In prospecting, the goal is to create interest, convert that interest into relationships, and successfully manage these connections to produce meaningful transactions in the future.
So, what is a good prospector and what do they do?
As with any successful relationship, prospecting entails developing good habits throughout the whole process.
You do not just nurture it at the beginning, nor do you simply wait for it to continue being productive at later stages. Be it after great starts, or maybe after the first, second, and maybe hundredth “no,” consistent tenacity in pursuing profitable partnerships, and fierce loyalty to the company‘s vision, will ensure a healthy connection is maintained, and cultivate a robust business image for even more sales leads.
To help salespeople keep in good prospecting shape, here are 5 healthy habits to successful prospecting:
Targeting the right prospects
Successful sales prospectors know that the initial and crucial phase of their work is researching extensively on their ideal client. It is best to be as specific as possible when determining the criteria upon which your prospecting activity will be based.
Get to know who your happiest, most regular customers are and deconstruct their criteria from there. Ask yourself, “What demographics do they have in common?”
Once you have determined this relevant baseline, scout avenues to maximize your interaction with this target audience.
Go beyond your individual clientele and look for prospects in companies and organizations. Establish relationships with the right people in these companies. If possible, go straight to the influencers who make decisions, for more direct connections.
Constantly update yourself on the trends of your target market and industry. Using your influencer contacts, keep tabs on emerging markets for more possible prospects, or even diversification of prospects.
Planning your prospecting activity
It does not end in working the right market, however. Now you must strategically plan how to approach these markets.
In planning your prospecting activity, one should start with end goals in mind. These are plans that are to be achieved within specific timeframes – a day, a week, a month, and even a year. These goals should be kept simple and measurable – an established number of prospects met with daily, a target number of scheduled talks within the month, etc.
Once the set goals are established, one should look at the tasks each activity needs so that these goals are hit.
Consider the assets that will come in to prospecting play. Databases of information should be kept updated and accurate. Scripts need to be developed, improved and custom-made to suit the criteria’s interests, needs, and language of comfort.
These methods of prospecting should be thoroughly thought about and aimed at the right criteria of clients. Depending on your prospect base, figure out the regularity, intensity, etc, of these prospecting activities.
Keeping tabs on your team
Once prospecting tasks have been carried out and business relationships are beginning to be established, it is always best to follow through. For prospectors who work with a team, data tracking is important.
A competent sales team should be able to track – where do leads come from, and what stage is a prospect in, in the buying process? These, and other similar questions, should be answered, to track productivity and efficiency.
If there’s new information about what offers the prospects and leads are interested in, then that can be very helpful. At the very least, you can see where you stand in terms of your stated goals. Plus, this tracking can be used further down the line, in revisiting targets and plans.
If your prospecting finger is on the button, then it will become easier for you to adapt goals, targets, schemes, etc.
There is no immediate success in prospecting–but if it is planned well, and the campaign carefully customized to your ideal customer’s standards, you can expect new connections and sales conversions on a regular basis. Knowing how to be an excellent salesperson is about understanding the importance of persistence.
To ensure consistent productivity, prospecting has to be done relentlessly, no matter the outcome. Sometimes, it should even be done more tenaciously, in the face of negative feedback.
A typical sales prospector is aware that rejection is part of the process. A wise prospector however, also knows that these can be turned around over time, and with the proper approach. Prospecting should be done on a regular basis, keeping the end goal clear in mind, and not losing heart in the process.
When prospecting leads to positive results, it is then best to dive in and capitalize on this favourable angle. This lead could be a source of more sales, and hopefully another sales lead.
This customer could connect to other customers with similar demographics, or even be a part of an organization that caters to this specific sale. Developing a habit of regularly maximizing leads allows prospectors to guarantee that these avenues are fully explored, and do not get lost in the panorama of the overall process.
Allowing prospectors to cultivate these good habits warrants that sales leads are productively generated, followed up on, and developed. Managers who know how to be successful in sales understand that prospecting is in the core of a healthy sales team and everyone should be prospecting.