If you think prospecting is the hardest part of your job, you’re in good company. Over 40% of all salespeople agree with you, that prospecting is the most difficult part of the entire sales process, followed closely by closing and qualifying. The trick is to diversify your prospecting process, activities, and skills in order to maximize the number of quality leads you’re sourcing. This article is here to help turn the most difficult part of your day into the breeziest, so keep reading for our list of 10 top tips on how to improve your sales prospecting methods.
Top 10 Sales Prospecting Methods:
1. Heat those cold-calls up
It’s one of those sales prospecting methods that many people loathe, but whether you like it or not, cold-calling is still an effective way to source new prospects. In fact, 82% of buyers say they have accepted meetings with salespeople after a series of contacts beginning with sales cold calls.
Cold-calls are all about expediting the process of going from complete stranger to trusted ‘friend’ in a matter of minutes. Scared to take the plunge into freezing cold-call water? Do your research on the company beforehand so that once get through to a decision-maker, you’ll be able to demonstrate the value of your product to that particular company and build trust. Remember that decision-makers want to hear about value, not technical specifications, they’ll also want to talk about price, so don’t be too shy to bring it up after you’ve discussed value.
Want to find your decision-maker’s phone numbers? Download Lusha Contact’s Chrome extension to gives you immediate access to the personal phone numbers and email addresses of your prospects, as well as their company information. Lusha Contacts shortens your prospecting time down by a mile and makes prospecting a breeze.
2. Be a thought leader
As a salesperson, you’re a classified expert in your industry, after all, who knows more about a product than someone trying to sell it? Nobody, which is why thought leadership is a fantastic sales prospecting method. Build credibility and trust with your prospects by writing blogs, white pages, guest articles, and whatever else you can think of. Post this writing to your LinkedIn and share them amongst other social media channels. This way, you increase your chances of a prospect knowing about you, and learning from you before you make initial contact. This means you’ll no longer be a stranger, but someone smart and credible that they are already familiar with, this familiarity makes it a lot easier for you to sell to them.
3. Social media matters
We hate to break it to you but if you’re not squeezing as much juice out of your social media platforms as possible, then your sales prospecting methods are probably not up to scratch. Social media and prospecting go hand-in-hand, and it’s a great place to find, research, and interact with prospective customers. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram are all great places to start. Once you’ve created those profiles, follow these 4 tips for prospecting on social media:
- Schedule your posts- create an ongoing schedule for all your social media posts, consistency is SO important
- Personalize your outreach- create templates that make personalizing your outreach messages easier, prospects like it when you call them by their actual name, (shock!)
- Test test test!- test how best to find your prospects on different social media channels, using different filters. There is no one size fits all approach.
- Less is more- narrow your target audience down using filters such as job role, geographic location, and more.
4. Prospecting never ends (mwahaha)
We know it sounds a bit grim, especially because prospecting is one of the hardest parts of your job in sales. But it’s important to remember that your sales prospecting method is on-going and not just a one-off event. You need to carve out time each day for prospecting. Remember that prospecting isn’t over after the first phone call, you need to stay consistent. Additionally, we recommend that you are constantly researching and updating your prospecting methods. We’re headed into 2021 baby, which means that changes to social media and technology are rampant, so keep your finger on the pulse and be open to the ever-evolving world of sales prospecting.
5. Focus on finding the right match
One of the most important things to remember when developing your sales prospecting methods is that prospects are a quality over quantity game. Don’t waste time focusing your prospecting efforts on chasing up uninterested people, wasting your time and theirs. Remember that the prospect comes before prospecting, so the trick is to figure out exactly who fits your profile as your ideal customer to sell to. Your Cinderella slipper match is going to take some time to find, so start by analyzing current customers and understand what it is about them that makes them the ideal customer. Develop ideal customer profiles (ICP’s) and use them to source ideal prospects. You should be thinking about these key ICP points of information when identifying your perfect prospect:
- Budget/Revenue- can the prospects’ company afford your product? What’s the lowest price threshold that your prospect would need to pay?
