Let’s be real: prospecting, even for the best of people, is tough. You can have the best product, the best benefits, and even great prospects but boom, the dreaded thing happens. The dreaded “thing” is the prospect who simply slows things down or worse yet, just goes silent on you. Suddenly all of the work you’ve done to cultivate the prospect and create another satisfied customer falls to the wayside. This happens to everyone. Unless you’re somebody who sells the simplest of items for the cheapest price, I bet you’ve experienced your fair share of prospects going radio silent.
So, how do you keep a prospect engaged? When you’re prospecting, you’re making call after call and doing everything you think you need to do but still… nothing. Pretty soon a day turns into a week, a week turns into a month and even a month turns into a quarter. What’s the solution? Let’s dig into 10 things you need to do to keep a prospect engaged, unless you’re happy chasing prospects who never turn into customers.
Video: How to Keep a Prospect Engaged
1. Connect Each Conversation
You have to link every communication together. Each conversation is not just a phone call; it’s also a voicemail, email, whatever form of communication you choose to use. This means that you take what you learned on a previous call, repeat it back to them, and then motivate them to build on it. Ask them more information. By doing this, you keep them engaged because now they know you’re listening, you’re paying attention. They can see that you value their opinion.
2. Value their opinion
This means you ask to get their point of view. Tell them you want their opinion about something. Ensure that you’re always getting their stance, because often you’ll wind up just getting blank statements back. Make them go deeper than that. In the prospecting phase, that’s information you want to uncover because it will help you close really without having to discount by truly knowing where they’re coming from.
3. Always build value
Each time you communicate, no matter what avenue, build value with your prospect. Whether this is over the phone, via email, etc. Always build value or “ABV.” You do this by sharing a new piece of information with them in each conversation. Then, link back to something they shared with you previously. It’s your job to help them see why what you’re offering them and how you’re helping them will help them become better. Remember that the goal of sales is to help others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible; this starts during the prospecting phase with you.
4. Ask questions
Never communicate with your prospect without asking questions, and asking questions that are focused on them, their needs, and where they’re coming from. It doesn’t matter what form of communication you’re using. Then, take that further by asking them a follow-up question based off whatever they share with you, to build the relationship. This gives you material and information to come back to so you can do what I said in number one – connect each conversation.
5. Bring new insights
Now you’re asking how bringing new insights is any different from always building value. They are two different things. Let me explain what I mean by bring new insights. Share with your prospect what you learn from talking to other customers. Or you could say, “I just saw this in the news. Here’s what’s going on in the industry.” This is bringing new insights, and it allows them to see you as a peer. Also, it encourages them to see you as a subject matter expert. Best of all, this allows them to see you as a partner they can’t live without because keep in mind that credibility sells. People want credibility. By building the conversation with sharing new insights, you bring credibility to the relationship.
6. Focus on them
It’s never about you. They don’t care about all the awards you won. They don’t care about the history of your company. They could care less about any of that. All they care about is themselves. Keep your conversation solely focused on them. That is what will impress them. If they really want to know more about you, they can find out on the internet, or they can ask you. However, let them bring it up if they’re interested. Let them initiate asking you about yourself. You never want to be the one that walks around pontificating about how wonderful you are.
7. Create high-value CTA
Always create high-value call to actions (CTA). What are high-value CTA’s? This is about creating a next step every time you communicate with them, because high-value CTAs engage them. They are call to actions that they invest in. For example, I’ll say, “Hey, looking forward to our call next Tuesday at two o’clock. Take a look at this document. Let me know your opinion on it before we meet.” This not only creates a CTA, call to action, but gives more value by asking them to do something for you. I always look for prospects to do something for me in between our conversations. This helps me measure how focused they are on what I have to offer. If they only engage with me when I start the conversation or when I call them, they might be engaged; however, I know they’re really engaged when they’re communicating back to me, and they’re starting the conversation.
8. Continuous involvement
Don’t ever let dry periods occur. You can’t afford to. There may be three to four weeks planned in between calls due to various circumstances or something going on, but that certainly does not mean you remain silent. You must continually stay in front of them. This may be with an email, or a link to something. This is how you constantly build value and bring new insights. It’s crucial that you do not allow them to forget about you, although remember that it’s not about you. It’s about the information that you bring.
9. Know their needs
Everything you’re doing in the prospecting phase is designed to accomplish one goal: know their needs. The deeper your conversation, the greater their level of confidence in you, the greater their level of competence in you; therefore, the more they’ll share their needs with you. When you know their specific needs, you can drill down and really exploit them. I don’t mean exploit them to take advantage, but to fully understand. Don’t hesitate to push back. It’s ok to pry with each step and each phase you go through, because in each one, you earn the right, the privilege, honor, and respect to be able to communicate with them again and go deeper.
10. Be a peer
Don’t be a salesperson, a vendor, or a supplier. You want to be a peer. When you’re seen as a peer, prospects will want to do business with you. They’ll also treat you with the utmost respect, because they value you. You will be seen as a peer when you do steps one through nine.
Don’t forget that I wrote the books A Mind for Sales and High-Profit Prospecting, both of which expound upon how to keep a prospect engaged. Writing these books are my ways of being seen by you as a peer who can help. I’d love to hear your thoughts, so drop a review on Amazon or wherever you purchased the book. Grab your copy today!