Prospecting is one of the most effective ways to beef up your sales pipeline, ensure sales continue to flow and improve your bottom line. Unfortunately, prospecting can be a sales professional’s biggest nightmare.
Sales professionals usually avoid prospecting for two different reasons: they are too focused on short-term results, and they see limited immediate results from their prospecting efforts.
The good news is that with a little guidance and some new techniques, your prospecting efforts can improve and so will the results of this effort. The cherry on the pie is that you will come to enjoy prospecting, making this process part of your weekly activities.
Don’t believe me?
Here are six tips that will drastically improve your prospecting strategy and will transform your job to a profitable career:
- Prospect Before You Need To Prospect
- Get Creative With Your Approach
- Nurture Your Relationships
- Take a Soft Touch Approach
- Develop & Refine Your Value Proposition
- Measure. Measure. Measure.
1. Prospect Before You Need To Prospect
One of the biggest mistakes a sales professional can make is to prospect only when sales are slow. Prospecting before you need prospects is the only way to build and maintain a pipeline of prospects that you can tap into on a regular basis.
The strategy for becoming proactive at prospecting is to establish weekly goals and schedule the activities that need to be carried out in order to achieve these goals. If you implement prospecting strategies before you need prospects you’ll always have prospects. (Tweet This!).
We both know the simple fact that the more time you invest in prospecting for new business the more likely it is that you will never experience a sales drought. Prospecting on the regular will help you avoid the sales peaks and valleys that numerous professionals experience.
2. Get Creative With Your Approach
Prospecting is essentially the act of initiating new business relationships that present new business opportunities. In order to be effective in this arena, you must not limit yourself to just one strategy only. There are many effective techniques and I encourage you to try all, or at least some, of them all the time.
In order to be successful at prospecting, you need to identify what works well for you and do that often, but not exclusively. Keep your prospecting toolbox full of variety. For example, if you are really talented at cold calls, you should do that often. But that doesn’t mean that you should abandon tactics like email marketing, networking, direct mail, or referrals.
3. Nurture Your Relationships
Similar to personal relationships, strong business relationships are built over time.(Tweet This!) These strategies don’t guarantee that each interaction with a prospect will result in a sale, rather, they guarantee that you’ll never find yourself without a prospect, without an opportunity, scrounging desperately for a quick sale to help you make your rent this month.
The key to nurturing relationships is to be consistent when you approach clients and make your interactions part of a longer-term plan for business success, rather than a one-off sale. Consistency means that prospects hear from you on a regular basis, not just when you need them.
Some of the best relationships and the biggest deals take the longest time to win. Show your prospects that you’re not only interested in working with them, but that you are dedicated to their needs.
Nurturing relationships is best executed with a plan. How often will you call your prospects? How often will they receive something from you? What will they receive? How can you offer them value at each touch point?
4. Take a Soft Touch Approach
Through all your efforts to nurture and execute your prospecting strategy, keep in mind that prospecting isn’t about selling to strangers. Prospecting is about planting seeds and educating potential clients about who you are and what value you can offer to them. It’s also about information gathering. You should be spending just as much effort, if not more, trying to learn about them. What are their interests? What are obvious pains that you can help relieve? It’s all about soft-touches that open up opportunities for follow-up conversations and sales efforts.
5. Develop & Refine Your Value Proposition
Why should your prospects return your call, respond to your email or take a meeting with you? What is it about you that makes your prospect act?
If you can’t answer this question right away – and confidently – then you should dive deeper into your sales strategy and further develop your value proposition. Your value proposition needs to clearly identify how you can help your prospect solve an issue or problem.
6. Measure. Measure. Measure.
It’s important to track your results and evaluate your efforts. If you don’t know exactly what is working and what isn’t, and why, then how will you be able to make a positive change?
Try tracking your progress for a few months so that you will have a benchmark to set future goals against.
Incorporating some of these tips into your existing prospecting strategy can be the difference between struggling to meet your quota and achieving your goals and developing a high-performing sales career for yourself.
What are some of your greatest prospecting tactics?