- Industry Vertical- what verticals do you work with? Which ones do you not?
- Company size- what size companies are your ICP from?
- Legality- is your potential customer base limited by legal reasons such as location, age, or government restrictions?
Want to find key company infographics in a flash? Lusha Contacts not only finds your prospect’s personal contact information, but it also sources important company infographics, such as geographic location, annual revenue, company size, and more. A killer prospecting method is to first develop your ICP’s, and then use Lusha to source prospects that fit the characteristics of your ideal prospect.
6. Don’t be shy, ask for referrals
Referrals are one of the most reliable sales prospecting methods, so take full advantage. Sales mavens know that referrals are the fastest revenue driver and solve two major issues:
- Getting those qualified leads into the pipeline
- Getting decision-makers into a meeting
So why are referrals such a fire prospecting method? Well, As we all know that sales are about building trust between salesperson and prospect. A staggering 92% of people will trust referrals from people they know. Referrals build confidence between salesperson and prospect, which means that a prospect will probably move through the sales pipeline faster. With referrals, prospects expect to hear from you, so they’re already warmed up and ready to take the call, making your job easier because you’re not a complete stranger. So, don’t be too shy to ask your favorite happy customers for referrals, and don’t forget to say thank you to the legend who referred you.
7. Don’t stop the follow-up
Following up is one of the most important B2B sales prospecting methods because it ensures that your customer does not fall through the cracks. Following up is invaluable, as it helps to push your prospect through the sales pipeline. Be sure to always keep your prospect in the loop by following up at each step of the sales cycle. This could be anything from sending over resources, to confirming the next meeting.
The key to following up is persistence, 44% of all salespeople give up after one follow-up. This is crazy! Whilst we don’t ask that you stalk your customer and call them 10 times a day, don’t just give up after one unanswered call. Set up a follow-up cadence that works for you and stick to it. We also recommend setting aside a good chunk of time every day to focus on only follow-ups, this way you won’t be able to forget to do it.
8. It’s too early to sell
While prospecting may be the first step in selling, it is not selling! Prospecting is all about researching and sourcing the right leads for your product. A prospect only enters the sales funnel after they have been qualified, once you have qualified your lead, then the selling can begin. It is important not to sell to your lead before they are qualified because they may get turned off by your pushiness, you need to first build a relationship with your lead before you start selling to them. Additionally, if you start selling to a lead before they have been qualified, you could be wasting a lot of time, resources and money on someone who will never actually convert into a customer.
9. Host your very own webinar
One of the best sales prospecting methods that might take you by surprise is the use of webinars. Earlier we spoke about the benefits of being a thought leader, why not use this to your advantage and create an awesome webinar. Webinars are a great place to score leads because you know right off the bat that the attendees have an interest in the topic you’re presenting on. We recommend partnering with like-minded organizations from within your industry and hosting a webinar on a mutually benefiting topic.
Hot tip: end your webinar with a poll and ask your audience yes/no statements like, “I am ready for a demo”, or “I would like to learn more about (company name).” Follow up with these audience members who answered yes and boom! They’re your new hot qualified leads!
10. Use your expertise to answer Q&A forums
Participating in online forums such as Quora, Reddit, Facebook Groups, and LinkedIn Groups is a fantastic way to find prospects. These forums allow you to educate your audiences on best practices from within your industry, eventually educating them on your product. By joining these platforms and reading the forums, you’ll get to know a lot more about your prospects, and what pain points they need addressing.
Once you’re ready, start chiming in on some conversations and answer questions, and be sure to leave some sort of ‘next step’ at the bottom of your answer. For example, if someone asks “How can I improve my sales prospecting methods?”, you could answer with five methods from a blog post you wrote, then link the readers to your blog post to read the rest. This is going to generate more traffic to your site and help you source more qualified prospects.
Prospect like the wind, child
We hope you found these sales prospecting methods helpful, and that you’re feeling confident to get out there and kick your prospecting game into high-gear. And if you’d like some extra tips and pep-talks, here are some helpful articles that are going to help you skyrocket your prospecting and land more deals than Jordan Belfort.