As we move into Q2 – its’ critically important to ensure we have added enough opportunities in the Sales Pipeline in Q2 to ensure you will hit your 2016 Sales Goal. With longer sales cycles and more people involved in the decision making process – the spring/Q2 is an ideal time to be prospecting.
Here are 5 Great Prospecting Strategies to get you started with your Spring Prospecting Blitz
When prospecting you need to realize that you are competing with at least 50 other salespeople to get a meeting with a buyer who will see 1-4 new salespeople on average per year. Sales people need to become creative and productive when prospecting, instead of relying on conventional methods. Here are some key fundamentals to prospecting that every sales rock star does.
- Create your Target list of prospects
Ideally, you want to be prospecting for customers who are already likely to buy. Possible sources for prospecting lists:
Referrals. People whom your existing customers have contacted and suggested that they get in touch with you.
Networks. People whom you’ve connected with personally at industry events or tradeshow, leads during the past year.
Website Visitors. People who’ve shown an interest in your offerings by accessing your website and leaving contact data.
Purchased Lists. People who have bought your offerings inside industries into which you typically sell.
Questions to consider when creating a list of prospects:
- Why is that an ideal lead?
- How do we help them?
- What do we help them with?
- Why would they need our help?
- Would they maybe want our help right now?
- Would our services or products actually be something that is timely to their business goals and needs?
Your prospects can be in different sections of your Prospecting Funnel – categorize them as suspect, prospects and hot ones to help you prioritize your prospects. Remember, even existing customers can go back into your prospecting funnel to get more business from them this year.
- Create your UNIQUE Competitive Value Message for each client
In most cases, your competitive value message will be built around open-ended questions that you ask during the conversation.
A few of the key criteria in obtaining your leads are: identifying the decision makers, current supplier situation, their financial situation, decision timeframe, and price as a buying criterion.
Questions to ask leads:
- How would the decision process work with an offering like this? What would be your role in the process, and the roles of others on the decision team?
- “What are the most important issues for you?”
- “How many (products/services) do you sell in an average week/month?”
- “Who is your primary customer?”
- “Where do you see your greatest challenge?”
- “I notice you currently use XYZ Company. How long have they been your supplier?”
- “What do you like most about XYZ Company?”
- Do you have a portion of your budget already allocated to this?
- Set reasonable prospecting goals
Set a target for how many prospects you will need in your pipeline in order to generate the number of sales that you need. When setting prospecting goals, focus on three core areas: the number of contacts you should make each day and week, the number of leads you should develop and the number of personal appointments you should set.
Some examples of SMART goals for prospecting are:
- Send 10 packages to prospects per week for the next 4 weeks
- Set 1 face to face appointment with a new prospect each week.
- Make 2 follow-up presentations this month.
- Schedule time to make 5 new calls every day between the times of 8am – 9am
- Get into a positive mental state
Find a place where you won’t be interrupted or distracted. Take a few minutes to focus yourself and your thoughts:
- Be positive. Believe you will succeed. If you fail try again.
- Be optimistic. Look for the best in people and expect good things to happen.
- Visualize success. Imagine ALL the emotions you’ll feel when you achieve your goal.
- Practice Self-Talk
Enhance your performance by structuring your self-talk in a way that will help you enter the situation feeling more positive. It’s important to be in a confident, positive and have a resourceful state of mind. The interactions you have with your clients and prospects are too valuable to take lightly. You want to be prepared to create value and you want to be in the best state possible to do so.
- Make the calls
Wednesdays and Thursdays are the best days of the week to make sales calls.
The absolute best times to call leads are between the hours of 8-9am and 4-6pm, with the lunchtime period of 1-2pm being the absolute worst. An early-morning call was proven to be 164% more likely to qualify a lead than one made between 1 and 2 p.m. The best day and time to send sales emails are Thursdays 8-9am. And the worst day and time to send emails are Tuesday and Wednesday between 8-10am. Make sure you know your audience, where your contacts are and organize your hot list by time zone or a time to best reach your decision makers. I find the time best to make my calls to VPs of Sales is 7:30am – 8:55am –as they usually get in the office early, I avoid gatekeepers, and its before they get caught up in meetings for the day.
- Multiple Touches – Make the Calls and be Disciplined – Don’t give up too soon!
48% of sales people never follow up with a prospect
25% of sales people make a 2nd contact and stop
12% of sales people only make 3 contracts and stop
Only 10% of sales people make more than 3 contacts
2% of sales are made on the 1st contact
3% of sales are made on the 2nd contact
5% of sales are made on the 3rd contact
10% of sales are made on the 4th contact
80% of sales are made on the 5th to 12th contact
Share your prospecting best practices with us!
Lisa is driven by the mantra – Be Strategic. Be Pro-active. Be Brave. – and has been successfully training and coaching sales leaders and their teams to do the same for over 15 years. As the President of Teneo Results since 2003, she has trained thousands of sales professionals at more than 250 companies across North America. She transitions salespeople away from the standard “product & price” approach to having purposeful business conversations with their customers that drive results.