There are 10 things you need to do before you begin prospecting. If you don’t do these 10 things, your chances of being successful at prospecting are zero. I guarantee it. If you haven’t checked out my book, High-Profit Prospecting, go read it. I’ll share ideas from it today as well as from my latest book, A Mind for Sales. Let’s dive in!
Video: Before You Prospect, 10 Things You Need to Do-
1. Don’t start what you can’t finish
Too often, salespeople say, “I’m going to call a bunch of prospects. I’m going to start a bunch of calls.” However, they get busy and sidetracked and don’t have the ability to follow up and follow through. The key is that unless you can manage “X” number of prospects the entire way through your process, don’t even start with them, because all you’ll end up doing is making one call and that’s it. You won’t get anywhere.
2. Know the Outcomes You Create
Know what value you create with the outcomes you provide to your prospects. How do you know the value? Look at your current customers and ask yourself what outcomes have you been able to create for them. This is what you must zero in on. When you look at the outcomes you’ve created for your current customers, identify them vertically- by industry type, by segment, whatever it is. Then, as you call prospects, you will have in your mind that this is going to work, because probably, the outcomes that a similar type of customer is looking for will match up to what you achieved with another company and another customer.
3. Know your POE
POE stands for “point of entry.” This is how you’re going to lead off. So, what will you lead with? It doesn’t work to begin with a wonderfully, feature-driven statement. They don’t care who you are nor do they care what you make. All they care about are their problems. You have to be able to understand them well enough by vertical, by segment, by however it is. Then you’ll be able to identify and start coming in and approaching them from a prospecting standpoint, because you know your business well enough to have an intelligent conversation. That’s what it means to know your POE.
4. Be clear on your CTA
CTA is your call to action. Never make a prospecting call, no matter what form – email, phone, voicemail, etc. – without having a clear call to action. This means it has to be simple. It has to be plain enough and engaging enough for them to want to contact you. Now don’t kid yourself… don’t think that you’re going to get a high abundance of people suddenly calling you back just because you left them a voicemail. No, but you do have to be clear because there will be customers. Prospects will call you back, but you have to be clear. You have to articulate your message very simply.
5. Identify your ICP
ICP stands for ideal customer profile. Who is your ideal customer? What do they look like? Remember back to number two on this list, when I talked about knowing the value of the outcomes you create. That will help guide you to who your ICP is. The tighter you can be with your ICP, the better your POE will be and the better your CTA will be; therefore, the better everything will work for you because you’ll be able to craft your messages around just the ICP.
6. Know how to qualify
You must know how to qualify. You may reach out to your ICP, you may have a great POE, and you may have a great CTA, but if you don’t know how to qualify, what’s your criteria for qualifying if this prospect or lead is really a valid potential customer? If you don’t create criteria, you wind up with just suspects, not prospects. Without a clear process, what criteria are you looking for? What questions do you need answered? What information do you need to know? Either you’ve learned it from the outside, doing work on the customer, or you’ve heard it directly from the customer’s mouth by talking with them, you know how to qualify them.
7. Firm Cadence
You’ve got to be able to have a firm cadence. A firm cadence might be a 15-step cadence or a 20-step cadence, but either way, you stay firm at sticking to it and working your way through that list. I know that when I don’t work through that list, or if I stop after five or six, I will not be successful. A firm cadence is one that you follow all the way through knowing that the bulk of your interactions will come around contact 17, 18, 19, 20 – whatever last three or four numbers that you have in your cadence. Your cadence must also include a timeframe. In other words, let’s say that you have 15 or 20 steps, and you plan to do this in a period of 23 days, 25 days, 26 days, 18 days, whatever you decide. No matter what, you stay firm to that set timeframe. Stick to it!
8. Know your measurements
How are you going to measure success in your pipeline? I’m not about just measuring for the sake of measuring, but it is important to know. You need to have a way to measure success. Know what you’re going to do. For example, I know that if I put 100 leads in here, I will get three or four customers out in the bottom. And then I know that if I get 50 to step 10, I will have… You see how those are measurements that will help you determine if your prospecting process is working and how well it’s working.
9. Block your calendar
Don’t think that you’re going to be able to execute a prospecting plan without blocking your calendar, because you won’t. It won’t happen without blocking the time to do it. Stuff gets in the way. What do I mean by block your calendar? I am referring to setting an exact block of time in your calendar that you designate to making only outbound calls. That is the time to engage with prospects, not prepare to prospect. It’s not the time to uncover leads. It’s not about finding out the prospect or lead information. It is the time that you actually engage in conversation with prospects in one form or another.
10. Confidence factor
It really comes down to your confidence. This is what determines the outcomes that you create. If you believe in how you can help the people that you call, it becomes your responsibility to call them. Our whole objective when we’re prospecting is to help others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible. They will not expect our call; they never expect my call either. They aren’t looking for you. Nobody woke up this morning thinking, “Wow, I hope I get a call from Mark Hunter.”
No. No way! But it’s still your job to make it happen for them. It is your job, and yes, your call will interrupt them, but you will gladly interrupt them in a moment because you know that you have the ability to help them. You may have to reach out to them five, 10, 15 times, but you’re going to do it because you know you can help them. When you help people, you’re able to help them achieve some of the outcomes that you’ve helped other customers achieve.
What is sales? Sales is about helping others who don’t know. They need help to be able to see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible. I talk about this and a whole lot more in my new book, A Mind for Sales. I hope you’ll pick up a copy, read it, and submit a review. I’d love to hear what you think!
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Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.