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  1. 1. 10 top-notch prospecting techniques for sales pros by Ken Dooley May 17, 2013 Comments (0) 5 15 It’s imperative to keep the pipeline filled with prospects. As a result, the prospecting process must come to occupy a primary place in a salesperson’s list of priorities if success is to be achieved. Here are 10 prospecting techniques that will bring you a steady stream of qualified potential customers: 1. Make a commitment to be a prospect-driven salesperson. With too many salespeople, prospecting is taken seriously only during those periods when sales are down. They continue to be interested in the results of prospecting but neglect the process of obtaining prospects. The goal is to be known as a “prospect-driven” salesperson, one that focuses total attention and resources on uncovering prospective customers. 2. Focus on finding the right prospects. Prospects must come before prospecting. Some salespeople spend a lot of time chasing would-be prospects who have no interest in what they’re selling. The key is spending time determining exactly who fits the profile of what you want to sell and then building a prospect profile. Analyze your top customers, develop appropriate profiles and search for prospects that fit those profiles. The profiles will help you focus your prospecting activities on profitable, potential customers. 3. Cultivate continuously. A major weakness is making prospecting an event, rather than a process. Prospecting is not an impulsive quick fix. It involves more than making a call and, if there’s a negative response, crossing the name off the list. The purpose of continuous cultivation is to build a relationship with a prospect, something some salespeople find difficult when the initial contact is negative. 4. Look at former customers. Many former customers may be ready to buy again or try a new product or service. Try to mix in former customers when you’re planning your prospecting calls. Former customer may also be an invaluable source of leads. 5. Expect attrition. Businesses move, close or are acquired, and through no fault of their own, salespeople lose those accounts. The best way to replace them is to strive to have a pipeline of prospects who can be looked upon as customers in the making. 6. Recognize resistance to change. Some prospects have a natural resistance to change. They follow the “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it philosophy,” which makes it difficult to open new accounts. When prospects raise objections, listen carefully and ask for clarification. By asking the prospect to go into more detail about the objection, you’ll be in a better position to overcome it. 7. Own your territory. Salespeople who don’t call on qualified prospects in their territories are leaving the door open for competitors to do so. Once competitors get an opening with prospects in your territory, they may start converting your long-term customers in that territory as well.
  2. 2. 8. Take a close look at the competition. Are your competitors failing in areas that may be your strengths? Have there been any changes in your competitors’ staff or product line that may give you an opportunity? Companies in transition provide a great opportunity for salespeople who act quickly and creatively. 9. Resist hitting a comfort level. Some salespeople become content with their lifestyle. They hit their own glass ceiling, by only calling on favorite customers, looking for just an acceptable amount of new business and not really pushing themselves. The entrepreneurial salesperson is never satisfied, always thinking and trying to grow, and improve the business. 10. Try to learn what the prospect does and his or her objectives. Who are the customers and competitors? Get information with web searches, annual reports, people who work at the prospect’s company and press releases. Call reluctance limits what salespeople achieve by emotionally limiting the number of calls they make. Research shows that 40% of all salespeople will experience one or more episodes of call reluctance despite their years of experience, product knowledge or current income level. Here are the nine forms of call reluctance that sabotage sales opportunities: 1. Over-preparation. Characterized by salespeople who spend too much time preparing what to say and how to say it, while spending too little time trying to find qualified prospects. These salespeople become encyclopedias of technical information with no one to make presentations to. 2. Role rejection. Characterized by emotional resistance to mixing business and family. Salesperson usually finds it difficult to prospect for sales among personal friends or even to ask them for referrals. 3. Yielding. Yielders have difficulty asserting themselves, particularly when it comes to prospecting. They’re afraid to incite conflict or risk losing approval. Yielders become too polite for the fear of appearing pushy or intrusive. 4. Doomsaying. Characterized by energy being diverted away from contact with prospective buyers to over-vigilant preparation for low probability catastrophes. Doomsayers habitually worry about the worst case scenario. 5. Referral aversion. For most salespeople, asking for referrals is appropriate and easy. For a call reluctant minority, it is difficult and distressing. 