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Prospecting and Getting the Right Start

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A. Reasons for Buying
Knowing why people buy is crucial information to have if you want to close sales, no matter what you’re selling. Review the following list of the reasons people buy and put it to use to help you close sales.

* The customer wants his needs fulfilled.
* The product keeps up with the times.
* The product stays ahead of competition.
* The product is the biggest.
* The product can be applied to both large and small business needs.
* The product makes the customer feel secure.
* The product is well-respected throughout its market.
* The product feeds the customer’s vanity.
* The product brings status.
* The product is appropriate for a season or event.
* The customer is compulsive.

B. How and Where to Obtain Prospects
But where do you find prospects?
* Mailing lists
* Direct mail lists
* Tradeshow lists
* Event lists
* Magazine subscription lists
* Your own newsletter subscription list
* Your in-house list of people who have contacted you
* Business cards from tradeshows
* Your contacts
* Referrals

Make a list of your prospects by category.
A-B-C
A = a hot prospect that will do business real soon.
B = a prospect that will need my product or service, but is not ready yet. C = a prospect that I need to continually develop.
Work all A,B,C prospects with the objective of moving them to your ‘CUSTOMER’ list. C. Method of Making Appointments
* Prepare your opening statement. This is your main sales pitch for the appointment. You should type a short script that introduces you and your company, and briefly describes why you want an appointment. * Speak in a positive tone with words that will grab the listener’s attention. This is best accomplished talking about the benefits you can offer. * Ask for a meeting. You want to present various options. For example, “What day next week will be good?” Another tactic: “Will Tuesday or Thursday be best for you?” This will increase the chances of gaining agreement. D. Planning and Delivering the Sales Presentation

Basics of Sales Presentation

Unlike a TV/Radio/Paper advertisement, a sales presentation has a longer format – and is delivered in person by a salesman. Thus adding a human element to this “advertisement”. A good sales presentation is therefore the one which entices the potential customer to make the buying decision.

A successful sales presentation has two parts. Part one is Presentation Planning and Part two is the actual presentation and demonstration. Presentation Planning

First step in developing a sales presentation is to write out your presentation plan. Preparing a written plan requires one to think of the major selling points of your product or service. One must also think of the possible questions customer may ask. Consider the best case, worst case and most probable case, try to anticipate as much as possible. This requires lots of thinking – on what are the customer’s needs, what will be the major selling point to those needs, how would the customer possibly react, what would be the questions & objections, and how you can effectively show that your product or service can meet your customer’s needs.

The best preparation in developing a sales presentation plan is to know a lot about the potential customer themselves: Who they are, what market segments do they serve, who their competition is, what are the major challenges facing them etc.

Another important thing that must be taken into consideration while developing the sales presentation is the objective of the sales presentation. If the sales presentation is being delivered on the very first meeting, then the sales presentation must do the following:

1. Establish rapport
2. Discover needs
3. Match your product features & benefits with customer needs
4. Get commitment for the next action step.

In most business-to-business sales, the first meeting will not result in closing the deal or winning the order. So the objective for the very first presentation must be set accordingly.

In a multi-meeting presentations, the objective will be to:

1. Reinforce the rapport established in the earlier meeting/presentation 2. Build a relationship with the customer (based on inputs from the earlier meetings 3. Jointly discover customer needs
4. Set the stage for the next meeting
5. Address any objections, concerns the customer may have
6. Present the value of your product/service to the customer 7. Close i.e., Get the order

Objective of the sales presentation drives the content of that presentation. In a complex sale, objective of various presentations are different, one has to prepare multiple presentations. E. Types of Sales Presentation

Webinar
Webinar sales presentations are conducted via the Internet. Webinars let those who choose to view the sales presentation watch it on their computer. To access the webinar sales presentation, viewers can either be invited to join a webinar via e-mail or, depending on the type of webinar, they may need to download software that allows them to participate. Webinar sales presentations allow the salesperson to include graphics such as charts and tables to express ideas. These sales presentations are popular because they let you communicate your message to potential clients without traveling. Teleconference

With the high cost of travel, teleconference sales presentations are a good way to keep costs down. A teleconference sales presentation is done over the phone and can include several people. Sometimes it can get confusing, trying to identify who is talking without being able to put a face with a voice, so usually just one salesperson participates in the teleconference.

