Marketers always open new relationships. However, opening meaningful relationships depends largely on your ability to prospect. You can follow these easy steps to get better at prospecting and boost your online business.
Turn off the Distractions
Prospecting requires concentration and a lot of focus. As a result, you will need to turn off the Internet, turn off your email, and turn off your Smart Phone and Focus.
Tell your friends you have a new found discipline and that you need their support, promise to catch up
with them later. Hang a sign on your door saying “Do Not Disturb! Prospecting!” .If you don’t have a door, use string and hang the sign over your desk.
Poor prospecting is as a result of two major things. The first is not spending enough time prospecting, the other is ineffective prospecting. This mostly comes down to language choices. It bores on what you say when prospecting.
There is no substitute for scripts!
“But wait, I am a professional salesperson and I can’t sound like I am using a script!” you’d say! That’s fine but you can’t sound like someone that your prospect isn’t interested in meeting either. First you have to recognize that you are already using a script. The words that you use when prospecting are choices that are comfortable to you because you have rehearsed them. They are comfortable to you because you have them memorized, not because you are reading them. But this doesn’t necessarily mean they are the best language choices.
Your effectiveness is improved by choosing carefully the words to use, making observations about what is working and what isn’t working. This requires an awareness, focus, and discipline. It will also allow you to experiment with language choices to see what is most effective. So therefore, write scripts for each of the prospecting methods you use, write responses to the common objections you hear. Rehearse them, and if you are part of a great sales team, do this together and rehearse them together. Commit the best language to memory and replace the unwritten and
ineffective scripts you are already using.
It is very important that you prospect daily! Marketers acquire new clients, and to do so, they necessarily open relationships. Prospecting is the art of opening new relationships. The new business opportunities that later turn into sales are initially identified through prospecting, making prospecting the lifeblood of any sales business.
The first way to improve your prospecting results is to acknowledge its importance to your sales results and treat it accordingly. Improving your prospecting results begins with setting aside the time and the energy to prospect (both online and offline) each and every day.
Write a weekly plan making time to prospect every day. It is best to set aside the time first thing in the morning to ensure it gets done before the world makes other demands of you.
Nurture Relationships over Time
Even when you use all of the ideas above, you are still going to hear a “no.” You are going to hear it a lot. But relationships, including business relationships, are built over time and are never a quick fix. However, your consistency and unrelenting pursuit of your dream clients is part of a longer-term plan for success.
Consistency here means that these prospects hear from you more than sporadically. It means they hear
from you frequently and with all the predictability of the Sun rising each morning.
Your calls, your thank you cards, your emails, your white papers, your surveys, your studies, your newspaper and web clippings, your constant attempts to find a way to create some value before claiming any all add up over time.
Some of the best relationships and the biggest deals will take the longest time to win, and your consistent nurturing of these relationships will open opportunities for you over time. This approach proves that you are not going to disappear like so many of your peers, that you are truly interested in working with them, that you are a professional who executes well, and that you are determined.
These are some of the attributes that people look for in online marketers and partners. Write a nurturing plan. What will you do to create value for your dream clients even before they decide to set an appointment with you? How often will you call? How often will they receive something from you? What will they receive? What will it say about you? How will it create trust?
Use Every Method Available
To prospect well, you need to focus your time and energy on what works best for you, but not exclusively. For example, If you are great at cold calling, you should absolutely focus on cold calling. But that doesn’t mean that you should never use email marketing, inbound marketing, networking, trade shows and conferences, direct mail, social networking, or referrals. You should include all of these tools in your arsenal.
Make a list of all of the methods that you can and will use to prospect. Plan the time that you will set aside for each method and how many prospects you will gain from your effort. For example, you might commit to attending one networking event per month with the result that you acquire two new prospects from each networking event. Measure these results and focus on what generates the greatest return on your investment of time, but remember that your prospects may have their own opinion on how they best like to be approached, and you shouldn’t exclude any method.
Focus on the Outcome
Effectiveness in prospecting is improved by simply focusing on the outcome. This means that you don’t allow your prospecting to turn into a needs analysis, a presentation, or a discussion about the merits of your product or service. It means you apply a laser-like focus on scheduling the appointment.
The reason some online marketers struggle is focusing on the outcome of an appointment and often, they slip into the sales mode. This is so because they feel the need to prove that they can create value for the prospect during their prospecting activity (wrong!). Prospecting has a very different goal, namely, the opening of the exploration of the possibility that you might be able to create value and do something together. Selling, at this point, is premature.
There is no list to make, no plan to write here. Just know that a successful outcome here is almost and always an appointment. It wouldn’t matter how much you liked them or how much they liked you if you didn’t schedule an appointment.
Get Good at Cold Calling
There is too much to write here about how to get good at cold calling. But it is important that you have it in your repertoire, and that you build your competency picking up the phone and scheduling an appointment.
Cold calling is still one of the fastest ways to schedule appointments and to open new relationships, and the very best marketers are great at cold calling. They are also the very best at all other forms of prospecting. Start cold calling.