Saturday, September 10, 2011

Prospecting in 2011

from my email:

Daily Sales Tip: Prospecting the Right Way

Unless we have an all-referral business, we all have to prospect to generate new business opportunities. To do that effectively, follow these simple tips and watch your results improve:

1. Ask for permission. Ask if they are open to talking with you now. If they are, ask why they are open. If they aren't open to talking with you now, move on.

2. If you've engaged the prospect in a conversation, ask if your follow-up would be welcomed or an intrusion.

3. If your follow-up will be welcomed, ask when your follow-up would be appropriate. When you arbitrarily set the follow-up date, you have no idea what is on the prospect's plate and you have no idea of their priorities. If you have secured permission to follow up and then asked deeper questions about when, you start to align yourself with their priorities and you don't become a pest.

Most salespeople get frustrated waiting for the prospect to respond. Then they get nervous and tend to start stalking. If you let the prospect set the timetable for follow-up, not only are you building respect and rapport, you are also reducing the amount of time you spend stalking the prospect and losing rapport. You'll also reduce your frustration levels and the number of voicemails you leave for prospects who don't return them.

4. Ask for permission to send business articles that apply to the prospect's problem. Doing that is as simple as this: "I'm constantly staying on top of industry trends and issues. If, between now and the time I am supposed to follow up, I find an article or an idea that might make sense for you, would you be open to receiving that?"

Securing permission to send articles and ideas gives you permission to "market" to them. Giving them something they can use, giving them something of value instead of "just checking in" sets you apart from everyone else. Now your follow-up is about them, and not about you. And when you voicemail them you can insert a fact the prospect can use, thereby adding value.

5. If they are open to receiving articles or ideas, ask them to tell you more about what they are looking for. That will give you tremendous insight into their priorities and how they think. It will also help you qualify the prospect in a different way and help set yourself apart from the rest of the herd.

6. Use reverse psychology. When leaving your voicemail, don't say "Just checking in..blah blah blah!" Instead, try "I found this fact (or I had this idea) and wanted to make sure you had it." Then, leave your name and number, but don't ask them to call you back.

Everyone says, "Call me back." If the prospect is interested, they'll call. If they aren't interested, they won't. So don't ask. Calling back is understood. If you've piqued their interest, they will pick up the phone, or email you, and further engage. Telling the prospect to call you back won't make them contact you if they aren't planning to already. So don't bother. You'll be less frustrated and the prospect will feel less guilty.

Prospecting today has changed. You've got to do the things that get prospects' attention and add value. If you are just checking in, your prospects are checking out. Prospect the right way.

Source: Sales author/trainer Ryan Sarti

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