Considered to be one of the key stages of the sales process, prospecting can be a daunting task just because it can be tricky and a lot of factors rely on how successfully you are at it. Although this part of the sales process is usually tasked to the Marketing team, more and more Salespeople are generating leads themselves, establishing relationships with customers way before the sales process even begins.
Because the tone, flow, and success of the sales process rely on prospecting, it’s important that this part is done properly and with attention to detail. You don’t want to risk losing that sale. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably done the job before so here are our suggestions and tips for better sales prospecting.
What is prospecting in sales?
Prospecting is the first stage in the sales process where you and your team collect a database of potential customers or clients for the business using tools and qualifiers to find out if there is a need and if your products and/or services can fill that need. The database is then divided among team members so they can carry out the remaining stages in the sales process with the end goal of converting a prospect into an actual sale or closed deal.
This stage of the sales process usually begins with an outbound contact to establish communication. This is done via emails or phone calls. The primary goal of the initial contact is to convert the recipient to a prospect by qualifying if they have a need for your products and/or services. Since the business world is ever-changing, there are new things to put into practice for better sales prospecting.
Tips for Successful Sales Prospecting
If you’re new to sales prospecting, you should prepare yourself for spending most of your time on the task and perfecting your craft, so to speak. It’s not always going to be fun, but if done right, can be very fruitful for you and the business as a whole.
The first step to successful sales prospecting is research. This activity helps you ensure that you close a sale on a regular basis. Putting in the time to get to know the prospect goes a long way in closing successfully and regularly. Here are some tips for successful sales prospecting:
1. Create your dream profile
As long as you understand the qualifications for a sales prospect, you already have an idea of what your ideal prospect profile may be. Look at your current pool of customers. Their needs led them to your company and graduated them from prospect to actual customers. What are the needs that tie them to your company? What do they all have in common?
What affects their buying decisions? Do they belong in the same location? Are they able to make a buying decision on their own? Can they afford and have access to your products and/or services? These questions help you create a profile of your ideal prospect and you and your team will have an easier time zeroing in on the best candidates.
2. Generate referrals
Nothing gets a business name out there faster than a happy customer. Whether you’re doing enough marketing or not, a customer who is pleased with your product and/or service will not be able to keep their mouths closed about it. Pretty soon, you’ll have more and more prospects who open the conversation with, “I heard about you from so and so…”
How do you get referrals? It’s all about the transition from paper to person, promise to fulfillment, genuinely and effectively filling a need with your product and/or service where there is one. Your company can go the extra mile by providing excellent after-sales care and follow-ups to check for satisfaction.
3. Quality > Quantity
With prospecting, as with sales, quality is better than quantity. Meaning, fewer prospects with a higher chance of actually buying, is better than a long list of prospects that you’re not sure of or on the fence about. Part of creating a successful prospecting plan is coming up with a qualification checklist.
This checklist will not only give you a list of defined qualities to look for in a prospect. It will also make your prospecting job go a little faster, if not be a little easier, because you can either include a prospect in the list should they tick all the items or strike them out if they miss out on one.
How can I improve my sales prospecting?
The key to finding out how you can improve your sales prospecting is to figure out why your current plan is failing and what part of it is not working. You can either brainstorm with the rest of your sales team to find out what their sales prospecting techniques are that prove to be working for them so you can adopt those or you can also research online.
There are other changes that you can make for better sales prospecting. Sometimes it's your delivery or overall approach. It all begins with a sense of awareness to zero in on the changes that need to be made. The good news is that we have more recommendations for you!
4. Get personal
The key to establishing trust and building rapport with a prospect is by relating to them on a human level. You can't do that when you're sounding robotic, going through the motions. Scripts are well and good but it's the little things that make the difference and make you sound genuine although you're reading something prewritten.
Review your scripts and templates and make sure you personalize them when you're talking to someone new. Add a few little extras to make the conversation more real. For example, when they say something relating to their daily struggles, reaffirm their feelings by relating your own experiences.
5. Set aside time for prospecting daily
The old adage “practice makes perfect” applies in the sales prospecting process. Make sure you schedule your prospecting daily, whether it's in the morning or afternoon. Get your team together and put in a joint effort as a group for better sales prospecting. Make sure you have trackers for every contact to maximize the time and make sure it's spent efficiently. This is also a good time for you to test your templates and scripts to see how effective they are and make adjustments as needed.
The more time you have to use your scripts and templates, the more comfortable you will be in making tweaks to personalize it here and there. You will also be exposed to more of your prospects' pains and struggles, giving you a chance to better position your product and/or services.
6. Socialize on social media
In recent years, social media has become more and more essential in building a brand name and creating recall with customers and prospects alike. If you want to make a sizable impact on the market, make your company visible on social media, post on a regular basis, create informative content and engage with your followers.
If social media is something that you're not comfortable with, you can always ask your team if anyone is able to do it. If there's no one around you who's available, you can hire a professional who will take your vision for your social media presence and make it a reality. Taking advantage of social media networks will broaden your reach and make prospecting a little more fruitful for you and your team.
What are the best prospecting techniques?
