Powerful Prospecting Tips
Why is it that some sales reps consistently
earn a six-figure annual income while other reps, putting in the same
hours, selling the same products and trained by the same sales manager
struggle each month financially to make ends meet? The answer to this
question is painfully simple; the six-figure sales reps spend more
time on the phone and never forget to ask for referrals!
Top producers don't need to be told to ask for
referrals or follow up on hot leads, because they understand that
prospecting is a necessity and not just an activity. The good news is
that prospecting for new business, like any other skill, can be
trained and developed into a habit. Here are six powerful prospecting
tips to build your business:
One: Don't Forget to Ask for Referrals: When it comes to asking
for referrals, timing is everything. Research indicates that the most
effective time to ask for referrals is right after you've made the
sale or provided a valuable service for your customer. Asking for
referrals prior to closing the sale is a big mistake and may even
jeopardize the sale itself. Once the sale has been completed, your
customer will be on an “emotional high” and far more receptive to
the idea of providing you referrals.
Two: Train and Reward Your Advocates: An advocate is a person
who's willing to go out of his or her way to recommend you to a friend
or associate. Most customers are initially reluctant to provide
referrals without some basic training and motivation.
Once you're given a prospect, it's a good idea
to take the time to role-play with your advocate to demonstrate how to
approach and talk to their referral. A brief role-playing exercise
will build your advocate's confidence and keep them from overeducating
their referrals. During your role-play session, be sure to prepare
your advocate to expect some initial resistance. This training will
pay big dividends by making your advocate more effective and less
likely to become discouraged when faced with rejection.
Always take the time to thank your advocates
and give them feedback on the status of their referrals. I recommend
that you call them and then follow up by sending a thank you card and
Three: Strike While the Iron is Hot:
Prospects, like food in your refrigerator, are perishable and
therefore need to be contacted quickly. Each day you let slip by
without making initial contact with your referral dramatically reduces
the probability of you making the sale. Develop the habit of
contacting your referrals within two-business days or sooner. Have a
system to keep track of your referrals so they don't end up falling
through the cracks. It's critical to have a computerized client
contact management system to record your remarks and track future
contacts and appointments. Relying on your memory alone is a very poor
business decision that will cost you dearly.
Four: Schedule a Minimum of Two-Hours a Day for Phone Calling:
Make your phone calls in the morning while you and your referrals are
both fresh and alert. Treat your prospecting time with the same
respect you would give to any other important appointment. This is not
the time to check your e-mails, play solitaire on the computer, make
personal phone calls or chat with your associates.
Avoid the temptation to try and sell your
product or service over the phone. Your objective for every phone call
is to create interest, gather information and make an appointment. If
your prospect asks you a question, get in the habit of going for an
appointment rather than giving a quick response.
Don't shoot from the hip use a script. It's
important to use a phone script when you contact your prospect so you
don't leave out any key information. It's a good idea to role-play
your script over the phone with your sales manager until he or she
feels you sound confidence and professional.
Five: Qualify Your Prospect at Maximum Range: Unfortunately, not every prospect will be interested or qualified
financially to purchase your products or services. Successful sales
reps don't waste time chasing after low-probability prospects and know
when it's time to cut their losses and move on.
Six: Don't Take Rejection Personally: Selling, like baseball, is a
numbers game pure and simple. Rejection is to be anticipated as a
natural aspect of the qualification process, so don't take it
personally. Learn from rejection by using it as a valuable feedback
mechanism. Salespeople who take rejection personally lack perseverance
and seldom make the sale.
For the majority of salespeople, prospecting
for new business is without a doubt the most challenging and stressful
aspect of the selling process. Selling is a contact sport and daily
prospecting for new business is the key to every salesperson's
long-term financial success. By integrating these six powerful
prospecting tips into your daily business routine, you'll be able to
keep your appointment calendar packed!
Read other articles and learn more
about John Boe.
article may be freely reproduced electronically or in print,
provided it is published as written and includes contact
information. A courtesy copy would be appreciated.]