Prospecting in sales can be similar to online dating and summed up in one word… awkward. Someone in the online dating world spends time putting their profile together with witty comments and flattering pictures; then starts to look for a prospective partner with similar interests, desires, and goals in life. Keep in mind, pictures mean a thousand words because physical attraction usually carries a heavy weight in online dating since you have never met the person. Once you have found that special someone, you send an email to attract their attention which contains even more clever and interesting statements and hopefully a question. The next step is waiting…. Or is it?
Sales can be very similar and does not have to be awkward. Whether you are a business owner, manager, or sales person, your chosen profession is sales. We should always step out of our comfort zone, but should never feel uncomfortable in our career. Here are a few steps to make prospecting simple.
Create your online profile: Does this sound familiar? Like dating? Information is at people’s fingertips so make sure your company website and LinkedIn profile is up to par. Make sure to include your mission and/or value statement so any person searching you can quickly tell what benefits you bring to the table.
Identify your target market and understand what business problems these industries face: Whether you are offering a product or service, there are certain industries which will benefit from what you are offering more than others. Research can be done online or through various industry articles or publications. While doing this research, list out several business problems common to your target industries and understand how your organization can alleviate these concerns.
Send a concise email to attract attention from those in your targeted industry: This is where one must work smarter rather than harder. It is much more lucrative to send emails (make sure they have opted in to hear from you) and follow-up with those interested rather than cold call 100’s of people every day. Cold calling can be like throwing a dart blindfolded as opposed to utilizing email technology to understand who your most interested prospects may be. Include common challenges those industries face and how your product or service can solve those issues.
See if the prospect likes you: Call or schedule appointments with your most interested prospects (those that opened, clicked, or even responded to your email) and qualify them. Interest can be gauged by ensuring the person you are speaking with understands how your two companies can mutually benefit one another. You also want to ensure the person on the end of the phone is able to make a buying decision, has the financial resources, and has a problem they are wanting to solve in a specific timeframe so you do not waste your time with someone who will never buy.
Starting a courtship today in dating and business is a bit more complicated than in grade school when you just had to check “yes” or “no.” However, if you use the steps mentioned above it never has to be cumbersome or awkward. Most of all, be persistent. If you focus on high activity the results will come.