Top Sales Prospecting Techniques You Should Have Started Using Yesterday
Whether you’re a sales veteran or just starting out, it can be easy to do what everyone else does - minimal networking, exchanging business cards, making calls, and doing enough research to hope the deal pulls through.
Would you rather go with the corporate flow? Or take your sales to the next level?
The age-old sales song and dance can work out sometimes but, believe us, it’s worth putting in a little extra work and really figuring out which prospecting techniques make you stand out from your competition and ultimately, close more deals.
Read on to see our top prospecting techniques that we think you should’ve been using long ago.
Are you looking for a planning tool to help you streamline your pipeline management? We can help!
What Is Sales Prospecting?
Make sure to highlight this definition in your handy Merriam Webster Special Sales edition, “Sales prospecting is the act of recruiting or seeking out new customers for a business. Prospecting is a common role of a salesperson. It is associated with a goal of increasing the customer base of the company and generating new revenue streams.”
Proper sales prospecting is one of the most important things a salesperson can do to ensure their success.
It is vital for a salesperson to continually find and connect with new prospects. If you don't keep up the pace you won’t be successful, or even worse, you may risk losing your job.
Create a Quality Sales Lead List
The blueprint to sales success starts with a quality sales lead list. Keep your friends close and your network closer by staying organized and on top of your connections.
The sales industry may be evolving every day, but one thing has not changed - word of mouth is still incredibly important. People are more likely to do business with people they know, or people who have been recommended by friends and family.
Start building your list by looking to the people who are close to you.
While you may find comfort in staying within your network, it’s important to expand beyond just your network and acquaintances.
A great way to build your lead list is by attending local events or conferences to connect with new people.
Just be careful not to come off as too “sales-y”, or you may scare off new connections before they even have the chance to become an opportunity to pursue.
Remember, conversations are more appealing and well-received than outright sales pitches.
Starting with a simple conversation will give you a better perspective on a prospect’s needs and concerns. Listen intently, build trust, and then let them know you may have a solution that will help them solve a problem they’re experiencing.
Cold Calls Are So Last Year - Start Making Warm Calls
Cold calls are rapidly becoming a technique of the distant past. The last thing you want to do is make one. It’s important to establish a valid connection with a prospect before calling them.
Not only is it preferable, but you will have increased your chances of success if a prospect knows your name and a bit about you before calling.
If possible, find a way to be introduced by a shared connection. You can look back at the list of qualified sales leads you’ve created to see if you have any mutual connections who can introduce you.
If you don’t have a mutual connection, turn to social media outlets like LinkedIn or Twitter as an easy and informal way to establish a connection.
Comment or "like" the content they’ve shared to help keep your name top of mind while also showcasing your expertise and interest in a particular subject. You may even gain additional insight to their business needs using this method.
Social platforms are a great way to find industry-focused groups. Joining these types of groups and actively participating will help you uncover industry trends, thought leaders to follow, as well as help others view you as a reliable and credible source.
If someone frequently engages with your content, feel free to reach out and ask if they have any pain points/topics they’d like to see you cover.
This will open up the conversation so you can see if you can take the connection a step further and possibly talk to them about using your product or service.
When communicating on social media, just remember to keep your interactions professional and relevant.
Have a Script, But Be Prepared To Adlib
Having a script is well and good, but an excellent salesperson should always be ready and willing to speak candidly.
Before going into any first meeting or even making a warm call, you should feel well versed enough to answer any question your prospect may throw at you.
Some salespeople use a cheat sheet on their desk ready with key benefits, responses to tough questions, and information needed to qualify the opportunity. This will provide you with hard to memorize info yet still allow you to talk in a natural manner.
Don’t get thrown off balance when you get a “no” response either. Make a habit of writing out the common objections and issues you receive during each meeting. Then, practice scripting out your responses. You’ll be more prepared and won’t be caught off guard the next time you hear that objection.
You can also focus on asking the right questions after you hear “no” to continue the conversation in a productive way.
If you frame your questions in a way that exemplifies curiosity instead, you could productively reframe your conversation. Remember, preparation will arm you with the right questions to ask in these situations.
When you have a strong understanding of how your product and/or service will address a problem your prospect or customer is trying to solve for, then you’ll feel more comfortable straying from your script and going deeper into the conversation.
Experiment With New Ways to Connect With Prospects
While following the same old routine, you may have missed out on new opportunities to connect with prospects.
Avoid cookie cutter approaches, and experiment with new sales techniques to truly stand out from the competition.
Get Creative With Email
While using email is an inexpensive and efficient way to connect with new prospects, it’s not typically the most creative canvas to work with.
If you want to take your prospecting emails up a level, try adding engaging video content as a way to increase their value to your audience. It can be anything from a 30-second clip explaining an industry trend, or a funny GIF that’s sure to make your prospect crack a smile.
Sharing relevant and engaging content will make prospects more responsive to your emails and drive them to your company’s website.
Reach Out With Personalization
Another prospecting technique to experiment with applies to networking events or conferences. Let’s say you’ve met a potential customer and you’ve spent time bonding while discussing the event topic and speakers. But you got so carried away in the conversation that you didn’t get to a point where you could talk about providing a solution.
Keep the conversation going after the event by sending them a book or article that relates back to the conference with a note attached.
For example: “Hey (insert name), it was great meeting you at the (conference/networking event) last week. We talked about the importance of digital ad sales but I didn’t get a chance to recommend this book to you and it’s one of my favorites on the topic. Figured I’d send it your way and if you have any other questions on how digital ad sales may work for your company, feel free to reach out. If not, hope you enjoy the book!”
People love having a personalized experience, so make the next person you meet feel extra special by adding a personal touch that speaks to them and makes them feel heard.
Be the Hostess with the Mostess
As a more long term tactic, you may consider hosting your own event.
An approach of this sort would be an invite-only luncheon or cocktail party for CEO’s and other top level execs.
This technique may take more time to yield results since you’re inviting them to network with each other while also getting to know you as an industry leader. However, you’ll be able to hear their pain points and build fruitful relationships. Furthermore, hosting an event shows initiative, organization, and the forward thinking it takes to be a leader.
If you choose this option, focus on making the event feel intimate and exclusive.
You’ll be able to focus on building relationships while also providing value to your attendees by creating an environment of learning and sharing among like-minded professionals.
Start Prospecting Differently Today
If you’re already using some of these tips, then great, you’re ahead of the game!
If not, start prospecting differently by using these top tips to help you build out a qualified sales list and successfully nurture your prospects through the sales process.
When your prospects see you as a thought leader in the industry and as a person they should know and work with, you’ll begin to gain trust and ultimately, close more deals!
Want more help streamlining your pipeline management?
Download our latest eBook and get insight into identifying the “right” number of prospects, creating deal flow to increase sales productivity and more: http://info.dmtraining.net/5-simple-prospecting-tips-to-increase-your-sales-free-ebook
About Molly DePasquale
Molly DePasquale is the Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.