Professional Salespeople talking about the real world of selling to business customers. Prospecting, qualifying, asking questions, negotiating, activity, quotas, comp plans, sales management.
Sunday, August 8, 2010
Prospecting - A Targeted Approach
STEP 1: FIND OUT WHERE TO LOOK FOR GOOD PROSPECTS. The biggest mistake made by salespeople when it comes down to prospecting is jumping to the phone/email before you strategically determine what kinds of prospects make the best customers. You must define the PERFECT CUSTOMER PROFILE to compare prospects, and you must define your target. Targets can be vertical (types of customers) or horizontal (based on a product that types of customers would need). Good salespeople create both types of targets. You must pretend you are a "Named Account Representative" who has a named list of accounts which you'll have to work one way or another. This is a great way to spend time qualifying the prospect before you begin to approach them. Make a list, big at first, and then use Step 2 to cull the list down.
STEP 2: RESEARCH TARGETED PROSPECTS BEFORE YOU CALL. What if you never had to cold call? This is what Rumbaskas says in his book, "Never Cold Call Again." I'll go on record here: It's a deceiving title. The book basically says what all salespeople know, but just don't do: Create a warm lead by cultivating it with knowledge. You do this by researching your targets, Googling the decision makers, asking your network and doing some competitive research. Once you know them, the call isn't really cold anymore, right?
STEP 3: MAKE A COMPELLING CASE - BE CREATIVE. When you approach your targets, you've got to give them a reason to meet with you. The reason is always the same. Ready? Here it is: There is a possibility that what you sell can positively impact their company. If they could make more money, cut costs, be more productive/efficient, increase the safety, security of their organization, that would be pretty compelling, right? Use the information you gained in Step 2 to tailor your argument to their company. Lastly, be creative for God's sake. If you've ever heard the pitch, think it's a cliche, or you would think you're being sold - DON'T DO IT. Come up with something interesting and new.
Here's my typical cold call pitch: Bob, it's Adam Petrovsky calling from ABC Integration. We're a technology company in Los Angeles. We haven't met before, but here's why I'm calling: We've helped companies like yours dramatically change their customer base by attracting more customers and keeping the ones you have satisfied. While I'm not positive I can do that for your organization, doesn't it make sense for us to meet to figure that out?
The more you know, the better your pitch will be. HAVE FUN. Life is short.
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