The key to sales success is organized, consistent and disciplined prospecting. What are your conversion rates? Are you identifying your prospects well? You can’t sit and wait for the call you need to be proactive about acquiring new prospects. These steps are best for getting your prospects attention:
1) The Greeting
This is an obvious step, but many sales people underestimate it. The first impression is the most important one and can be negatively affected with an unpleasant phone persona. I once worked with a sales leader who told me “your prospecting potential can be limited or expanded solely on your attitude.” To be successful with “the greeting” you need to first understand that you need to have the attitude that prospects want to engage with.
2) Provide value
By providing value to a prospect you’re giving them a reason to care about what you’re saying. When talking with a prospect the value you provide should be in brief and to the point. This theme should also be carried throughout all of your marketing efforts.
To be effective, your value statement must briefly address a problem that the prospect is facing and explain how you will solve the problem. Prospects will only pay attention to you if they immediately understand how they will benefit from speaking with you. So you must carefully craft your value statement to provide a major benefit―preferably one tailored to the prospect’s business. Effective value statements also use benefit words such increase, improve, gain, grow, maximize, enhance, and manage. These words help better communicate to the prospect how your solution is going to help them.
An example of a value statement could look like this…
“This is Danny with ‘X Company.’ Our mailing service has improved postal savings by over 40% on recent budgets. I’d like to see if I might be able to help you save on postal costs, as well.”
3) Manage your resistance
Now that you’ve been talking to your prospect for a little bit there will most likely be some sort of resistance. What I mean by resistance is that the prospect might express their disinterest, they are too busy, they might request more information, etc. The root cause for most prospect resistance is that they simply weren’t expecting your call and they want to get back to work. It’s important that this isn’t interpreted as disinterest and continue to maintain control of the conversation.
Prospect: “Just send me some information”
Danny: “I’d really like to understand more about your current situation so I can provide you with the best information.”
4) Qualify & get the appointment
Assuming you did your research and you know you’re talking to the right person (the decision maker) and what exactly it is they do you can begin to qualify. Many unqualified appointments can be wasted time for you and the prospect so it is imperative that you understand your prospects needs match exactly what your products and services offer.
Once you have an understanding that there is a need you need to begin your qualification process. This process should consist of getting key information that can better help you understand what solutions you can provide them. If you don’t have qualification criteria in place already you should do that. If the prospect doesn’t need exactly what you provide there is no point in setting an appointment, which you can handle by politely ending the call (and maybe asking for a referral depending on how the conversation went.)
Assuming you’ve qualified your prospect and they meet the key criteria it’s time to set an appointment. This is the number one goal of the entire prospecting process. Get in front of them. Many sales professionals get trapped into giving too much information up front and lose the opportunity to meet with the customer.
Ask for the appointment as early as possible, and make it easy for the prospect to say yes. This means you should offer a choice of dates and propose specific times and dates to meet. Don’t offer a date that is too far in the future.
(#1 rule when asking for times to meet)
What not to do: “Is there a time that works best for you?”
What to do: “What would work better for you, Monday at 9:00 a.m. or Thursday at 2 p.m.?”
These tactics are how you get and keep your prospects attention. Again, it is imperative that you keep things brief. Just provide enough information to maintain interest and lead to the next step. Be strong and always be discipline through the prospecting process regardless of high rejection rates.