Sales Prospecting

A consistent conundrum amongst sales teams is how to sales prospect effectively. There are three books that I will write on as it relates to sales prospecting and they are as follows: “High Profit Prospecting” by Mark Hunter, “Fanatical Prospecting” by Jeb Blount, and “Take the Cold out of Cold Calling” by Sam Richter.

Jeb Blount shared that sales representatives are fearful of interrupting people. He goes even further to suggest that you can give sales a list of current customers or leads and they will sit on the list. He speaks to leads going days without a call back even though statistics say that if you call a person back within minutes that your ability to close a sale is 5 times greater. Jeb has repeatedly stated that the telephone is still the best tool to use when prospecting.

A tip that Jeb Blount suggests is to start with a strong list. I can’t tell you how many sales reps that I come in front of Fanatical Prospectingwho don’t have a list of their top 200, a number I like to use. No problem, let’s look at your CRM tool next and see if we can identify them. These tools are amazing if used appropriately. I will ask to see next steps or alerts or anything that helps determine the top 200 which will have prospects outside the 90-120 day pipeline, which need to be nurtured. I am trying to learn if the rep has a sales process or if it is helter-skelter each day, which tends to be the norm.   I have learned that the most successful sales people are self-disciplined, organized and persistent. Chet Holmes, author of “The Ultimate Sales Machine”, would refer to this as pigheaded stubbornness and determination.

Jeb Blount says you should have phone blocks and you should eliminate all distractions. Print your list and turn off you mobile phone and computer. This is contrary to how most sales reps think; sales people want to use their CRM to find a person to call and then add notes after each call. I agree with Jeb that this creates inefficiencies and can kill momentum. Print your list, write notes on it and at the end of the session type the notes into your CRM system. You should be able to make 50 calls a day within an hour that should yield 2-5 good appointments with a well-managed list. Jeb uses a term he has coined as the “Prospecting Pyramid” turning a sales funnel upside down and prioritizing calls by having a higher probability of doing business with you and by being highly qualified. First 10-15 calls start at the top of the pyramid with the goal of moving them to a next step in the sales cycle. You work your way down with goals of setting an appointment or just gathering information. He suggests that this creates momentum by calling on the prospects most likely to answer your call. Although, he mentions the pothole of sales folks stopping once they get a couple appointments in the first few calls. Remember, prospecting is easier with top prospects and will result in appointments but also is necessary to help grow suspects into prospects by gathering information to qualify them. Stay disciplined and make all 50 calls!

Read Jeb’s book, “Fanatical Prospecting”, as there is more tips that can help and he provides a 1-year subscription in each book to some online resources.

I would now like to write about a part of Mark Hunter’s book, “High-Profit Prospecting”, and give you his 10 tips for Prospecting with the telephone. He has top tips for getting a phone number, for leaving a voicemail, when sending anHigh-Profit Prospecting email, and more. I try to give a tidbit each book I read, but not give the whole book away for free. Hopefully, it keeps me out of trouble with the authors.

His ten tips for telephone prospecting include:

  1. Make the call about the prospect and not you – you can get an appointment if you understand their business versus talking about your business and why they should give you an appointment
  2. Speak with energy – it is important to have confidence. Some tips include standing up, getting a good headset, and knowing what you want to say beforehand
  3. If door closes on you, find a different door – there is more than one number or one person you can try to call
  4. Be prepared regardless of how the call is answered – don’t expect every call to go as planned be prepared, flexible, and have the ability to tailor each call
  5. Use a quality headset to make your calls – it helps to create clear communication and reduce noise if you are in a bullpen and goes back to #2
  6. Keep records – log whomever you called, what you said and any next steps. Logs can help you understand the best method and time to reach the prospect. Remember each prospect is different.
  7. Never think one call is all it will take – this reminds me of the statistics behind following up
  8. Never leave the same voicemail twice with the same person – more importantly never send the same communication twice to the same person. If they didn’t respond the first time, then they will just be irritated the second time.
  9. Call right before the top of the hour to reach busy people – love this one as he speaks to most meetings starting at the top of the hour. They may be at their desk preparing for the meeting causing them to pick up the phone as they await
  10. Never give up – if you recognize the potential and that they are a qualified prospect then be persistent. All good things come in due time.

Both Mark Hunter and Jeb Blount speak to a multi-faceted approach when prospecting. You can’t use the same channel, on the same day, at the same time and expect your results to grow. It is important to vary your methods of prospecting until you discover the preferred method of communication. You must provide different value and benefit each and every time you prospect a dream client.

This brings me to Sam Richter’s book on “Taking the Cold Out of Cold Calling”. See my presentation on SlideShare, but Sam provides tips on how to find information on a dream client as well as how to find insights worth sharing with the client about their industry, challenges they may be facing, changes they may be experiencing, etc.

Good prospecting and thank you for reading my article.

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