6. Hyper-professionalism. Characterized by energy being lost due to over-investment in the mannerisms and appearances of success. Prospecting, is viewed as “demeaning” and “unprofessional.” Those views are accompanied by the over-stylized use of professional jargon, name-dropping and a reflexive need to appear better informed and more sophisticated that the “average” salesperson. 7. Telephobia. Characterized by fear when trying to use the telephone for prospecting purposes. 8. Stage fright. Characterized by avoiding or bypassing opportunities to prospect through group presentations due to emotional discomfort. 9. Social self-consciousness. Characterized by emotional hesitation to initiate contact with up-market prospects. Habitually intimidated by persons of wealth, prestige or power. This reaction may be camouflaged by a verbalized, over-cavalier disregard for status. One common symptom All types of call reluctance have one symptom in common: procrastination. Yielders procrastinate. Over-preparers procrastinate. All call-reluctant salespeople procrastinate. But procrastination is their symptom, not their problem. It’s how they deal with the real problem — call reluctance. They fear one or more of the activities necessary to initiate contact with sufficient numbers of prospective buyers. So they put off these activities as often and as creatively as they can. Overcoming procrastination Here are four tips will help salespeople overcome procrastination:
  3. 3.  Set priorities and focus on one goal at a time. Establishing priorities focuses your attention on fewer, but more important things. Without priorities, you jump from task to task, ignoring major responsibilities while wasting time on trivial matters. This is the behavior that leads to call reluctance.  Set deadlines. A deadline focuses attention on a particular task. You can beat procrastination simply by setting a deadline and sticking to it.  Don’t avoid the most difficult problems. Attack the toughest problem first. Dealing effectively with a difficult problem may help you overcome fear, a major cause of call reluctance.  Don’t let perfectionism paralyze you. Perfectionists spend enormous amounts of time trying to improve results from 90% to 95% persistent. Salespeople who do this fall into the category of over-preparation, a major cause of call reluctance. Final steps Here are 6 steps to help salespeople push through any sales call reluctance: 1. Be aware of where you’re avoiding making contacts. 2. Set daily goals for making contacts you’ve been avoiding, and reward yourself when you meet your goals. 3. Relax, recall past accomplishments and mentally visualize yourself easily managing those contacts. 4. Tell yourself you can jump over the temporary fear and discomfort. 5. Focus on your goals and why you’re making the contacts. 6. Don’t wait for things to happen. This includes waiting for a callback from a prospect, waiting until a proposal is developed, waiting for a quote and waiting for a decision. “Waiting” wastes time and money, and contributes to call reluctance. Your job is to drive the sales process, not slow it down.
  4. 4.  1. 3 Ways To Convert Prospects Into CustomersBoost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com  When it comes to converting prospects into customers, you have 2 choices:Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing- Rules.com2.  3) Lead them directly to a sales letter pageBoost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com 2) Lead them to a pre-sell page 1) Lead them to a squeeze page3.  I have tried all 3, and in my line of work, option number 3 works best for me. But who knows… for your business and your niche, one of the other two options may work best for you. You just have to test and see for yourself, and then roll with the model far into the future. Don’t ever give up on your dreams.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com4.  Now for some people online, leading people directly to a sales letter page is the number 1 way to go… even if they’re selling a product for $100 or more. I see people selling $500 products online with just a simple sales letter page. In fact, I know a guy who sells $2,000 products online with just a simple sales letter page.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing- Rules.com5.  So does it work? It does, but for alot of other people online, leading people to a squeeze page and collecting the lead is what works best for them. Personally I feel that when I market to my backend customers, I get a higher response rate from them than when I just collect a regular free lead.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com6.  Now this is common, but this is part of the reason why I choose to skip the squeeze page process, and just go straight to the sales letter page. You will hear people say that one method works 400% better than another, but I disagree. You have to do the math in your business to figure out which approach works best for you.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing- Rules.com7.  If you sell a high priced product that converts well, you can do alot with this. But if you’re selling a low priced item… leading people to your sales letter page is probably the best way to go. Many newbies online get frustrated by the fact that they would get thousands of hits to their website everyday, but still fail to make any money in their business.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com8.  