F. Dramatizing the Sales Presentation
There’s a little bit of actor in all good salespeople. In fact, a salesperson and an actor both have a stage presence and a role to play, and both attempt to influence an audience. Here are four reasons why you should “dramatize” your sales presentation.

1. Dramatizing maintains buyer interest. You can’t save souls in an empty church, and you can’t sell a prospect who is more interested in what the lunch special of the day is at the local diner than in your product or service. Make your presentation fun, make it interesting, engage your prospect, and compel your prospect to pay attention to you.

2. Dramatizing convinces the prospect. If you say the product won’t break, hit it with a hammer. If you say the product won’t burn, try to make it burn; if it won’t crack, try to crack it. Better yet, ask the prospect to try to break it, burn it or crack it.

3. Dramatizing facilitates understanding. A picture is worth a thousand words and seeing is believing.

4. Dramatizing creates a lasting impression. When you dramatize, you create a picture in the prospect’s mind – one that lasts longer than just a verbal presentation.

5. Dramatizing aids salespeople. It creates enthusiasm; it builds up salespeople’s confidence in their own abilities and in their products and services. G. Prospecting for New Business

For the most part, sales people tend to be very creative at avoiding doing the right thing when it comes to prospecting. Any excuse will do! I am sure you’ve heard some of these… Too early to make a call, too late to make a call, too close to noon, too soon after lunch, Mondays are never good, Fridays are horrible, It’s Tuesday (Wednesday, Thursday, whatever), What’s the use – voice mail will pick up and they never return calls, Never before a holiday weekend, etc. A great sales manager once said about prospecting (and many other sales related activities as I think about it) “Liking it is optional – Doing it is mandatory. Period.” So, what would it take to change things around? How about the right attitude and a good system. Actually, the right system might even help with the attitude, so let’s just say: A good system. Having a good system keeps you on track for doing the right things with the right people at the right time and for the right reason. It also reduces the “pre call stress” that causes the dreaded sales epidemic known as “call reluctance.” But what is a prospecting system? Here is a glimpse at one. Not a complete outline, but enough steps to give you a good idea. Put together a plan.

What are your prospecting goals? When are you planning on calling? How often? What would happen if you reach your prospect? (Sometimes they do answer the phone…) What if you don’t reach them? What would the next step be? What about the one after that? It is very important that you have a way to touch the prospect multiple times over a short period of time. Take the time to think of the 5-10 opportunities to have something significant in front of them. What media are you planning on using? Prospecting letters, Three Dimensional Marketing, Voice Mail Messages, Email Messages, Post Cards, Articles, etc. Articulate the message

It’s never a good idea to call or write with the message: “I sell __________ – do you want to buy some?” We’ve got to be much more creative than that. Depending on whom you call, you better be ready to talk about things from their point of view. What are the priorities on their radar screen? Do you have any ideas that might help address them? You get the idea. Define the right accounts and people to call

What are the characteristics of the accounts that are best suited for your products and services? Calling on the “right” accounts increases your probability of success and as a result it would be more likely that you’ll stay with the program. By the way, batch your calls (e.g. accounts within the same industry) so once you start making calls you can be very effective as you would be more familiar with some of the issues, wishes, and concerns within that sector. Anticipate and prepare to handle objections

You know they are not just sitting around waiting for your call. So, when they say “we are already doing business with someone else” or “I am too busy to talk” don’t be surprised, be ready. Be prepared for these and any of the other objections you are most likely to hear. Practice. Practice. Practice.

It is always better to sweat in front of your peers than to bleed in front of your customers so… get with your manager, your team members, or anyone willing to work with you and hone your skills. It will pay huge dividends. Take action.

