Prospecting for sales is essential to generating revenue for your business. Prospects are people who have the potential to buy from you, but they're not yet customers. This post will teach you how to prospect for sales by following these simple steps.
How to prospect for sales? Prospecting is a much debated art form. Prospecting is the process of identifying, contacting and qualifying prospective customers for your product or service. The purpose of prospecting is to generate new business leads that may be converted into sales.
The problem with most articles on this subject is they provide steps like 'call prospects' or 'grab more business'. These are simply not good enough! A better approach requires you to step back and consider all of the various components of an effective prospecting campaign; then building up from there. Read on for understanding how to prospect for sales.
So, you've decided that you want to start selling something. Maybe you're starting a business, or maybe you just want to start making some extra money on the side. Either way, you need to start prospecting for sales. But how?
Start by identifying your audience. Who are you trying to sell to? Once you know who your target market is, start doing some research on them.
What do they want or need? What are their pain points? What are they already buying? Identify the needs and desires of your target market, and then figure out how your product or service can address those needs.
Once you have a good understanding of your target market, it's time to start reaching out to them.
1. Use social media- Social media is a great way to connect with potential customers. You can use platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find leads and build relationships with potential buyers.
Be sure to post valuable content that will interest your target audience, and respond to comments and messages from potential customers.
2. Cold call potential customers- If you have a list of potential customers, give them a call! Cold calling can be a powerful way to prospect for sales, but it takes some effort to master.
Be prepared to sell yourself and your product or service, and be sure to ask lots of questions to learn more about the customer’s needs.
3. Network with other businesses- You can find potential customers by networking with other similar businesses.
Host a joint event with another business, or meet up at local events to discuss your products and services. This is another great way to develop relationships that may result in sales later on.
4. Email current or past customers to ask for referrals-
If you’ve done business with someone before, email them and ask if they know anyone else who might be interested in your product or service.
If they do, ask them for the person’s contact information so you can make the sale yourself! You can also cross-sell related items once you’ve made a new connection this way as well, which could help increase your average order value per customer.
5. Use a CRM to keep track of potential customers- A CRM (customer relationship management) system can help you keep track of potential customers and their contact information.
This will make it easier for you to follow up with them at a later date, increasing your chances of making a sale.
You can also use a CRM to keep track of your interactions with potential and current customers, so you have a better understanding of what they need and how best to serve them.
Now that you know how to prospect for sales, Here are some tips to produce your very own complete prospecting game plan:
1. Who?- Who do you think will be interested in buying what you're selling? Not just who do you know, but which companies in your industry are most likely to need your product or service?
If you're selling kitchen cabinets, do some research on who the biggest home builders in the country are and make a mental note of which local companies they own.
These are good prospects because they've probably already built homes in your area and will be more than willing to build many more when demand picks up.
2. Where?- Once you know who's most likely to buy, think about where these people (companies) go for information.
Use directories like American Yellow Pages or the Thomas Register to find out what trade associations, chambers of commerce or other groups that these companies may be members of.
Many people join professional organizations with hopes that the exposure will generate new sales leads. Focus your prospecting efforts on these groups and you'll be reaching the people who are most likely to buy.
3. What?- Now that you know who and where to find your prospects, it's time to figure out what you're going to say to them when you call.
This is where your product or service offering comes into play. How do you differentiate yourself from the competition? What do you offer that's unique?
Why should these people buy from you instead of someone else? Take some time to develop a strong message that will resonate with your target market.
4. When?- Timing is everything in prospecting, so make sure to plan your campaign around when your prospects are most likely to be interested in what you have to offer.
If you're offering a package of solutions, you'll want to emphasize certain parts at different times. For example, if your prospects are building homes then they're probably more interested in price and availability during the early stages of their project.
If you meet them when they're ready to choose cabinet finishes, emphasize design and functionality instead.
5. Where?- Now that you've got your list of potential prospects and have determined when to reach them, it's time to figure out where to find them.
This step usually involves a bit of legwork on your part. You need to physically be somewhere near your target audience so that you can intercept them as they go about their business or attend their meetings and conferences.
Make sure that wherever you're going is worth the effort; if you're prospecting for dentists, don't go to the local beauty parlor.
6. How?- Assuming you've now got a solid game plan in place, it's time to put it into action! Start by making a list of all the potential prospects you identified in steps 1-3 and then begin contacting them one by one.
Don't be discouraged if most of them don't bite; it can take up to 8 or 9 contacts before someone finally agrees to buy from you. Remember to always follow-up with everyone you speak to, whether they buy from you or not.
It's important to note that effective prospecting takes time and effort, but the rewards can be worth it. When done correctly, prospecting can generate significant leads for your company; the key is to hire well-trained, professional telephone prospectors who possess good communication skills and are able to approach each conversation in a way that's most likely to lead to a sale.
Now you know how to prospect for sales but Have you ever tried to call 100 people and only get 3 responses? Of course not! You wouldn't make any sales if this were the case.
But why do we expect our prospects to "call us back" after we've sent an email, left a voicemail or reached out on social media?
If you're not using sales prospecting software like Outreach.io then it's time that you realize that your strategy is outdated and ineffective. By implementing one of these tools into your marketing initiatives, you'll be able to:
Get more meetings with busy prospects Automate communication with potential customers Save hours each week in outreach efforts Get more deals closed Analyze all communication data to improve future campaigns.
1. Develop your " Ideal Customer Profile"- Often times when people are looking for software to help them with prospecting they'll check out several different options, but never purchase.
This is because they do not have an understanding of what their ideal customer profile looks like. Prospecting software should be used in conjunction with your company's marketing automation tool (ie: HubSpot, Pardot, Marketo).
You want to ensure that when potential customers land on your website, or receive email communication from you that they've been pre-qualified so you can send them targeted messages based on each stage of the automated buying process.
2. Define your goals- What are you looking to achieve with your proactive outreach? Do you want more meetings? More qualified leads? Better quality leads? You need to have a goal in mind before you can start developing a strategy.
3. Research the best times to reach out to prospects- Prospecting software like Outreach.io allows you to determine the best time to reach out to a prospect based on their location and time zone.
You also have the ability to see what day of the week is most effective for contacting potential customers.
4. Create targeted content- For each stage of the buying process Once you have an understanding of your ideal customer profile, you need to create targeted content that will appeal to them.
Not all prospects are ready to buy at the same time, so you'll need to develop different types of content for each stage of the buying process:
5. Segment your lists- The best way to ensure that you're reaching out to the right people with the right message is by segmenting your lists.
You can do this by dividing your lists into two categories:
a. Existing customers – This list should contain customers who have already bought from you. You'll be able to send them a different message than you will your prospects by promoting a case study, testimonial or webinar they may be interested in.
b. Prospects – This list should consist of people who have either subscribed to your blog, downloaded one of your ebooks or products, reached out to you via social media etc. These are the people that you need to begin reaching out to using sales prospecting software like Outreach.io
6. Create personalized email messages- Once you've segmented and organized your lists it's time to start writing customized emails for each group on their respective list.
Personalized email messages are one of the most effective ways to stand out from the competition and increase your chances of converting a prospect into a customer.
This will help you determine which content is resonating with your audience and what needs to be tweaked.
8. Automate the process- Prospecting software like Outreach.io allows you to automate the entire process of reaching out to potential customers.
You can create templates for email messages, set up triggers so that messages are sent automatically and even schedule calls with potential customers.
Sales prospecting software can be an extremely valuable tool for your business. By following these eight steps you'll be able to develop a strategy that will help you reach your goals and increase your chances of converting prospects into customers.