Problem: Many salespeople wish there was a secret formula to prospecting successfully for new customers. We often hear salespeople moan, “If only more people would listen and talk to me. We know they would buy our service.”
Analysis: Prospects are bombarded with sales messages and buying opportunities. One recent study estimated that on average each of us is exposed to more than one thousand messages every day. Add to this the complexity and pace of business, prospects have no real way to cope but to screen out much of what they hear and see. Further, prospects buy for their own reasons and at the time that is right for them-not for your reasons or timing.
Solution: Follow these fundamental rules of prospecting for business:
- Make a one-hour appointment with yourself every day to prospect. This takes discipline and is easy to put off. Don’t.
- See the end before you begin. Clearly identify the sales results you want and lay out the steps or “campaign” on how you will accomplish it.
- Develop your cold call script and introductory pain probe that fits with your prospecting activity and the objective you want to accomplish in your call. Refine your script frequently to maximize results.
- Research and create a list of your most likely prospects and make as many calls as you can. This improves the quality of calls. More calls are always better than less.
- Keep calls brief (no more than 2-3 minutes). Remember the purpose of your call: to find out if the prospect has enough pain to warrant spending time with you to talk about it.
- Work without interruption. The more you prospect, the better you get and the more momentum you will have. The hour will fly by.
- Call during off peak hours to take advantage of better times to reach your prospects and to avoid times when high volumes of other calls are being received by your prospects.
- Be organized and keep records of whom you called and what was discussed. Schedule the timing of callbacks so you don’t miss them.
- Stay with it. Sustained effort and positive activity leads to results. There are no exceptions.
- Reward yourself when you accomplish your prospecting goals. Positive reinforcement helps you sustain the effort.