Do It Now! Take the first step and good selling!

4 Everyday Prospecting Rules You Should Set For Yourself
A sales job is understandably hard. It requires a mindset of hustle led by passion, purpose, and a sense of achievement. Although online sales – or the act of prospecting and procuring business online – isn’t as grueling as an actual sales call, the principles of hustle still apply. Not everyone can sell and that’s because very few can set themselves rules, apply them to their own success or growth, and operate with 200 meters of light ahead while driving down long, winding, uncertain paths. Thankfully, you can sell online today. Most of the “hustle” now pivots to the Internet so that takes away plenty of friction points in sales such as commute from one place to the other, long waiting time periods lost in paperwork, uncertainty in meeting clients, etc. Yet, here are a few everyday prospecting rules you should set for yourself: Meet Your Prospecting Activity Goals

Whether you are self-employed professional left to acquire clients on your own, a small business owner, a sales executive, or a marketing manager, the onus of getting business is on you. Start with the ideal number of “bookings” or “sales” you’ll need each month. Break that number down into daily and weekly goals. Here’s an example: For simplicity sake, consider the case of a Craig — a freelance copywriter. Let’s assume that every sale (assuming articles or blog posts as the items sold) fetches $20 in revenue for him, and that he’d need $4000 at the end of each month. How many articles should Craig sell each day? To achieve a monthly goal of $4000, Craig should to sell 10 articles @ $20 each, per day, Monday to Friday.

To sell 10 articles, however, how many prospects should he reach out to on a daily basis? It’s a whopping 100 people per day. Assuming that only 10% of the prospects convert (which means that they agree to commission Craig to write for them), he’d have to reach out to 100 people each day to get 10 clients. Of course, Craig can end up getting fixed-price retainer projects, hourly projects, or maybe secure article writing jobs at a much higher rate than $20 per article. So, depending on what your end goal for the month is (in numbers) and your price per sale (ticket value), you’ll be able to evaluate the number of new prospects you need to reach out each month. Once you arrive at the number for your business; it’s etched on stone. It’s religion. It’s a rule you can’t break. Follow Up

Sending out new emails, connecting with potential prospects on social media, watching your email opt-in list grow each day, and receiving inbound calls from strangers asking for your products – all of these are leads that lie right at the top of your sales funnel. These are precious inbound leads. Yet, no one buys anything on a whim. Your clients or customers will not buy right away. You’ll need to follow-up with each of these leads or prospects until they make their purchase. Clearly then, follow-ups also take up a chunk of your time each day, apart from finding totally new prospects. While you can certainly semi-automate your follow-up process and make it easier for you, sales and marketing would never work if there wasn’t someone (or something) that works to follow-up with leads or prospects. Treat Every Prospect As A Closed Sale

When sending out emails, scheduling responses to others’ emails, or when you are prospecting in general, don’t treat the process as “one that leads to a sale” or “one that might or might not work out”. Treat it as a closed sale. Consider that every prospect you interact or communicate with is a client already. The tone of your voice (even with written and electronic mode of communication) changes drastically when you interact with a client compared to how you communicate with a cold lead or a prospect. When you consider the sale as closed, you approach with confidence. You’ll tend to communicate from your heart, and somehow, the friction in communication is lost.

It’s A Flow You Can’t Tinker With
If you noticed, you can’t game the sales process. You can certainly make it better, faster, and more efficient. You can improvise and experiment. You will also have a repository of tools available to help you achieve your sales goals. You still can’t game the process. The process is always like this:

Prospects >> Follow – up >> Sales >> Deferred Sales >> Closure Set that golden number up, and dig the process everyday. Use some incredibly awesome tools such as RightInbox to make your job that much easier. Reaping (Winning the business)

This is the reward for all your efforts -You win business, you get paid! If you endeavour to make things happen in all stages of your prospecting cycle then you will always be reaping (getting paid) as well as sowing the seeds for sales that will come. You must of course allocate sufficient time still to existing clients as well as they are the foundation of your business. Essential Prospecting Planning

“You must regularly sow the right prospecting activities to reap the rewards” So think of your prospecting as three harvesting stages: sowing, cultivating and reaping.

