“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail” – Benjamin Franklin
Take heed of these wise words, especially when you are creating your prospecting plan. Don’t have a plan? It’s easy to put a simple plan together and to strategize how you are going to prospect effectively and efficiently. You could be the most skilled, knowledgeable and talented person in your respective field, but not being prepared would significantly put you at a disadvantage.
Know Your Prospect
When you make that initial call phone call and especially when you get the face-to-face meeting, you want to capitalize on the opportunity by being able to hyper-focus your pitch. Meticulously research your prospect before you make the call. Really make an effort to know and understand their business, their pain points, and how your product or service might be a good fit for them. Find out if they own or are involved in multiple business ventures. Find out who their business associates are and possibly leverage those relationships as well. Doing your due diligence allows you to have a more meaningful initial conversation either by phone or in person.
Leverage Your Current Relationships
You probably already have some really good clients. These good clients are your low hanging fruit. Ideally, you would want to find clients just like them. Doing some research on these clients can reveal connections that you didn’t know you had. They may be involved in other business ventures. And within those other business ventures are partners and associates that that are potential new clients. (Find out how to use public data as insight for prospecting). Connecting those businesses, partners and associates can give you new insight and warm leads for which you won’t have to ask for a referral.
Have a Script
Be prepared with a script. Don’t read directly from the script, but have an idea of what you are going to say. Having a pre-written script, along with the knowledge you’ve acquired about your prospect will help you to better align your products and services to their needs. You could always wing it, but having a plan of action and anticipating any objections will help you to better direct the course of the conversation and keep the dialogue going.
As part of your script, you should know how your are going to overcome objections. Objections are an inevitable part of sales. An objection is better than a straight up “no” and allows you to begin a conversation to address your prospect’s issue. Think about the most common objections you have received in the past, and articulate a response to that objection. You really want to delve into the reasons behind the objection, by asking open-ended questions, solving their problem and showing them the value of your product or service.
Part of being prepared, is being organized. Many companies utilize a CRM, like Salesforce. But a CRM is only as good as the data that you put into it. If you don’t utilize it, it won’t help you. Use this tool to keep your prospecting efforts organized, so that you can streamline your efforts and manage your time more effectively. Don’t haphazardly call prospects by conducting a flurry of phone calls one day, but then not follow up, or call again for months. Know who you are going to call, and when you are going to call them. Set aside some time in your day, just for calls. If they aren’t ready to speak with you, and ask you to call them again after a period of time, note that, and call them back at the specified time. Track your calls in your CRM so you can systematically evaluate your efforts and adjust as needed. Your efforts should be consistent, and being consistent requires preparation and organization.