Recent thinking says that customers will have done all their research online – reading reviews, understanding the features and benefits and finding the best price – before they even approach a company to buy their product.
Most believe there is little they can do about this. But what if it’s not true – or, what if it doesn’t have to be?
Don’t limit yourself to just the tip of the iceberg
What if you can unlock a much bigger market than those who are searching for you online?
What if you could find the people who need what you’re selling but, for whatever reason, have not found you?
Or those that that need what you are selling but haven’t started looking for a solution yet?
Or those who just don’t know that you exist or that you can help them?
To reach this market, you need a different approach.
The lost art of person-to-person (P2P) prospecting
P2P prospecting used to be a way of life. Sales people would pick up the phone and call potential prospects. It was something every sales¬person had to learn how to do. Effective prospecting is what set the sales stars apart from their peers. It’s was what allowed organisations to build pipelines of sales opportunities, which turned into sales today, tomorrow, and, way into the future.
However, the focus of today’s sales person is on the leads coming through to them today – those online enquiries, those ‘hot’ leads, where someone wants to buy your product or service now. The thinking is if a prospect doesn’t buy, that’s ok – there will be another enquiry coming along really soon.
Sales people have forgotten how to prospect. They have overlooked a key sales tool. Sales people today rarely call potential prospects, instead waiting for the phone to ring or for an online enquiry.
You need to make prospecting a daily task
By running a proactive sales prospecting program you will engage prospects early, generate qualified sales leads and build a sustainable sales pipeline that will bring sales through the door today, tomorrow and into the future.
Sales prospecting using real conversations gives you a chance to build rapport with prospects who have not yet reached out. It allows you to speak to them before they do their online research and before they have considered alternatives. You will bring them into your sales funnel, building a sustainable, long term pipeline of opportunities.
And if you do this consistently, one person making prospecting calls for just 4 hours each day, will present your business to over 5,000 new prospects each year.
5 steps to unlock your hidden market
P2P sales prospecting will uncover a huge untapped potential market, one your competitors are probably ignoring. Does it replace your online marketing? Not at all, it is an additional market for you to tap into.
Here are 5 steps to unlock this hidden market for your organisation.
Define your prospecting value proposition
Before you start, you need a plan. What are you going to say to your prospects when you get them on the line – what is your Prospecting Value Proposition. This should not focus on you, but on the pain or needs your potential customers have – and that you can solve.
Define your market
Who has the problem that you solve? Think about where they are located, what industries they are in, what size of company would they be (either in annual turnover, or number of employees). Finally, who owns the problem that you solve? What is their role and job title likely to be? With this information, go to a reputable list broker and ask them for companies that match your criteria, or use LinkedIn to identify prospects that way.
Refine your pitch
Once your market is defined and your Prospecting Value Proposition is in hand, it’s time to develop a dynamite pitch. HINT: this should not be a one-way monologue. Use questions (lots of them) to uncover your prospects’ needs.
Streamline your process
Next you need to set up how you prospect, who does it, as well as how often and when they do it. Without having all of this in place your prospecting efforts are going to be inconsistent and disappointing.
Align your follow up
Prospecting is a long-term strategy. Not all prospects are going to buy from you now. For many, this will be the beginning of a journey. So follow up and nurturing are critical.
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