How well does your current prospecting approach work? On a scale of one to ten, how confident are you that your current approach to prospecting — that is, identifying and bringing new clients through the door like clockwork — is completely dialed-in and as effective as it can possibly be?
Do you have a clear idea of exactly how many people you’re approaching, how many of them you’ve been able to qualify in, how many you’ve been able to qualify out and how many are just completely blowing you off?
If you were to rate the effectiveness of your prospecting, right now, on a one to ten scale, what would you give yourself? Would you give yourself a seven? Or a nine? Or a three?
If you’re not completely confident in and comfortable with your current prospecting approach, if it’s not generating the results you want and need, that’s a real problem. So I’d like to suggest that you get comfortable with it, starting today. Because if you don’t, it’s very unlikely that you will take all the necessary and appropriate actions that you’ll need to take in order to make it happen.
Before we get into today’s topic, I’d like to say that it’s a testament to the quality of the readers of my newsletter and the listeners of my podcast that all the feedback I got last week regarding my discussion of “Paupers Selling Promos” was very positive and encouraging. Yes, a few paupers unsubscribed and a few others tried to make the case for why people with absolutely nothing to offer another human being should still be allowed in the industry, but by and large the producers in our industry agreed with me. No real surprise there, but it was still nice to receive the feedback. So thank you.
Now, on to prospecting!
It’s a sure bet that one of the things the failures in our industry have never managed to do, is to perfect their prospecting approach.
If your current approach is working well, that’s awesome. But if it’s not, I urge you to tweak it, change it, adapt it, test the results and do whatever is necessary to make sure that your prospecting efforts flow from you naturally, operating like a well oiled machine.
This is something that we work on extensively with our Makeover clients and our $100K Coaching clients and our Top Secrets of Customer Acquisition clients, because it’s just that important.
But for purposes of our discussion today, I’d just like to provide you with 5 tips for getting completely comfortable with prospecting. And you need to be completely comfortable with it, because if you’re not, you just won’t do it. Or you won’t do it enough. Or you won’t do it consistently. And that lack of action could literally cost you millions of dollars in lost opportunity over your working lifetime. That’s how important it is.
So let’s get started:
1. Target businesses you actually want to sell to (and don’t sell to just anyone.) Establish some standards! Decide in advance what types of businesses you want to sell to, and which type you’d like to leave for your unworthy competitors. Will you get it exactly right the first time out of the gate? No! It will take a little practice. It will require trial and error, but it will be worth it. Start out by targeting those you THINK you might want to sell to and see how that goes. Then target others if you don’t like the results you’re getting. This can actually be done very quickly and very effectively when you have the right prospecting approach in place, locked and loaded! Or you can drag it out for years with an inferior approach like much of the industry does… and still not know who you should be selling to.
2. Target positions that suit you. What positions do you like? Of course I’m referring to positions within companies. Do you want to target executives, administrative assistants, human resources? It didn’t take me long to figure out that I just hated dealing with purchasing departments: Too stiff and too needy. I did better with executives because I knew how to help them. With our public television station clients I did great with development directors because I could help them bring in more money. Some people enjoy selling to secretaries or administrative assistants. Some like marketing or advertising people. Some like human resources. While you’ll ultimately need to be able to sell to anyone, there’s certainly no harm in targeting people you know you’ll enjoy interacting with. So what types of positions do you like interacting with?
3. Perfect your first contact. Your first contact with a prospect can determine very quickly (and more than anything) what people will think of you and how they’ll perceive you, not just at the beginning, but throughout your entire business relationship. That makes it PDC: Pretty darn critical. Come across as needy and they’ll toss you out of their office. Come across as desperate and you’re dead in the water. As we’ve discussed in previous podcasts, first contact does NOT just mean cold calling. For most salespeople and most prospects, cold calling is uncomfortable. Our discussion today is all about why uncomfortable approaches are not good, and why you have to get comfortable with what you’re doing. That’s why it it so important to create and perfect a first contact approach that makes both you and your prospect completely comfortable.
4. Smooth out the bumps in your prospecting conversations. Sounding completely natural doesn’t always come naturally. So practice. How do you greet a new prospect? “Hi may I speak with Bob Smith please?” Use the recorder in your cell phone. Record a quick greeting over and over again to get an idea of what you sound like. Try different emphasis, different tonality, different volumes. “Hi may I speak with Bob Smith please?” Take it way too far, then pull it back. Have fun with it. Cause, why not? If you haven’t done this before, you will be horrified. Do I really sound like that? Yes, you do. It’s not the recorder. It’s because our own voices sound different outside our heads than they do inside. If far less melodic to the listener, which is why it’s a great idea to practice, using the recorder in your cell phone.
5. Nail your lead qualification procedure. Have it down cold! In Top Secrets of Customer Acquisition we cover, in great detail, the critical importance of your lead qualification procedure. It’s a series of just a few thoughtful, well-crafted questions you’ll ask to determine if the prospect is qualified to buy from you. This is a super-ninja secret weapon, because when you are able to consistently qualify new prospects as quickly and accurately as possible, your entire sales process is accelerated, so you’re able to close far more sales in far less time, while your unworthy competitors struggle and cry.
So there you go! Five tips to help you get completely comfortable with prospecting. Think it’s easier said than done? Then you should definitely test drive my complete Top Secrets of Customer Acquisition training, risk-free in your business for one full year. If it doesn’t make or save you at least ten times its cost in increased sales or bottom line savings, I don’t want you to keep it. But it’s not for tire-kickers or knuckleheads, so if you’re not completely serious about your own sales career, please do not order it. This is for doers only!
If you’re new to the industry and need to get grounded in the essentials of promotional products sales, visit us online at topsecrets.com/gettingstarted. If you need to get clients now with no distractions and no excuses, visit topsecrets.com/tsca. Or, if you’re a smart, focused, independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, join the AIM SmartEQP community today at SmartEQP.com that’s SmartEQP.com.