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10 Prospecting Tips to Create Lasting Relationships in 2014

We talk quite a bit in the sales world about relationships and the power they have to derive long-term business. Simultaneously we all know the pains of early prospecting – seasoned veterans commonly avoid it and early professionals often despise it.

 

 

However, with the proper approach to prospecting, you can turn this process into a relationship-building machine that carries you through your career. Below are 10 prospecting tips to convert more prospects into opportunities.

 

1. Utilize Email First

The cold call has its place, but a great read by Aaron Ross and Marylou Tyler entitled Predictable Revenue discusses how Salesforce.com’s early inside sales staff utilized an e-mail first, call second approach to prospecting. By doing this, you can maximize your team’s efforts.

2. Think Small

Contact ten leads ten times before contacting 100 leads one time. This is something we hear frequently, but temptation sways us for mass. Focus on quality and depth before all else.

3. Find Relationships Into The Company

It is preferable to be “referred” down and prospect high. This is another great point Ross and Tyler make in their book. If you can’t get ahold of the key decision maker, don’t give up – find another avenue in. If you have a clear vision of the accounts you are targeting, then find a way in… It usually won’t be through a welcomed and opened front door.

4. Get Targeted

In-line with thinking small, narrowly define your target market. Even if you are provided leads across a range of interests and territories, narrow in and find commonality. The more you can speak the language of your target customer, the better you’ll perform and the more depth of relationships you’ll establish long-term.

5. It’s Qualification Calling, Not Sales Calling

 

If you were looking for a date on a Friday night, would you be satisfied with any “yes” that you got? Rather, you’d work through relationships to find a suitable match, and use a first date as a prospecting session to assess fit. Sales prospecting is the same – the first connections are about assessment on both ends, and anything else will make you sound desperate and fall through in the long run.

6. Keep It Short

Whether email, phone, etc, keep it short. Don’t bombard a prospect with all your information… just get straight to the point.

7. Be Honest With Your Questions (it is refreshing)

“Did I catch you at a good time?”, “I’m doing a bit of research as your company is a target account, may I ask you a few quick questions?” “How is your sales team organized?” If you don’t think about selling, and just honest prospecting and learning, you’ll have much more success.

8. Don’t Leave Scheduling to Email 

You just got done with a great prospecting call, and said you would touch base on a next step. Problem!!! Don’t leave the potential of a next step up in the air – firm it up while you have the prospect on the phone, live. This will save you both tremendous time, and, in addition, it is difficult to connect with a person, so make sure you do not leave the next date for follow up in email.

9. It Is About The Buyer’s Cycle, Not Your Sales Cycle

Try to cram deals in right before a quota is a great way to kill your credibility. Don’t use gimmicks. Be persistent and persuasive without overdoing it. Today’s buyers have great radars for this.

10. Use A Mirror

Ever put a mirror in front of you while going on a sales call? You’ll instantly see how much smiling, sitting up straight, and protruding confidence will carry through in your voice. Be a person people love to talk with, and you’ll be a salesperson with a nice Rolodex.

 

So there are ten. Are there more? Certainly. Nonetheless, these are a few areas that deserve recognition for an organization looking to build their sales pipeline or venture into a new market, as well as keep yourself with a sound network you and your organization can build on. 

 Written by Jeff Reekers,

Marketing Director at Datahug

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