Prospecting is the most underrated skill for a salesperson. Most of us look at the closing skills of a sales professional but I personally will give 70 points to a salesperson for his Prospecting Skills and only 30 points for Closing Skills. If a salesperson is great in Prospecting, half of my battle is won!
What is Prospecting?
Prospecting is the act of developing touchpoint with a “Suspect” and the skill of studying the possibility of converting the same into a business opportunity or a “Sales Lead”.
Suspect ———–> Establish Touchpoiont —————–> Prospect ——————> Marketing Qualified Lead ————–>
Sales Qualified Lead —————–> B.A.N.T. Lead —————–> Sales Funnel
We will explain the exact nature of MQL, SQL and BANT lead and Sales Funnel as we proceed forward in this blog.
What are the 5 top myths about Prospecting?
- Anyone can do Prospecting. (The most matured salespersons are required to be good at Prospecting)
- Prospecting does not fetch incentives. Closing sales do! ( If Prospecting does not feed leads into your sales funnel what will the salesperson ever close?)
- Prospecting meetings are meant to impress the Prospect to buy your product. ( These are discovery meetings to understand the prospect, connect with the prospect and then communicate with the prospect)
- Prospecting has nothing to do with final sales closings. ( The need analysis that is done during the prospecting call helps the salesperson to understand whether to take the call all the way to sales negotiation or not.)
- Prospecting is to be done when you are free and have a depleting sales funnel. ( Prospecting is an everyday activity for a salesperson. Those who do not do this normally have an empty sales funnel.)
What are the 4 kinds of Prospects and 3 Baskets from where they come from?
Prospects can be divided into the following 3 baskets
- Convinced (10%) – They are convinced that they do not want your product or service
- Complacent (80%) – They are open to being convinced about your product or service
- Concerned (10%) – These are prospects who are concerned about the problems that your product or service will solve
We strongly advise salespersons not to squander their time over the 10% “Convinced” prospects, to maximize their time with the 10% “Concerned Prospects” and invest balance time on 80% “Complacent prospects”.
Following 4 kinds of Prospect interface styles exist in the market:
- Cold Calls. ( They do not know about you or your product or service at all.)
- Targeted Cold Calls. ( They know you and your product or service through your marketing effort or past sales effort)
- Warm Calls. ( These are inbound leads as a result of some marketing or sales effort in the past)
- Hot Calls. ( These are qualified leads which for some reason is motivated to buy your product or service.)
What are the 7 Keys to set up an appointment with a Prospect?
- Do not meet anyone. (Set an appointment with decision-maker or the right person)
- Ask “Partial Discovery questions” to the prospect while setting up the appointment. Example: “How are you fighting the challenge of _______________ in your business?”
- Engage the prospect on a cold call the way a doctor will do by asking the following mini questions: a) Why do you say that? b) Tell me more…. c) Explain what you mean by that …… d) Really? …….. e) What does that mean to you? f) Why?
- Explain the upside of dealing with you to the customer. Example: What is the value if we are able to provide a solution to your challenges?
- Call to Action (CTA) should be very clear at the end of the prospecting call. Example: Can I make a recommendation to meet this week to put an end to the business challenge just discussed with you?
- A contingency prospecting pitch is very handy if the primary one fails to attract the prospect.
How to start a conversation while Prospecting?
- Always introduce yourself as an expert in the client’s industry by talking about some real sales challenges of the industry.
- Talk about 3 sales challenges that clients may be facing. Example: a) Your sales team are losing orders to your competitors b) Your sales team is giving too many discounts in the market c) Your sales team is not able to generate referrals
- Engage the prospect with a strong Question about his business. This may relate to any one of the following areas:
- The pain of the client
- Value to the client
- Qualify the client as a good sales lead
- The interest of the client
- The credibility of the client in his market
What kinds of value you can generate for the client while Prospecting?
- Technical Value – Significant improvement in product, process or productivity/ performance
- Business Value – Significant increase in the top line or bottom line of business
- Personal Value – Significant growth in career/perks/privileges for the client that you are dealing with due to the value of your offering
What is the Lead Generation Triangle for Prospecting?
- Customers – Prepare the Custome Triangle to translate an infinite database or market horizon into a finite one
- Influencers – Prepare an Influencer Campaign to generate leads
- Aggregators – Prepare an Aggregators Redemption Campaign to generate leads
In a Nutshell
Prospecting is the most serious business in sales. All sales professionals are hungry for prospecting because they know that the number of prospects (Qualified prospects) that one is able to feed in the sales funnel, the more no of sales closures that will happen out of the sales funnel. The maturity required in separating the wheat from the chaff by keeping in mind the Target Group of customers is often the hallmark of a great salesperson.
May the best Salesperson prospect well and win always!