Tuesday, December 27, 2016
The ABCs of Sales - P is for Prospecting
Sales professionals should always seeking new leads. Before a sale can be made and a commission check collected, the sales person must first discover the right individuals to call on. There are many people with great sales skills who fail to reach their potential because they do not have a commitment to consistently prospecting. Without enough prospects, you will have fewer leads, and thus not enough eventual customers
There are several ways to prospect, and no one way is right for every sales person in every industry. The key is to remember that prospecting is a process and to be successful you have to always be working a variety of efforts.
My own business as a professional speaker relies mainly on referrals. The most effective way for me to discover new opportunities is through word-of-mouth. However, if you sit around and wait for referrals to show up, you will most likely not have enough business. You need to keep your referral sources and others constantly informed about what you are doing, what is new with your business, and remind them how much you appreciate their support.
Networking is another key way to prospect. Being visible in your business community will bring you in contact with potential clients and referral sources. (I talked more about "networking" in The ABCs of Sales - N is for Networking).
One of the best ways to prospect is to speak at industry events and / or to host educational events. When you are the speaker you are automatically positioned as the expert in your field. The same is true for writing articles for business oriented magazines and blogs. Invest time in teaching others and they will think of you when the time comes to buy your products or services.
Finally, while cold-calling may sound "old-school", it can still be an great way to reach out to people. It is hard to reach people, as most have voicemail and do not return calls, but if you have an interesting product and can clearly and concisely communicate your message, there are some who will return you call. The key is to have a thick skin and realize than many people will say "no". That is okay, as a few might say "yes". Fear of rejection keeps many sales people from cold calling, but those who pick up the phone regularly are often the most successful.
Sales is hard, which is why it can pay so well. But to reach the top of the financial pay scale you have to become a master at prospecting. There are no short cuts. If this was easy, everyone would do it.
Have A Great Day
Thom Singer is a keynote speaker and professional master of ceremonies. He talks regularly to corporate audiences in competitive industries that are sales focused and whose people are seeking greater success. http://www.EngagingSalesSpeaker.com