Friday, August 27, 2010

Sales Prospecting Tips

By Travis Baugh

Sales prospecting is probably one of the least fun things to do in business. It takes a lot of work, discipline, and consistency. It may also seem like the results aren't that great. You expend all this energy, but only have a few sales to show for it. But here are a few tips that will help you get better results from your efforts.

1) Be proactive

Prospecting is usually only done when sales are down. You need to make more money, so you go looking for sales. But this can come across to the customer as desperation. They can sense your need for the sale and balk at what they perceive as pressure. If you prospect when sales are up, you seem more relaxed. You can focus more on what you can offer the customer, as opposed to what the customer's money can do for you.

2) Look for high-percentage opportunities

Prospecting the wrong people isn't going to help your business. You can't sell a square peg to someone with a round hole. Think about what you can actually offer the customer. If you can't help them, then don't worry about it! Go find someone you can honestly help. What you want to do is produce results, not just activity. If you're selling square pegs, spend your time talking to people with square holes. Both you and your prospect will be happier.

3) Think long term

Sales prospecting isn't about making a sale right now. It's about building a relationship with another person so that they want to come to you for a solution to their problems. You probably won't walk into a business for the first time and walk out with a check. But you can introduce yourself, find out what they're looking for, and describe how you can help them. Build a level of trust by focusing on their needs and after talking to them several more times, they can see that you are honestly trying to assist them, rather than make a sale and run.

4) Follow up

This one is easy. Do what you say you are going to do! If you schedule a time to call back with more information, then make sure you call at that time. This is about respecting your client. If you say you're going to do something and you don't do it, the client will assume that you really don't care about them. If you have to cut short another conversation to meet your commitments, then do it. If you are consistently delivering on your promises, the person you cut off will understand that this is how you do it. They should appreciate your integrity because the next time you promise them something, they know you will deliver.

These 4 sales prospecting tips, when done consistently and with discipline, will help you be more effective in your efforts. You will produce more results, and have a healthier business. Prospecting is not easy, but it is simple. It just takes the proper technique. Isn't your business worth whatever it takes to be successful?