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  • Writer's pictureSsemujju Lewis E

Sales Prospecting: All You Need To Know

Sometimes a business can’t just rely on the current customers or those who looked out for it because they want to have a specific good or service. At times, a bold move is all you need to get that person out of their comfort and convince them until they become a customer. This is what we call sales prospecting.

Sales prospecting refers to a process whereby a company’s sales representatives make outbound calls or send outbound emails to leads/prospects in hopes of creating new business by searching for new potential buyers/customers for your products or services. Making mobile calls, sending emails, SMS text messages, notifications, and reminders to people who have shown interest in your products or services is what we call sales prospecting. All the above are forms of prospecting with hopes that we may turn those specific interested people into future customers.

Companies dedicated to achieving a return on investment or even having new customers who could be potential buyers now or in the future do this by employing experts in this field called sales prospectors. Sales prospecting is done with a contact database or information about companies. This helps sales representatives search about specific companies, know more about them, gauge if they could find the right people to approach, and finally get a contact person to penetrate through.

Given that sales representatives approach people or companies that they already know, the chances are high that they are likely to pitch through and get a deal. One good thing about sales prospecting is that it keeps new customers/leads flowing into a business; when they are convinced, they could become lifetime supporters of a company.

While doing prospecting, the sales process can make it easy for sales prospectors to determine whether a lead can qualify to be a prospect and whether prospects can qualify as potential buyers or customers for your product/service. Here is a small highlight and breakdown of the sales steps that you should follow right from prospecting to closing a deal when you have won the prospect to become a customer;

The critical steps in the sales process while qualifying a lead and a prospect to become a customer;

  1. Prospecting is the process of sourcing and identifying new leads/prospects or clients to begin working through the sales process.

  2. Connecting and Qualifying involves representatives initiating contact with those early-stage leads to gather information. Qualifying new leads involves deciding whether they're an excellent fit for your business and whether or not they will likely move forward in the buyer's journey.

  3. The initial meeting involves scheduling the first appointment with the leads/prospect after confirming that they have fully qualified.

  4. Researching involves representatives knowing more about the prospect by digging deeper. When representatives learn more about each prospect and company, it allows them to offer a more tailored and personalized experience and improves the likelihood of closing a deal.

  5. Presenting involves a salesperson running a formal presentation or demonstration of your product or service for your prospect on how they will benefit from it.

  6. Handling Objections involves listening to the prospects' objections and questions; this helps representatives drive your product or service to fit the prospect's needs and wants.

  7. Making an offer, negotiating, and finalizing; when the prospect's needs are understood, you choose to make an offer or not, but once you make an offer, you will need to negotiate the final terms and conditions.

  8. Closing the sale involves coming to a conclusion or reaching an end by the prospect and the representative by accepting to buy the product/service or turning down the deal. The close step is what every salesperson works toward. This is expected to result in a mutual benefit and a contractual agreement between the prospect and the seller.

  9. Deliver the product. This is where the representative physically delivers the product or service to the customer; this happens only when a prospect becomes a potential customer or buyer.

Traditional Sales prospecting methods.

There are two traditional sales prospecting methods these are; inbound prospecting and outbound prospecting;

Inbound prospecting

This involves sending out emails to leads/prospects that have already shown interest in your goods or services. This is intended to keep the conversation flowing and build a stronger relationship with your customer; it involves answering any questions a lead/prospect may ask and introducing your product to them. This prospecting technique is believed to be shorter while prospecting.

Outbound prospecting

This involves unexpected calls/messages to a person to sell a product or a service; this prospecting method is believed to take longer because a representative is building/starting from scratch.

Modern sales prospecting techniques to use

1. Send warm messages and regards.

Because you are making initial contact with a person, you don’t need to go directly to what you are selling or what you want from the customer. Instead, you must begin with greetings and set a conversion away from your products and services. Do this within a day or a few hours. When a person is used to you now, you have the confidence to spark the conversation ahead and introduce your company, location details, what your company does, and how they can benefit from it.

2. Twitter engagement

Twitter is one of the best applications, especially for engagement and connecting with people easily. People tweet, reply, retweet, share and run similar hashtags and direct messaging (DM); therefore, connecting becomes easy. For example, for a business case, you can tweet and tag the prospect or the person you are targeting. They will be able to see the tag through notifications and will be able to retweet, reply or send a direct message, making it the first point of connection. In addition, Twitter chats and engagements are among the most effective ways of building rapport simply because most people share the same trends, topics, and interests.

3. Be a credible writer and a perfect speaker.

If you want to connect with new people to turn them into prospects and potential future customers, you need to be outstanding so that your name doesn’t land in their ears for the first time. You can achieve this by writing several articles and blogs on your website for them to read, or they must have watched you on a TV about a specific function or have probably heard about your speech before. This popularity will automatically attract a person's attention and could probably be turned into a potential future customer.

4. Engage with your audience and reply to their questions.

Audience engagement is an effective manner of getting to new clients or people; the more attention you give to your people on social media, the more likely they are to draw closer to you, and introducing yourself to them won’t be hard anymore, the more you engage with them, the more confidence you get in regards to introducing your product/service to them.

5. Be a trustworthy person

Trust building keeps the old customers and helps you get more referrals from your old customers, thus expanding the base of your sales base. Keep and finding new customers doesn’t just require you to close deals and then send them from there. It requires you to do so much more than that. For example, you are there for your customers when they need you and provide possible solutions to any arising problems. This doesn’t just attract customers to stick around you but also refers their friends to you if they need the same services/products. Of course, it won’t be hard for you to prospect for new referrals because they already know how your product works.

6. Find new contacts at any events you attend.

A good sales representative should be good at networking, networking helps you build and expand your contact database, and you can use those specific contacts to sell your products or services to them; for example, if some of those people are your friends already, you don’t need to hustle a lot with them because they already know you and introducing your products to them will be a walkover. Additionally, you can always pick out which events to attend that align with the services or products you sell to establish more connections with invitees during social hours or breaks.

7. Focus on building relationships other than selling.

While making initial contact, a knowledgeable salesperson knows they are not supposed to sell on the first meeting. The first interactions are usually for knowing each other, listening while studying the lead to see if they can become a prospect, and understanding their problems and queries while reflecting on how your product could be the best solution. Starting to sell too fast might put undue pressure on the alarming prospect. Having the existence of trust can aid you, and the prospect becomes more comfortable with each other, so once selling techniques come into the picture, they will be more effective and will flow easily.

8. Continue following up with the prospect

Continued following up with a prospect at each stage builds a strong foundation of trust in you as a person and the products or services you will display before them.

9. Set a time for prospecting

Setting separate time apart to do prospecting specifically is the best way you can deal with more of your customers. Yes, I understand there are many more responsibilities to execute as a sales personnel, but you can also include them on your timetable. For example, you can point out 2 or 3 days a week during specific hours when your people are free and then meet them; doing it this way will make the process easy and friendly.

Finally, sales prospecting is a necessity for your business. It saves time by sporting out those willing or not ready to be potential customers, and sales representatives have this in mind.

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