely interested in what they do. It is good time management to have a small number of high quality prospects than a large portfolio of poor ones.
Prior to making prospect calls
Decide on a market which is not too niche and will provide you with a rich prospecting environment to research and work from E.g. Estate agents, insurance or finance. Develop your message around one of the following value creating areas:
1. Uncover an unrecognised problem. Help them look at problems, issues opportunities in new ways.
2. Offer unanticipated solutions. Help them arrive at a more beneficial solution than they would have done on their own.
3. Act as a broker of services, a customer advocate within your own organisation.
- Find core reasons why recent customers have bought your product. What issues or problems did you resolve for them?
- Now link the problems you have researched to your chosen target audience.
- Look to find companies within your chosen market with similar problems using: twitter, blogs, LinkedIn, Facebook, news articles and marketing data from a variety of sources.
- Once you have found possible companies, research them individually. Find out current changes to their business/ senior staff initiatives that may be relevant in building your case.
- How will these problems be viewed and interpreted by senior personnel from different buying positions within the company. I.e. Sales Director, IT Director, Marketing or Production. You will need to be able to view problems from each sector and buying position to clarify possible pressing issues.
- List out what it would mean to each of them if these problems remained unresolved. What would the overall impact on the division and operation be if left unresolved?
Make sure you have something interesting and insightful to say about the prospects business. Gain their attention by demonstrating an interesting perspective on current issues:
“We have seen many companies feeling the pressure to improve staff time management and are experiencing increased costs in relation to travel in order to meet customer demands and expectations. We believe there is a direct link between improving customer satisfaction and internal communication processes. I see that you are currently expanding your UK sales operation and would be keen to discuss how this might impact staff time management and ultimately your bottom line.”
- This is a customer focused call to a prospective client.
- Never lecture or inform, you want to meet up not sell on the phone, so only provoke interest.
- Write to the prospect if you prefer, but keep it short and to the point – digestible in moments so that it’s not binned.
- Value creating. By selecting one of the value creating areas above (1-3) as the theme of your message you focus your approach, whilst creating a professional view of how you perceive the prospect and their business issues.
Good prospecting Means:
- Crafting messages that are tuned to the prospective client who either recognises the need for change , is currently evaluating suppliers or is about to make a purchase decision. Prospects who don’t perceive a need for change or have just made a purchase are not in the buying cycle, move on.
- Connect with what your customer cares about and your capabilities in order to generate positive change. Leverage your expertise and service rather than your product and company information, the prospect will link with you and not just your product.
Vertical market prospecting helps you focus on possible problem areas that are industry specific. It helps define unrecognised problems allowing you to present unanticipated solutions whilst credentialing your capabilities.
If you’ve got this far then you’re serious about improving your skills. I hope you have found this sales blog useful and can take some of the tried and tested suggestions and make it work for you.
In my next post i will be looking at the sales call…