Selling Skills: How to Prospect

When you are learning to generate leads you need to learn how to prospect. Prospecting is a critical skill and if you get it right you will generate enough customers to ensure your time prospecting is well spent.

There are several key aspects which can help you develop this skill automatically and improve the number of clients and customers you generate with your time.

1. Produce a quality list of contacts

The start of a good prospecting process is to produce a list of people who would be interested in your services. This list can be generated from a number of sources including those who have interacted with you on social media, email newsletter signups, web visitors, referrals, current client contacts or networking.

Each contact should have been qualified so you know you will not be inefficiently spending your time, and theirs, by contacting them.

2. Consider the methods in which you will communicate with the contacts

There are several methods in which you can contact those on the list. This can include email, telephone, social media, in person (door-to-door) or via mail. Ensure that you are utilising every method you can to reach out to those who could be interested.

3. Develop a strong introduction

People will form an impression of you from your introduction. Make sure you havea strong introduction and grab their attention from the beginning to guarantee a smooth process of prospecting. Be clear and concise about why you are contacting them – but don’t go into too much detail, this can wait until later.

4. Ask plenty of questions

In order to ensure you are pitching yourself at the right level you need to be asking questions about the prospect’s present situation. For example, what are their recent problems and what solutions are they currently looking for?

This also serves as another way for you to qualify those on your list to ensure they are in need of your services. It also allows you to tailor the information you give on your services to be the most relevant to each client or group of clients.

5. Identify your unique selling point and value proposition

Standout from the crowd by ensuring you are identifying your unique selling point and your value proposition. Write this down on a script so you don’t forget it. Many sales people don’t do this and it can cost them business as they are unable to differentiate themselves from other organisations providing similar services.

5. Focus on the relationship

The major focus of prospecting is not necessarily about generating a sale that day, but about forging a co-operative relationship which can develop into a client-provider relationship in the future. Therefore don’t be overly pushy in your sales speech and instead ask when you can next contact them to see ‘how they are getting on’.

If you can show concern for them, they are more likely to be interested in you and what you have to offer.

6. Get on with prospecting

One of the biggest failings of prospecting is too many people don’t start. Instead,ensure you are getting out there and making contact with people on the list. If you feel nervous, be assured it will soon go once you have got the first few out attempts of the way.

7. Nurture relationships

Prospecting is about generating relationships with your potential clients. Don’t forget potential clients as soon as you have spoken to them, think of new and innovative ways in which you can keep in contact. This can include sending thema Christmas card or wishing them a happy Easter if you know when they are going.

By showing you are thinking not just about their custom, but about your relationship, you are more likely to generate positive responses from your communications with them.

Conclusion

Prospecting is a useful and essential skill to have. It can drive long term business to you and help raise profits. Prospecting should be done every day with a well planned schedule. Ensure you make the most out of your time prospecting by following the advice above.

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