Finding the best sales prospecting techniques should not be a big venture that's daunting. If you're at a loss for new ideas, or if you feel like what you're doing is not yielding results fast enough, you can call a meeting with your Sales as well as your Marketing team. Tag your CRM Specialist as well so you can take into account the leads and demands gathered from the rest of the market.
Keep refining what you already have until you find a system that works for you and gives you the results that you need. If you want a bit more inspiration, here are some of the things that you can try adding to your routine. Feel free to keep adding new things and removing old ones until you find the right mix that works for you.
7. Show your face
Face-to-face communication, especially in sales, is proven to be over 40% more effective. Seeing someone’s face, being able to observe their mannerisms, posture and expressions help build trust, prove sincerity and authenticity and foster a sense of community. Being able to put a face to a name also helps establish a sense of comfort and familiarity, even in business.
If your company has a Youtube channel, you can create an off-the-cuff video of yourself. Not the heavily-produced, obviously contrived kind, mind you. It should have more of the candid, let-me-introduce-myself-and-our-company vibe. Showing a slightly vulnerable side of you as you discuss business makes it more personal.
8. Identify the need
Better sales prospecting requires quick judgment even though you have to qualify your prospect through a number of items. Being able to pinpoint your prospect's needs and pain points is one part of it. Empathize and connect to them on a personal level to make sure you're getting truthful answers.
Next, you need to judge if your products and/or services can help their needs and pains. If not, it's better to remove them from your list of prospects as soon as you can so you can move on to the next one. Taking the time to find their needs will also give you a better chance to position what you're offering as their much-needed answer.
9. Retry rejections
Being turned down sometimes does not entail a hard no. Remember that people, along with their circumstances and needs, change constantly. Your rejection yesterday can be a “maybe” today and a “yes” tomorrow. What does this mean? Is this license to badge your prospects until they give in? No. There are a few things more annoying than a pushy salesperson.
Set aside your list of rejections for another time. You can work on your script, perfect your templates and your delivery. Reposition points of your pitch in anticipation of your prospects' changed pains and needs. Take your time establishing contact, rapport, and connection, and let the partnership happen naturally.
What are the 4 characteristics of a good prospect?
Prospects tend to have some, if not all, of the same characteristics. These characteristics make doing business with you, availing of your services, or purchasing your product the sensible choice for them. These are prospects that you find you can easily get your foot in the door, so to speak, to secure a sale.
What are the most common characteristics of a good prospect? For better sales prospecting, you should be aware of these. You and your team should have an idea so you can easily close the sale and secure a future loyal customer for your business for many years to come.
1. Being accessible
Better sales prospecting means they’re easily accessible to you. At the same time, your product and/or service should also be easily accessible to them. It would not make sense if you’re unable to reach them to close the sale or if they’re unable to get access or receive your product and/or service.
Consider some of the more extreme reasons. Your prospect might be in another area where it’s unsafe to receive your products and/or services because of legal restrictions. There might also be laws and permits involved. Consider the price of the sale beyond the monetary. If it’s too high and otherwise a risk too big for your company, it might be better for you to look somewhere else.
2. Trust in your name
The brand recall does not always mean that a brand name is associated with a pleasant experience. Sometimes, customer experience is less than satisfactory, leaving your customer swearing not to do business with you anymore. However, the best recall you can hope for is the kind that yields repeat business and referrals.
Prioritize making realistic promises to your prospects so when it comes to delivering on those promises, you won’t fall short. Protect your integrity, take care of your customer and monitor the quality of your products and/or services so your brand name is never compromised. Build a reputation of being a reliable provider whose products and/or services are more than worth the money so you won’t find yourself without any prospects or customers.
3. Being able to purchase
Oftentimes you’ll find people who are aware of the problem or need that they have and they also understand that you have the solution available to them. However, because of certain circumstances, they’re unable to purchase your product or avail of your services. As much as you would like to help them and as confident as you may be about your products or services, they’re still not a good prospect.
A good prospect is someone who has a need for your product or service and can make a purchase whenever they want to. A good salesperson does not shy away from talking about price points early on and a good prospect is pretty much the same. That’s what makes them viable prospects for a successful sale.
4. A call you can answer
It’s important to be able to establish early on in the contact if there is actually a need in your prospect’s life for your products and/or services. Being aware of this need and being able to fill this need early on in your communications with the prospect helps build your confidence about what you can offer.
Take a closer look at your product and/or service and figure out the type of people they cater to. Ask yourself if you did need it, would you actually buy it? Is it worth the purchase? Will you be using it for a long time? Everything needs to make sense so you can close that deal. Otherwise, you’ll be doing your prospect a great injustice.
Better sales prospecting means having the right tools for the job. The task of prospecting can be challenging and a lot of work goes into researching, communicating, and tracking down leads before you can qualify them as prospects and ultimately convert them into clients. A lot of work goes into the process and you need a reliable, well-built tool to help you in your day-to-day prospecting.
Bitrix24 has the powerful b2b sales prospecting software that you are looking for. Enjoy free online storage for all of your trackers, contact lists, scripts and templates, dependable sales reporting, as well as tele- and email marketing made easy. With Bitrix24, you’ll not only be able to watch over your prospects and leads, but you also have a way of monitoring your agents. It’s an all-in-one solution available to unlimited users in your organization for free. Sign up today and explore what Bitrix24 can do for you.