The Green Sheet Online Edition
September 26, 2016 • Issue 16:09:02
Focus prospecting to stir attention, interest, desire
No customers means no business. No prospecting typically means no customers. Thus, in the majority of enterprises, no prospecting means no business. Indeed, in payments, a merchant level salesperson's skill, or lack thereof, at prospecting makes the critical difference between having a healthy merchant portfolio that leads to dreams attained and having a stagnant or shrinking portfolio that doesn't provide a sufficient income to meet basic needs.
"Your sales success depends largely on how well and how many ways you prospect," wrote Paul H. Green in Good Selling!SM: The Basics. "You must keep yourself well supplied with people to call. An artful mix of prospecting will make you successful."
John Doerr of RAIN Group, said, "The goal of prospecting is to create interest and convert that interest into a conversation."
Who to target
Green added that a prospect must meet three basic qualifications:
- The need for the service
- Authority to make decisions
- Most importantly, the ability to sign a check and the service agreement
Green also pointed out that most salespeople don't enjoy prospecting and thus don't spend enough time doing it. He feels it helps to break the sales cycle into the following steps to remember how essential prospecting is:
Where to focus
Jill Konrath, author of SNAP Selling, said focus is a key element of prospecting. The more focused you are the stronger your message will be and better it will resonate, she said. She listed three ways to narrow focus for maximum success during a campaign, as follows. Focus on:
- Certain types of customers: Put together a campaign targeting law firms, for example, or school districts or maybe midsize manufacturing firms.
- Certain types of decision makers: Immerse yourself in the challenges faced by HR directors or general managers, for example, and contact them.
- One of your products or services: Instead of trying to sell your entire suite of products and services, spotlight one of your offerings. Determine what its value proposition is and what problems it addresses for your prospects.
Another aspect of maximizing prospecting efforts is timing based on seasonal changes. "This idea may seem elementary, but it stems from an advanced sales concept," wrote Tom Waters and Ben Abel in "Pushing the limits of sales seasonality," he Green Sheet, Jan. 26, 2015, issue 15:01:02. "By rotating your prospecting verticals based on likelihood for best timing, you can effectively maximize productivity throughout the year without losing any steam."
Ultimately, Doerr said, "If you are the one who can capture attention and stimulate interest and desire, you will be the front-runner, you will shape the prospect's understanding of the importance of solving a particular problem, and you will be in the position to persuade them into action.
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