Is it easy to prospect? No. Can you get better prospecting results? Absolutely. You are more likely to get the results you want when you think strategically about your next prospecting telephone call.
What do you want to happen? Set your objective.
You first have to know what result you want from the call in order to plan your call. One possible outcome is to get your prospect to agree to meet with you. You will not be selling during the telephone call with that objective. What you want to hear is a reason to meet.
Always be listening for opportunities to say that you have a reason to meet. One instance would be when you hear your prospect say something like, “I’m looking to (do something ie.upgrade my production equipment).” That’s when you get to say, “Sounds as if we have a reason to meet. I have my calendar out. What works for you?” You get to accomplish your prospecting objective and move on to your next selling task.
Develop the questions to ask.
How are you going to start the telephone call? Start with a one or two sentence summary of the last time you spoke if you’ve spoken with the prospect before. Then establish why you’re calling before you ask a question to get your prospect talking.
You could say, “I wanted to tell you about some of the results we got with another customer to increase productivity” is one way to establish why you’re calling. A question could be, “What have you been doing to increase productivity?
Connect the dots with questions.
Let’s say one of your objectives is to get an introduction to another senior manager in a different department. You have to get the conversation going in the direction where you can make a comment that it makes sense for you to be introduced to the other senior manager.
What you are doing is connecting the dots with your questions. You might ask about your prospect’s work with other departments. Follow with a question about the expertise in the other department. If you hear that the department lacks your expertise, you can say, “I think I might have something to offer them. Would you be able to introduce me to the department manager?”
Have as many questions ready to guide the conversation in the areas that you want to make your comments.
Assess your results.
Be ready to assess which questioning strategies get you the best results. You may find that you need to improve your introduction or ask different questions. When you hear too many times, “I’m not sure I understand the question” know that you need to ask it differently. You are not communicating clearly.
Prospecting can be a challenge for many sales professionals when it’s done as a random event. With preparation, your next prospecting call just might uncover your next customer.