How to Avoid Having Skinny Kids in Sales - “Effective Prospecting”
Part IV of a V Part Series
How large a role does prospecting have in successful sales - it is everything. The sales industry is going through a revolution. There is no longer a need to prospect if you buy this piece of software it will do the heavy lifting for the sales team - NOT. These software tools are useful to assist with the sales process.
If you want to be truly successful at sales you need to have a plan, a purpose and a roadmap for success.
Prospecting is a gritty, tough nasty part of the sales process. It is no wonder so many sales people would rather have a coyote chew their arm off than pick up the phone. So how do you make the most of this situation? Stop looking for the magic bullet, and start effective prospecting. Formulate a plan and go to work building a sales cadence. What is a sales cadence? A process for contacting your “could be” buyer through voice mail, mail, e mail, networking and face to face calls.
Considering the average sales rep has about a 10% closing rate, they would have to call on 10 prospects in order to close 1 deal. In theory, when they close this deal, they would have to fill the sales pipeline with 9 new prospects. If you have a stellar closer, they will typically have a 30% conversion rate, which means for every deal closed, they only have to get 7 new prospects.
Starting to see how important prospecting is in the sales process? If you are performing effective prospecting, qualify prospects as soon as possible by doing research and asking relevant questions. Then work the qualified prospect list by multiple touches. It may take 5-20 attempts to make contact with these crazy, busy buyers, so get ready to take the road less traveled of persistence, rejection and gritty determination to win the rewards of a successful sales professional.
The recommended cadence for this process:
This is a great way to find a prospect, engage, and bring value. Do not sell. Introduce yourself, and ask for them to connect . If you have a shared connection, ask then to introduce you.If not, scripting might be,“ I would like to invite you to my network, I enjoy networking with other business professionals.”They can always decline, or ignore your invite - However, they have seen your name.
2) Voice mail-
Why voice mail? An awareness campaign. This is the beginning of the sales awareness campaign that will build a rapport with your future buyer. An example “ John,
Nan Hruby from HNH Sales Consulting. I have some ideas I want to share to help grow your business. I am open on Friday at 1:00 p.m. to schedule a call. If this does not work, let me know, otherwise I will consider it confirmed.
Why mail? Because no one else does it. They fire off e mails from their desk, but no one takes the time and originality to write a well designed letter. Make sure it is in the form of an interesting story that ties into your product or service. Make sure you send it first class , or Fed Ex, or if you are local drop it off in a sealed envelope marked “confidential.”Ask for the appointment. Be specific with a time and date.
Try to reach your crazy, busy buyer before 9 am, or after 5 pm. They will be at their desk and the gatekeeper will have gone home, or not come in yet for the day. You might reach them so be prepared with relevant discovery questions, and bullet points to outline the conversation. Ask for the appointment. Be specific with a time and date.
5.) E Mail-
This is after the other attempts to contact the buyer, Why now? Because your name has a familiar ring to your buyer. They have now heard your name several times in different ways , Ask for the appointment. Be specific with a time and date.
6.) Hand written note
a hand written note to congratulate ,celebrate,.or send them information regarding their industry is a great way to stay in front of your buyer. Ask for the appointment. Be specific.
If they have not responded, a note from Linkedin empathizing with their crazy, busy world, followed by a gentle reminder that you want to schedule a call. Be specific.
Until they say “no” emphatically the answer is “maybe”. Often after the last ditch attempt to connect with the prospect, the sales cycle begins and deals are closed. Remember your crazy, busy buyers are stressed out and often need you to be persistent. The prospecting cycle can take 5-20 attempts to get the appointment that leads to the sale. Only you know how many attempts before you put them in the “letting go of losers” category and shuffle them to the bottom of your prospect pile. Hang in there. Be persistent and be mentally tough. These are the attributes of the top sales professionals.
When to Say "When", A Guide to Letting Go of Losers