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5 Efficient Strategies for Sales Prospecting
Here’s the difficult truth. If you’re sales prospecting the way you did ten years ago, or even five, you’re likely missing out on opportunities. The game’s changing, and salespeople are getting cut from the equation.
Unless they’re smart.
The rules of engagement have altered, putting power into the consumer’s hands. The internet has empowered buyers to research products and services on their own, guiding their own buyer’s journey. The information they need to explore their needs and evaluate candidates is accessible and plentiful. Most of them have a pretty good idea of who they want to buy from before they ever reach out to a salesperson.
Unless a salesperson contacts them first. Prospects are open to discussions earlier in their process, but it’s up to you to find them and be available to help. Far from being an imposition, an early, positive sales interaction can strongly skew the scales in your favor.
Prospecting isn’t dead. It’s just done differently. In this article, you’ll find five modern strategies for finding prospects efficiently.
SEE ALSO: How to be Great at Sales
BECOME A TRUSTED ADVISOR
When customers are doing their own research, they don’t want to talk to salespeople. Salespeople are the antithesis of a self-directed buyer’s journey. They’re biased, offering a view potentially rosier than the truth.
But just because prospects don’t want to talk to salespeople doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in help. They need access to good information. You can supply that with a robust content marketing strategy.
Consumers want a single source for answers to difficult questions. If you’re a subject matter expert (and you should be) you can play that role.
Strong salespeople don’t sell, they help, and they’re generous with both their time and their knowledge. When you become a trusted advisor, you’ll gain more prospects and loyal customers, and those people will be more likely to refer you to others.
TAKE A DATA-DRIVEN APPROACH
Prospecting is a numbers game. The more leads you can get into your funnel, the more often you’ll close. Your next big opportunity could be hiding anywhere. Take a data-driven approach and help qualify your prospects more precisely, increasing the efficiency of your outreach efforts.
Work Out Your Ideal Customer
If everyone qualifies as a prospect, then you end up prospecting the planet — not very efficient. Instead, examine your current clients, looking for patterns. Which kinds of companies are your largest accounts? Which ones tend to fail? Are their industries or company types that are easier to sell? Which more commonly fizzle?
Compile your ideal customer profile and then design all of your outreach material to target that group of people. You’ll hit more often while spending less time because you’re more likely to encounter interested parties. Then analyze where these sorts of potential customers spend time. Prioritize outreach on platforms where the lion’s share of your ideal customers exist.
LEVERAGE HANDWRITTEN DIRECT MAIL
Sometimes time-tested solutions are the best option, particularly when they’ve been improved dramatically with modern technology.
Case in point — handwritten direct mail. People have been using handwritten letters to get a quick response for hundreds of years. Today, they’ve become exceedingly rare, dramatically enhancing their value. Now, when a handwritten envelope arrives in someone’s mailbox, they open them immediately. Their curiosity overwhelms them. So much so that handwritten direct mail enjoys a 99% open rate!
In the past, handwriting hundreds or thousands of cards and matching envelopes was unrealistic. The time and labor involved was too steep to make the strategy workable. Printed direct mail was common, while its far more effective sibling, the handwritten mailer, was absent.
That changed with Simply Noted. Thousands of handwritten cards are a Thursday in our office. We’ve built a fleet of automated handwriting machines that utilize real ballpoint pens and sophisticated smart fonts to create a handwriting experience that feels entirely authentic. You can create highly personalized handwritten campaigns as quickly as you would an email campaign.
You can use many of the same marketing automation packages you leverage to create digital campaigns. We offer potent integrations to automate every aspect of your handwritten direct mail campaigns.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF TECHNOLOGY
As we mentioned earlier, your customers are already looking for you. Your goal should be to intercept them and be the first through the door. To do that, you need to be present where they’re doing research.
Consumers are increasingly turning to social media to find reviews, recommendations, and product information. Establish a healthy presence on all of the major providers, like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, as well as any niche platforms that cater to your ideal customer.
Customers are willing to go it alone but happy for help if it’s easy to access. When prospects send questions or make comments, respond quickly and thoroughly. Be quick with helpful information.
Research shows that consumers want quick access to common answers and a ready portal for more information. Chatbots provide a way for prospects to interact with your website that also captures data for later use. What you learn from those sessions can qualify leads and design elaborate handwritten card and email campaigns.
Your prospects want to talk to you on their terms. Forcing them to make a phone call when they prefer live chat could scare them off. Vendors offer multi and omnichannel communication packages that bring every conceivable channel into one dashboard, making certain that you’re there when your prospects are ready to blossom.
WORK YOUR LEADS ALREADY!
Okay, not everything has changed. The dull task of working your lists still has value. Your leads are a prospect hatchery. If you give them attention and nurture them, they can blossom into prospects and eventually business!
Keep in mind the conversational nature of a soft-sell approach. You don’t want to come off as some kind of sales robot automatically repeating memorized sales patter. Be friendly and approachable. Ask your contacts questions and really listen to their answers.
Don’t try to sell them. Learn their issues and then formulate tailored solutions. Have a conversation and put them at the center. Done well, your lead won’t realize you’re selling to them. The conversation will feel more like a helpful discussion that ends with them making a purchase.
Don’t forget to follow up regularly. These calls don’t have to take long, though it’s a good sign if they do! The goal is to keep your prospects engaged. They may not be ready today. They might not even be looking. But where they are ready three months later, you want to make sure you’re still reaching out.