Prospecting. Not everyone in the sales industry is a fan of the word, and for good reason: many sales representatives still rely on antiquated and unproductive methods of prospecting rather than modern techniques that may actually generate more quality leads.
However, there are many contemporary methods for connecting with your target market and getting them to make a purchase, although figuring out which of these methods produces the best results and which of them should be used as part of your marketing strategy can be challenging.
Here are five proven sales prospecting techniques to uncover leads you can effectively engage with and ultimately turn into customers.
Warm calls, as opposed to cold calls, are made to prospects who have already interacted with your business and expressed an interest in your work or goods and services. For instance, they may have engaged with a paid advertisement, joined in on a webinar you hosted in the past, left comments on your social media, or subscribed to your company’s newsletter.
To make the most out of warm calls, it is essential to do an appropriate amount of research on your prospects. Think about which demographic they belong to and how closely they match the profile of your ideal customer. Your sales representatives can connect with prospects more easily and personalize the conversation with the right kind of preparation, thus improving the possibility of successful conversions.
Don’t risk having your agents receive queries that catch them off guard. A good practice is to have the prospect’s information displayed on the agent’s screen during the call, together with all the product information, commonly asked questions, and advice for various situations.
Cold calling used to be one of the top sales prospecting techniques for bringing in new clients, but today, most people will tell you it’s not exactly their cup of tea. However, it may be worth focusing some of your efforts on engaging cold prospects to move them down the funnel given the potential success of this practice.
Effective cold call prospecting strategies must be well-designed and individualized to the best of your ability. Above all, you must put an emphasis on developing relationships when cold calling — if you start selling too soon into the call, the prospect is likely to lose interest.
Therefore, building a foundation of trust can make you and the prospect more at ease with one another. The call won’t remain cold for long if you use the right kind of research on your target market and aim to establish genuine connections.
Referencing a good script when prospecting can help novice salespeople avoid awkward pauses, utilize the appropriate terminology, and be better equipped to address typical objections or queries. On the other hand, sales professionals with years of experience frequently advise against using a script in order to appear more natural during conversations with prospects.
The fact of the matter is that you will always need a starting point, and you or your sales agents should be able to decide what that starting point is going to be depending on your (or their) style and level of experience. Do you research all frequently asked questions beforehand and then rely on your memory to seem like you’re speaking off the cuff when prospecting? Or do you create the perfect script to read out as a good segue into a more natural and free-flowing dialogue? Think about these suggestions and which method might suit your particular situation.
Following a script does not have to sound robotic or insincere. However, be sure to pay attention to your prospects’ needs and adjust your tone of voice and wording accordingly.
Genuine recommendations from trustworthy sources such as friends, family, or coworkers outperform even the finest salespeople. Even so, sales recommendations, i.e. referrals, are one of the most underutilized sales prospecting strategies.
The obvious benefits of referrals is that they don’t require a huge investment and can significantly increase sales and your overall reach. The concept is straightforward enough: encourage happy consumers to recommend your products or services to someone they know who might also be able to benefit from them.
A good line to include at the end of a successful prospecting call or email may go something like the following: “We are so delighted to hear that you are happy with our [service]. If you believe there is someone in your professional or personal network who might also benefit from it, do encourage them to give us a call.”
An important note about using referrals as a sales methodology is not to pressure your happy customers into spreading the word to their contacts. If they themselves haven’t already thought of recommending your company to someone they know (which would be the most authentic type of referral), and you’ve spoken to them about it once already, an additional follow-up via email should be enough of a reminder.
The follow-up could include a kind request for their written feedback, as well as a line that thanks them for any potential recommendations they might give to a friend or even publish on social media. And, of course, if a customer reaches out to you first in order to express how pleased they are with your business or products, be sure to ask for a referral!
There is no denying the power of video in today’s world. Depending on your industry, you may have a chance to greatly elevate your outreach by venturing into this incredibly fun area of prospecting and come up with a video that will grab the attention of just about any potential customer.
Video is a great tool for delving into more complex subjects, which is why it also fits in well with B2B sales because they typically have a higher level of technicality and demand a little more knowledge to successfully express their value. Anything that helps facilitate that process is a useful tool for your sales department to have in their toolbox.
How-to or demo videos are particularly well suited to demonstrating the exact use and benefits of a product, whereas video testimonials can be produced once your existing customers are happy to give your product additional context and credibility. You may also use a video slideshow, which lets you arrange photos and video snippets into a captivating brand narrative, and add visual elements to complex subjects.
Visual communication has great potential to increase conversions. To create a kick-ass slideshow you don’t necessarily have to invest in creating great photography yourself. You can also make a perfect selection of stock images that will help you tell your story.
Using video increases your chances of ensuring that your prospects genuinely understand what you’re saying. An added benefit, however, is that it also makes you stand out. A video packed with useful information is powerful to see when someone is going through dozens of emails pitching them something each day.
Indeed, people are used to receiving sales emails or calls, but a video explaining the benefits of a product or service using footage of the product itself or even fun animations feels much more innovative — so don’t be afraid to try different things and track your target audience’s response rate for each attempt.
When it comes to prospecting, there is no one method that fits all situations. You might discover that some of these techniques are more effective for you than others, depending on the size and nature of your business, as well as the preferences of your target market.
Having said that, even if you’re unsure about putting some of these methods into practice, we nevertheless urge you to give them a try. Many of your competitors are probably still using conventional techniques, giving you a good edge to target the appropriate customers and win them over.