The Art Of Prospecting – Part 2 How To Prospect

Table of Contents

by Justin Arnold, Regional Director – North West England

Following the previous blog, I want to examine how you begin prospecting. Below, I have put together a simple guide for getting started. I then cover some proven tips for finding good-fit prospects who will be more likely to become customers.

How to Prospect 

  1. Research your prospect and their business to gauge whether you can provide value.
  2. Prioritize your opportunities based on their likelihood of becoming a customer.
  3. Prepare a personalized pitch for each prospect.
  4. Craft the perfect first touch — and ensure you’re helping, coaching, not selling. 
  5. Continue to review your prospecting process to understand what you can improve. 

Unproductive prospecting is a timewaster. I recommend the inbound way and put together a basic framework that applies to all sales processes. But with a twist.

We understand that everyone has their own approach. So, we’ve also weaved in personal prospecting tips and tricks from the best salespeople we know.

Pick and experiment with whatever works best for your own sales pitch.

1. Research your prospect and their business to gauge whether you can provide value

I will go over this again and again in this blog because this is by far the most essential aspect when prospecting. We must ensure that we’re qualifying our prospects to improve our chances of providing value to them or their business.

In this stage of prospecting, we’re looking to accomplish a few goals:

  • Determine if the prospect is workable.
  • Qualify and begin prioritizing prospects.
  • Find opportunities to develop connections through personalization, rapport building, and trust development.

2. Prioritise your prospects based on their likelihood of becoming a customer

Prioritizing our prospects can save us time and ensure we’re dedicating our most concentrated efforts to prospects most likely to become customers.

Levels of prioritization will vary between each type of sales organization and each salesperson. Still, the main idea is to create a few buckets of prospects based on their buying likelihood and focus on one bucket at a time.

3. Prepare a personalized pitch for each prospect

In this step, we’ll gather in-depth information on our prospects to hone our pitch and personalize our outreach. So first, we must determine what our prospects care about.

We can do this in a few ways:

  • Look at the prospect’s blog to learn what they care about through their writing and publishing articles.
  • Identify and review their social media profiles. Do they have recent updates or new posts?
  • Check the company website to review their “About Us” information, and identify ‘Mission Statements or whether they belong to wider social groups.

Once we’ve learned more about our prospect’s business and role, we need to find a reason to connect.

Do we have mutual connections?

Has there been a trigger event?

Have they recently visited our website? If so, which search terms drove them to our site? Which pages did they look at?

If we want to get more high-level with our prep, we can create a decision map to outline our prospect’s options and end goals. This will help us better handle any objections and personalize a pitch that resonates with your understanding of their objectives.

We could also conduct a competitive analysis to determine how we can better position our company’s service or product within a specific industry and how we can combat prospects’ objections.

4. Craft the perfect first touch — and ensure you’re helping, coaching, and not selling

Whether calling or emailing, our outreach should be highly tailored to our prospect’s particular business, goals, and industry.

Keep these general tips in mind when contacting a prospect, whether on the phone or through email:

  • Personalise. Reference a specific problem that the prospect could be encountering with a particular solution.
  • Stay relevant and timely. Ensure the issue a prospect is trying to solve is still relevant to them and their team.
  • Be human. No one likes to communicate with a professional robot. Adding details like referring to a news item possibly specific to them or their business or conveying an understanding of their company’s products or services are the actual touches that allow us to establish a connection on a deeper level.
  • Help, coach, don’t sell. Provide value and ask for nothing in return. This process isn’t about us; it’s about them. For example, instead of scheduling a follow-up meeting, we could offer to conduct an audit of their digital media presence and get back to them with our findings in a week.
  • Keep it casual. Remember that this is just a conversation. Stay natural and as not sales as possible. The key to prospecting is that we’re never selling. We’re simply determining if both parties could mutually benefit from developing a relationship.

5. Iterate on your prospecting process to understand what you can improve

Keep notes throughout this process to assess what activities generated value for the prospecting process and which wasted time.

After each contact with a prospect, we should assess how well we:

  • Uncovered challenges
  • Helped create well-defined goals
  • Confirmed availability of budget
  • Understood the decision-making process, key stakeholders/decision-makers
  • Determined consequences of inaction
  • Identified potential results of success

Self-reflection is a crucial technique to develop; it will help you improve your sales prospecting techniques for the future.

Now, let’s look at a few tips from the sales desk on how to qualify prospects better and win more deals.

Look for the next blog in the series; #3 Sales Prospecting Tips and if you have any questions, please reach out to me at any of the below.

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