Whether you are trying to get the attention of a brand-new prospect, or just trying to breathe new life into a cold lead, getting someone to respond these days can be tough. There is so much white noise, your prospects bombarded with information, and they have more e-mails and texts to answer than they can handle.
Add to that, so much about our prospects have changed. From how they get information, how they make decisions, and what they value, it’s all different. Think about this, since you started reading this blog and since you finished reading the first paragraph – your top prospects – they have already started the sales process, and they started it without you.
Does Your Prospects Know You Even Exist?
Right now, they are online googling for information, tonight they will go to a meeting or engage in webinar where they’ll talk to others about whom they’re using and what they’re buying. If your name is not coming up, if your product is not coming off their lips, then guess what? You are already behind in the sales process. By the time you prospect the ole fashioned way, you’ll see that the sales process has passed you by.
Today’s marketplace has shifted, and getting prospects to notice you, to engage with you and to respond to you, you need to change with it.
Here are 3 Prospecting Strategies To Get The Door Open
- Build Your Reputation – prospects respond to e-mails, open doors, and answer phone calls from people they have seen, read, or heard about. The marketplace is crowded today, and prospects have too many choices. They’re looking for ways to narrow the field, and skinny down their options, so they respond to sales professionals they’ve heard about.
Think about it. Pay attention to your buying behavior. Do you return an e-mail from someone you never heard of? Do you set up an appointment with someone who cold calls you? Probably not. However, when a sales professional whose great articles you’ve been reading on LinkedIn calls, or one you’ve seen volunteering in your community calls now, that’s a different story.
Everything about the sales cycle, including prospecting, starts earlier these days. You have to get out there, be where your prospect is looking, and build a reputation.
- Do Your Homework – if you want to get a prospect’s attention, and you want them to respond to an e-mail or a call, then your e-mail or message better reveal that you have done your homework. Template e-mails or scripts for phone calls don’t work these days.
Right from the first call, you need to be able to showcase that you know their business, and you understand their industry. Your messaging needs to position you as a resource, and someone that could be count on for information and ideas. One of the best tools on the market these days for doing researching and gathering information is The Sales Intel Search Engine, by Sam Richter. An unbelievable search engine that helps you learn everything you need to know about your prospects, from the latest happenings in their business to their sales triggers, to the key contacts you need to know.
- Value First – remember prospects are buying from “you” before they buy the product. Finding products and services is not a problem for prospects these days; they can find those anywhere, any time, and even find them without you. So a product is not what prospects are looking for, it’s a sales professional who cares, someone who listens and someone they can trust.
To get a prospect to respond, you need to add value. Find a way to help them before they even ask you to help them. Your e-mail subject lines, your phone messages, any literature or information you send to them needs to add value to their business, instead of promoting yours.
I have a sales professional that I just made a significant purchase from. He started calling on me over a year ago when he asked if he could share one of my blogs with his customers. I was skeptical at first but agreed. Over the next months, he would share his customer feedback, and even introduced me to one or two, making useful connections for me. Value first builds a relationship, value first creates trust. Value first gets prospects to open doors.
Yes, the sales cycle has changed today, and our prospects have changed with it. You need to be open to trying different strategies, taking on new techniques if you want to open more doors. I’d love to suggest one more thing, if you are committed to getting stronger at prospecting, understanding what it takes, then pick up a copy of High-Profit Prospecting by Mark Hunter. One of the best books on the topics, and the perfect tool for you and your sales team.
Voted Top 15 Business Growth Experts To Watch, and Top 41 Motivational Speakers, Meridith Elliott Powell is a business growth strategist who helps her clients learn the techniques they need to turn uncertainty to competitive advantage. An award-winning author, Meridith’s latest book, with co-author Mary Kelly, Ph.D., is Who Comes Next? Leadership Succession Planning Made Easy.