Prospecting is as much about having the skills as it is about executing the behavior. For the most successful salespeople, sales prospecting is an ongoing process. Even when times are good, the best salespeople know they have to continue the same behavior to keep their pipeline full.
Book Appointments with Effective Sales Prospecting Techniques
1. CONSISTENT PROSPECTING BEHAVIOREntrepreneurs, presidents, and CEOs often share that their salespeople just aren’t getting enough new, high-quality opportunities into their sales funnel. When asked if it’s “will” (insufficient prospecting behavior) or “skill” (sufficient prospecting behavior, but not getting results), nine times out of ten their response is “will.” It is important to find effective prospecting methods for your business and make those a part of your regular behavior. And what should you do when you are extraordinarily busy? Just do a little bit all of the time. Never go a single day without implementing some prospecting behavior.
2. MORE PROSPECTING
The good news is that prospecting is part of your regular behavior. The bad news is that you are (probably) not doing enough of it. If I dial the phone 70 times, I’ll likely have 10 conversations. If I have 10 conversations, I’ll typically book at least one appointment. That’s right, I have to dial the phone 70 times to book an appointment. If you need five unique new appointments per week to hit your goals, you’ve got to make 350 calls a week. There’s no way around it. In sales, there is no activity that is more important than prospecting. It is the lifeblood of any business. I don’t doubt that there are 70 tasks that you could do instead of prospecting. However, one’s values are defined by their behavior. What does your behavior say about you?
3. Set a “no” goal
You probably sit down to make cold calls with a goal in mind. That goal is probably to book an appointment. While that is a noble goal, you should stop thinking that way immediately. You won’t last long if the key performance indicator you use to judge your own success is completely out of your control. Instead, you should be tracking “no” answers. The problem with sitting down with the intent of getting a “yes” is that it is entirely too much pressure. It’s easy to quit if, after 30 attempts, you are no closer to your goal of a single “yes.” But, if instead, your goal is to collect 40 “no” answers today, you are 75% of the way there. And, more often than not, you accidentally uncover a “yes” or two along the way.
4. Stop talking about you, your company, and your product and/or service
Your prospect doesn’t care about you, your company, or your products and/or services. They care if you can fix their problem. And they don’t pay you for your products and/or services. They pay you to fix their problem. Get used to framing conversations this way: “these are the types of problems I can help you fix.” Your prospect doesn’t have three minutes to learn about you or your product. But they’ll make time to learn how to alleviate a meaningful problem.
5. Work “the formula”
It’s a simple formula. When your prospect has pain relevant to your business that impacts them in a meaningful way and they are committed to solving that problem, you are no longer talking to a prospect. You are talking to a qualified lead. And that lead will be compelled and motivated to enter your sales process and book a meeting with you. A prospecting attempt isn’t about providing your biography or your company history. It isn’t about making a proposal. It is about consistently working the formula to set new appointments.
6. Don’t get derailed
Simply put, if a prospect has a pain you solve and they are committed to solving that problem, they need to meet with you. Oftentimes, a prospecting call that seems successful is met with a litany of excuses when it’s time to set the appointment. But if your conviction and commitment is stronger than their excuses, you’ll book the appointment.