There are all kinds of reasons why this may happen. Perhaps they focus too much on social media marketing. Perhaps their website is unorganized. Perhaps they confuse prospects when people arrive at their page. Or perhaps their traffic is just not targeted. You have to make sure you get targeted traffic that will convert, and convert very well for you.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com9.  The bottom line is that you will want to test in your business. There’s nothing wrong with testing and tracking, so be sure to get to it today. If you’re going to go down the lead generation route, make sure you track your conversion rate. Make sure you aren’t losing money generating leads, and that they are buying.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com10.  Like I said you have 3 options at your disposal, so I would try all 3 out and see which one works best for you. Because I assure you… 1 method doesn’t work for ALL businesses online. So keep that in mind.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing- Rules.com11.  Good luck with marketing your online business today.Boost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com12.  For more internet marketing secrets, visit the following website below: InternetMarketing-Rules.comBoost Your Sales: InternetMarketing-Rules.com13.  How to Find , Influence & Convert More Prospects Into Customers Matt Heinz President, Heinz Marketing Inc [email_address] @heinzmarketing  2. Last Slide First Find & engage prospects “upstream” before they are active buyers Understand your customer, product & objective before executing Publish your own content to attract prospects Practice customer-centric selling every day Sales & marketing is too important to leave to salespeople and marketers  3. Let’s talk about you first…  4. Your business objectives  5. Your business objectives
  5. 5.  6. Prospect Engagement Funnel Active Sales Cycle Channels: CRM, 1:1 Goal: Sell New Customer Drip Marketing Channels: Email Newsletters, CRM System Goal: Drive Active Prospects Network / Open Community Channels: Twitter, Facebook, Blog, LinkedIn Goal: Drive Registration Network-exclusive access to content Value-added special offers Discovery events White papers, top ten tips, etc. Testimonials, Success Stories Profile-Specific Messages New product/service offers Referral & Tell-a-Friend Offers Network / Community Invites New Opportunity Alerts 1:1 with Existing Customer In-Market Events Next Step Accelerator Ideas Customer Targets (based on persona profiles)  7. Your customers  8. Marketing Plan in 5 Questions What/who are your targets? What do they care about? What outcome are they seeking? Where do you find them? What or who influences them? How do they want to engage and (eventually) buy?  9. Listening  10. Listening via Twitter  11. Vertical Groups ActiveRain SHRM ChurchCrunch Focus What are yours?  12. What do customers care about?  13. The buying progression Solution Problem/Pain Objective/Outcome  14. 5 tips for better customer-centric sales Use “you” instead of “I” Treat the first sales call like an interview Align yourself with existing customer priorities Respect their time Let your current customer sell for you  15. Prospect Engagement Funnel Active Sales Cycle Channels: CRM, 1:1 Goal: Sell New Customer Drip Marketing Channels: Email Newsletters, CRM System Goal: Drive Active Prospects Network / Open Community Channels: Twitter, Facebook, Blog, LinkedIn Goal: Drive Registration Network-exclusive access to content Value- added special offers Discovery events White papers, top ten tips, etc. Testimonials, Success Stories Profile- Specific Messages New product/service offers Referral & Tell-a-Friend Offers Network / Community Invites New Opportunity Alerts 1:1 with Existing Customer In-Market Events Next Step Accelerator Ideas Customer Targets (based on persona profiles)  16. Three types of content Proactive Reactive Participatory  17. Planning content Theme 1 Week 1 Theme 2 Theme 3 Theme 4 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4  18. “ Reactive proactive”  19. Gist as your dashboard  20. Participation Best Practices Share Don’t sell Be a trusted advisor Don’t sell Connect, recommend, refer Don’t sell  21. Why do you need this? Needs/Qualification Goal: Secure Presentation Presentation Goal: Establish decision date, send proposal Proposal Goal: BUY Approach Goal: Accelerate urgency, timeline to purchase Open/Attempted Goal: Get prospect on the phone Actively Working Goal: Qualify prospect as 30-60 day opportunity LEADS OPPORTUNITIES Lead becomes Active Opportunity  22. Why do you need a pipeline? Most leads aren’t sales ready You can’t focus on everything The right message at the right time Maximum sales, minimum work  23. How to approach your pipeline It’s a pipeline (but your prospects shouldn’t know that) Differentiate from your competitors DO NOT SELL Automate as much as you can  24. Keys to effective pipeline execution Use a lead management system Clearly define lead & opportunity stages Focus on great content Make it easy for prospects to self-select and move forward  25. Last Slide Last Find & engage prospects “upstream” before they are active buyers Understand your customer, product & objective before executing Publish your own content to attract prospects Practice customer-centric selling every day Sales & marketing is too important to leave to salespeople and marketers
  6. 6.  26. Questions? 7.

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