Written by Sean McPheat |
How do you feel when your manager asks you to do more prospecting?
Do you jump with glee at the thought of making several hundred more cold calls?
Or do you close your eyes, utter a deep sigh and think ‘why did I choose this profession?’
It’s probably something in between those two extremes, but it’s not difficult to see how you can become excellent at prospecting, especially when sales are dipping or you’re experiencing a sales dip.
Here are seven ways that you can become excellent at prospecting, and it all starts with how you think about this specific skill.
Firstly, you need to tackle prospecting with confidence.
A confident mindset means that you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same (as Kipling would say).
Self-confidence can be described as ‘worrying far less about failure or the disapproval of others following potential failure’.
So having confidence overcomes the fear of rejection and increases the ability to get people to talk to you.
Secondly, there’s passion and enthusiasm.
These two attributes can help you overcome many barriers to getting stuff done.
Passion means having a will to achieve, and enthusiasm drives that passion.
With an enthusiastic approach, you come across as someone who has something of benefit for a p[potential prospect.
Next, there’s setting goals for yourself.
Your brain becomes a heat-seeking missile when you have a goal that inspires you to achieve.
These should be short-term first, before building up to larger, longer-term ones.
Short term goals could revolve around doing a certain amount of prospecting in a short time period, or refusing to give up until you’ve made at least two appointments or gained agreement to send information to at least three prospects.
Then, there’s flexibility in thought.
By this, I mean being aware of what situations you are in and how the current market is affecting your prospects.
This adaptable mindset helps you to understand the buyer’s perspective and allows you to change your approach as you continue in your prospecting process.
Linked to that is the ability to see things from the buyer’s point of view.
Rather than trying to push your products or services on a prospecting call, identify what potential problems the buyer in a particular company may be currently facing and adapt your call to those issues.
If they hear you speaking their language in terms of challenges and problems they are facing, you’ll get on their wavelength and it will mean easier conversations.
Next, you must do your research before contacting.
A cold-call will most often be rejected because the prospect sees no benefit to spending time talking to you.
If you have a specific idea you have formulated before the call, you give them a reason to listen to you.
It could involve a new product they have just launch, some new offices they have just opened or a specific challenge you have uncovered.
Whatever it is can open the door to further discussions.
Finally, another way to become excellent at prospecting is to read voraciously about how other, successful prospectors become that way.
You never need to re-invent the wheel.
You can listen to, watch or read what great prospectors have done and start to apply those ideas.
It’s imperative that you bespoke them to your own market of course.
Don’t try to copy word-for-word what they say, because what works in their industry may to too forceful or patronising for your prospects.
Learn the best-practice ideas and adapt them to fit your industry.
These seven ways can help you achieve a higher level of success when prospecting and start to turn the tide when things aren’t going well at the moment for you.
Originally published: 14 December, 2017