Let me start with a question: Have you received a phone call from a sales person who stumbles around, doesn’t really know who you are, what your company does and starts rambling about some product/service offering that is not at all relevant to your needs?
I’m sure you have, and that can certainly be annoying! That sales person didn’t do her/his “homework”! He/she might have chosen your company not fully understanding if their service offering is a good fit.
In a consultative sales environment, doing your research and getting prepared for a call is as essential as actually picking up the phone and dialing. Doing your “homework” is just as important because the preparation will help you once the person you are calling on picks up the phone.
Being informed as a sales person means adding value to a conversation. It also puts you, the sales person in a position where you don’t sound like you are dialing for dollars.
Whether you are calling on a new prospect or existing clients, or trying to expand your business, research and preparation are key.
Prospecting for new business
“Don’t try to boil the ocean! Be targeted in your approach and choose your prospects accordingly!”
Develop your prospect Avatar
- Make sure you know and fully understand what you are offering entails, and in what ways it is beneficial to your prospective clients
- Identify why your service or product is unique, or superior
- Research and locate companies that would potentially benefit from your offering and where you see a possible fit
Identify Qualifiers and Disqualifiers
For example, of you own a small law firm in Pennsylvania specializing in contract and trademark law, and you are not licensed outside of the state, it will be easier to determine who your prospects could be.
If, however, you are a service provider and your offering could be sold without geographic limitations, you will need to find other qualifiers to sharpen your efforts. Here are some qualifiers that can be used:
- Geography (you may not want your sales people flying all over the country)
- # of employees
- Public vs. Private sector
- Website presence (websites are the store fronts of any organization and a lot can be learned from the way a company presents itself on-line)
A potential disqualifier could be a company that only has one location, in case you are offering a service that fits better with organizations that are spread out (e.g. workflow management)
Don’t play the numbers game
One of the biggest mistakes in sales is to play the numbers game. Many sales people think (encouraged by their leaders) that more sales calls equals more revenue. It really doesn’t. The more focused you are as a sales person, the more you will find out about your prospects and the higher the likelihood that you will have meaningful conversations that will get you closer to your goal. And your goal is always to move the sale along, not to have good conversations only.
Good conversations = Revenue – Not always
Having good conversations equals activity, not revenue. Having good conversations with prospects that will buy your service offering equals revenue.
The more research we do before picking up the phone, or writing an e-mail, the easier it will be to start a dialogue. Why? Because people want to feel special, no matter what their title or position is.
In a consultative sales environment, we don’t need to reach out to every single company in the universe. Usually, our universe is a lot smaller than we think once we start researching our ideal prospects.
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