Oh joy, is it that time again? Time where your sales manager or sales executive is on your back about sales prospecting and business development?
We would surmise that, for most sales professionals, the only thing worse than prospecting, is ineffective prospecting. In other words, spinning your wheels with no real, tangible results.
However, since business development and the need for sales prospecting isn’t fading any time soon, perhaps it’s time to take a good, hard look at your prospecting techniques – maybe it’s those that need to change.
Sales Prospecting Techniques
Start by considering the prospecting techniques you’re currently using. For example:
No matter what mix of techniques you’re using, when is the last time you measured the results from these efforts?
Put another way: if it’s not working…fix it. And by fixing it, we mean changing things up. What’s that old sales adage about the definition of insanity? You know the one. It directly applies here.
Fight stagnant techniques with fresh ideas
Challenge yourself to get creative and think abstractly. Remember that prospecting, while an exercise that supports sales, is not sales. Prospecting is performed in order to identify leads that can be qualified and led into a sale. Essentially, prospecting is relationship building. When you think of it in those terms, it takes pressure off both sales professional and sales prospect alike.
That said, what are of some of the most non-intrusive yet effective ways to establish contact or regain touch points?
• Have you thought about writing a white paper or case study that positions you or your company as a thought leader in your space?
This is something you can distribute to your email list or social media audience; track open rates, and then follow up with those that “bite.”
• What about establishing a referral program?
If your organization’s main target is a company’s CFO, think about who else this person is a target for: accountants, lawyers, auditors, etc. Try building relationships with these professionals so they can refer your products and services to their contacts. You could offer to do the same for them and/or establish a percentage of profits from said client as a “reward.”
• Dump your old spiel and develop a fresh, new introduction and value proposition.
If you’re bored with your prospecting pitch, it’s likely that attitude will translate to your prospects. Devote some of that creativity to an off-the-wall approach and see what happens. The only thing you have to lose is a customer you didn’t have to begin with. And you may stumble upon an impactful new angle.
Make prospecting a habit, not a nuisance
Part of changing your prospecting techniques should be changing the way you allocate and dedicate your time to performing them.
Try setting aside, say, three hours every Wednesday afternoon to building prospect relationships. Keep a to-do list and set goals for each week. If you can build prospecting into your normal routine, the number of tasks won’t get backed up and appear so daunting.
For a much more in-depth look at prospecting techniques and best practices, read through our Critical Prospecting™ Skills program.