Selling is a contact sport and prospecting for new business is the name of the game! You'll never meet a salesperson that failed because they had too many prospects.
But for the majority of salespeople, finding new customers is without a doubt the most difficult and stressful aspect of the profession.
Here are six, practical tips to help you become more effective at generating new business and following up with prospects.
Prospecting for new business is similar to working out. You know it's good for you and it will produce positive results if you do it routinely.
Professional sales people prospect daily. It's important to block off specific time on your calendar for prospecting activities such as phone calling and e-mailing. Treat your prospecting time with the same respect as you would any other important appointment, otherwise, there is a tendency that it will slip through the cracks.
This is not the time to check your e-mails, play solitaire on the computer, make a personal phone call or chat with your associates. Stay focused.
Be prepared, get organized and take good notes. It's critical to have a computerized contact system to record remarks and suspense future contacts or appointments.
Use a script. Practice it until it sounds smooth and natural. Set aside time to role-play with an associate over the phone. By taking turns presenting and critiquing you'll gain confidence, polish your script and be more effective.
Avoid the temptation to sell over the phone. Your objective is to gather information and make the appointment.
Strike while the iron is hot! When working with a new prospect, it's important to make contact quickly. Prospects are perishable.
No matter how interested a prospect may appear, don't wait for them to call you. You are only one of many competing interests for your prospect's time and money.
Avoid the temptation to badmouth your competition. Make head-to-head comparisons, not personal attacks. They make you look unprofessional and petty.
Emphasize the benefits of your product or services. Play to your strengths, not the weaknesses of your competition. Let your prospect draw his or her own conclusions from your comparison.
Rejection is a natural part of the sales process. Don't take it personally. Learn from rejection, use it as a feedback mechanism and look for ways to improve your presentation.
Sales people who take rejection personally lack perseverance and seldom make the sale. Sales is a numbers game pure and simple. A professional baseball player who averages four hits out of 10 times at bat is headed for the Hall of Fame.
Research indicates that in sales you can expect your prospect to say “no” five times before he or she buys. With this in mind, realize that with every sales rejection you receive, you are one step closer to making the sale.
Prospecting for new business should be viewed more as a mind set rather than merely as an activity. It really doesn't matter how competent you are or how well you know your product line. If you don't have a qualified prospect in front of you, you don't have a sale.
John Boe is a training consultant and motivational speaker. He can be reached at 831 375-3668 and [email protected].