Prospecting for new customers is an age-old sales technique. Salespeople have, however, come to despise prospecting. Many prefer to hide behind automated or social media lead generation tools to lessen their exposure to the prospecting phase. But the truth is that old school prospecting can have a huge impact on the overall quality of new leads. People do, after all, still want to do business with other people (which comes as a surprise to an always-on generation). Today, we focus on how to prospect successfully and offer advice on this important step of the sales process. How to actively prospect for new leads?
Prospecting is not selling
The first thing you need to know about prospecting is that it is not selling. As counterintuitive as what it may seem, prospecting is about connecting with people without the immediate outcome being a sale. If you can wrap your head around this idea, then to actively prospect for new leads will become a lot more fun.
Prospecting versus social media lead generation
In a world where lead generation via social media is considered the only way of connecting with people, the concepts of lead generation and prospecting have become interchangeable. Lead generation and prospecting are however very different sales strategies. When automated, for example, lead generation is usually a one-way communication that occurs between a company and a person that has taken some form of action to become a lead. On the other hand, prospecting is a two-way conversation between a lead and a salesperson. Prospecting can, therefore, be defined as the conversation between a lead and a salesperson that turns the lead into a prospective customer.
Nowadays, it is unfortunate that prospecting has taken a backseat to automated lead generation. And it is the idea that the entire process from lead to sale can be automated that is the culprit. Prospecting for new customers (without relying on mass lead generation tools) is still a highly valued sales technique in and of itself. Let’s, therefore, have a look at tips on how to actively prospect for new leads and being successful in prospecting.
Tips for prospecting success on how to actively prospect for new leads.
Don’t discount the power of a phone call
A phone call remains one of the best ways of connecting with people. The secret of a phone call, however, is having something interesting or informative to say. For this reason, target your calls within an industry, age group, field of interest or any category that will find you noteworthy. If you are new at prospecting using this method, a good tip is to make sure that you know exactly what you are going to say before you make that call. If you struggle with words, work from a script or have information, a prospect may ask about available for easy reference. The last thing you want to say to a prospect who asks a question is “I don’t know”.
Ask for a referral
If you have had a successful interaction with a prospect who became a client, ask them for a referral. New prospects find it easier to trust you if they know a colleague, partner or friend have done or are doing business with you.
Host an info session and present yourself as a trusted source
If you are an expert in a certain field or have expert knowledge of a particular service or product, host an information session that encourages people to interact with you. Reaching out via an info session can be done via meeting, web meeting or seminar. Make sure that you are available to answer questions after the seminar has ended. Providing a personal email address is a good way of encouraging a two-way conversation with prospective clients.
Networking at events
Networking is probably the oldest prospecting tool in any old school salesperson’s arsenal. However, even today, networking is a fantastic prospecting tool. At events, people are more social and therefore, more likely to interact with people they don’t already know.
In conclusion, success on how to actively prospect for new leads
To prospect successfully, one must also, however, develop a personal strategy that makes a good impression. A personal strategy includes, for example, learning proper communication etiquette, going past the bare minimum to assist a prospective client find what they are looking for, taking a real interest in your client and his or her company and, of course, being trustworthy.
To conclude, prospecting is a step in the sales process that you cannot completely ignore in favour of social media tools. The reason for this, we will soon uncover. However, for now, we reiterate the importance of personally connecting with people for overall sales success.