So now we have looked at the different prospecting stages and why you should split your time equally you need to also have a prospecting plan that works for you. Here are some essential prospecting tips to help you plan and execute your campaign.

1. Know your Target Audience Are you targeting more of the same type of client? Are you looking at trialling new vertical markets to ascertain potential level of interest? Or do you ultimately only want to target larger organisations? To leverage for e.g. 10% of your biggest client base? What are your defined geographical regions? Build a list of your desired customers, and decide how you will reach them? Have a concise compelling message for each different target group.

2. Data
Buying and maintaining a good quality data is a crucial part of any direct mail, e-marketing or telemarketing campaign The data you source or agree to use needs to be as accurate and targeted as possible. If the data has come from a variety of different sources other than a data company you can ask a data company to carry out data hygiene so that they can cross reference and delete and TPS (telephone preference service) registered and duplications.

On average 25% of people change jobs /roles every year so data will have some inaccuracies. It is advisable that you clean it every time you do any telemarketing or direct mail campaigns in order to keep it as up to date as possible.

If targeting vertical markets then it is crucial to have the correct organisation name so that it is easier to separate and measure the reaction of each vertical. If you decide to outsource any telemarketing a good telemarketing company will be able to utilise any data they are given and clean it as they make the calls.

3 Recognise what constitutes a ‘quality lead to you? Prospecting should focus on quality over quantity; after all wouldn’t you rather generate a lower volume of leads but of a higher quality with consistent conversions? A lead these days can come from so many sources you need to be clear on what constitutes a hot lead? A warm lead? A luke warm lead and a cold lead for your business? For e.g. A website enquiry looking to purchase from you in the next few days would be viewed as warmer than a postcard left in a box at your exhibition stand with no timescales for buying and half the phone number missing.

Only when your business agrees on what constitutes a quality lead can you then set up a process for recording level of interest and following the interest through to hopefully a sale.

Qualify, Qualify and Qualify level of interest

What Gets Measured Gets Done
Any telemarketing efforts should be logged onto an in house reporting system showing all call activity and level of conversions. Direct mail is 3 times more successful if followed up by a call afterwards. Contact names and addresses should be cleaned and updated prior to posting each direct mail batch. Direct mail campaigns and e marketing campaigns should be tracked from when they were sent to when they were followed up and concluded.

The success of any prospecting can only be determined if it is monitored and measured at every stage, with a full evaluation at the end of each campaign.

Prospecting Plan Checklist

Where and how does your offering best fit? In which companies? Markets? And locations?

Have you supplied into the above areas before?

Do you know from past experience which prospecting approach works best? For e.g telemarketing? Exhibitions?

How many leads on average it takes to create one sale? How much market share do you have? And how much do you want? Set Prospecting targets for each campaign!

Measure Remember successful prospecting in the longer term should make you money not cost you money.

REFERENCES:

http://www.dummies.com/how-to/content/reasons-for-buying-to-be-aware-of-to-close-sales.html http://consultantjournal.com/blog/sales-prospect-how-winners-finds-prospects http://selling.lifetips.com/cat/56956/prospecting/index.html http://www.ehow.com/how_6505811_make-business-appointment.html http://it.toolbox.com/blogs/it-marketing/make-a-successful-sales-presentation-part1-8768 http://www.ehow.com/about_5489456_types-sales-presentations.html http://www.sellingpower.com/content/article/?i=1165&ia=6154 http://www.salesandmanagement.com/resources/ArticleFolder/Prospecting.htm http://www.rightinbox.com/blog/4-everyday-prospecting-rules-you-should-set-for-yourself http://www.syob.co.uk/start-business/prospectingfornewbusiness/341?id=341

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