Most of your sales prospects really don’t want to talk to you—at first. You’re probably acutely aware of this as you approach them and try to build new business.
Even though these prospects may truly need you and your products to grow their businesses, they simply don’t have much time for you. So that’s where sales training is critical to help you build a prospect list that’s laser-focused for success.
I’ve figured out six steps to on-target prospecting that work for me. Put these into practice, and watch for measurable results in your acquisition of new business.
1.) Define your prospect.
Do you have certain criteria you use before you put someone on your prospect list? I’ve noticed in my coaching that a lot of sales reps are fairly random in who they aim for. To see results beyond random ones, come up with a list of 3-4 qualities of the ideal prospect before you just put a company on your list.
Defining the ideal prospect is really about using a test to help you see who’s on target. My test is, do they currently buy the types of products I’m selling–or have they in the past? If the answer is yes, they’re on the list.
If it’s no, I wouldn’t necessarily NOT put them on my list if I feel they’re a great fit, but they’re not going to be at the top.
One last tip in defining who should be on your list: Every prospect doesn’t need to be a whale, or a massive potential account. Whales are harder to close. Don’t load your list with nothing but massive potential clients.
2.) Identify your call-to-close ratios to fine-tune your prospect list.
To create a highly targeted Top 10 or Top 20 list, you’ll need to know how many prospects you need to get to goal. And that’s all about your call-to-close ratio.
To calculate your call-to-close ratio, consider this. If your goal is $10k, for instance, and your average deal is $1k, then you’ll need to close 10 deals to get to $10k.
But unless you close 100%, you’ll need to meet with more than 10 people to get your 10 deals. So basically, just double it. If your goal is $10k and your average is $1k per deal and your close ratio is about 50%, you’ll need to meet with about 20 people to close 10 deals.
If your close ratio is 20% … you’ll need to meet with more people to get to your 10 deals.
So you want to create your most targeted Top 10 or Top 20 list … or you might need a Big 50 or a Hot 100.
3.) Create email that connects.
Email is obviously a primary way sales reps reach out to people, but in sales training we’re told that nobody wants to read our email.
The only way to cut through the clutter is to keep emails simple and relevant.
Emails that hit the bullseye follow a three, three-and-three format. Three words in the subject line. Three sentences in the email. The email must address one of three needs. Can you save them money, make them money or save them time? What can you do for them? I use the 3-3-3 formula all the time and it works.
4.) Craft voicemail that cuts straight to the core.
Once again, realize that practically nobody wants to listen to your voicemail. So be strategic. If you start out with your name, nobody will listen. You will be deleted.
In my sales training I always stress to format your voicemail—30 seconds max—in three parts, something like this …
- Share some insight you have about their business
- Give a success story from your work with another similar company
- Say why they should call or email you back
5.) Cultivate the best time to prospect.
This is about reaching out to people at a time when they are able to reply.
I’ve found that the two best times to prospect are at 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. Because most people don’t book meetings before lunch, and they don’t book meetings before they go home.
Obviously, you might have a best time to call on people based upon your business or product category. Every product is different. Every territory is different. And every country is different.
6.) Put in place a smart pattern of follow up frequency.
The pattern of three works well here, too. You’ll find that I refer to it time and again in sales training, and that’s because the power of three works and it’s well documented.
So if I reach out to someone with an email or voicemail on Monday, I’m not going to call again on Tuesday or Wednesday. I’m going to reach out again on Thursday—three days later.
A colleague of mine refers to this as “polite persistence.” And using this pattern can increase your sales when you incorporate it into your ongoing sales training and development.
To sum up, new business prospecting is critical to sales success. If you dedicate one hour every day to practicing the targeted sales training process I’ve outlined here, you’ll find your sales hitting the mark and exceeding what you thought possible.
About this blogger:
Ryan Dohrn is an award winning sales coach and offers sales training to thousands of sales executives each year. He is also an international motivational speaker and the author of the best-selling sales book, Selling Backwards. Ryan is the President and founder of Brain Swell Media, a boutique sales training and sales coaching firm with a detailed focus on sales training and sales coaching for companies in 17 unique industry sectors from media to tech to aviation. He is also the owner and Publisher of SalesTrainingWorld.com an online portal for sales training success.
Ryan R. Dohrn
President/Founder, Brain Swell Media LLC
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