Prospecting is, undoubtedly, one of the most difficult aspects of working in sales. It’s like pushing a boulder up a hill, except sometimes the boulder doesn’t budge at all and other times it gets mad and yells at you. Salespeople who learn how to prospect consistently and effectively are usually the ones who exceed their quotas and receive nice commission checks – it’s that important.
One of the ways to improve the results of your prospecting is through sheer willpower: making tons of contacts and keeping your foot on the gas. The other way – and they’re not mutually exclusive – is to increase your response rates, thereby becoming more efficient.
We’ve decided to focus on the latter, and have put together six tips to help you increase your response rates. All of these can apply both to email and phone prospecting.
1. Personalize your message
Using the same canned message is a surefire way to get ignored, as most prospects are smart enough to see it coming a mile away. Take the time to research who you’re reaching out to, then craft a compelling message that’s unique to that person. While it doesn’t automatically guarantee a response, a personalized message significantly increases the likelihood that it gets read (or listened to) instead of automatically being deleted.
2. Communicate via the prospect’s preferred medium
Far too often, we choose what we’re comfortable with instead of what the prospect is comfortable with. This is a mistake. If a prospect prefers to text, then you should text. If they want to use Google Chat, then make sure that’s set up on your computer. And yes, sometimes, you may need to meet with someone face-to-face. The point is to make it easier for the prospect to buy. Not only that, but if you’re willing to do something another salesperson isn’t willing to do, then you’ve just given yourself a low-cost competitive advantage.
3. Be unique
Prospects are being constantly bombarded with messages from salespeople motivated to make a deal. At some point, prospects tune things out, especially if the messages are similar – which, let’s be honest, they usually are. This is why it’s so important to find ways to set yourself apart, whether it’s through your presentation, your approach, or your offering. Novelty can take on many forms, but before reaching out, you should always ask yourself: What is unique about my message?
4. Use conversational syntax
As tempting as it might be to use formal templates or scripts when reaching out, you should wipe the robotic cadence from your brain and speak like a person. This is often easier said than done, since we get so used to making the same pitch repeatedly until it becomes almost involuntary. However, you’ll be shocked at how much more effective an informal message can be, because prospects (like all humans) are wired to respond and pay attention to natural conversation while tuning out an obvious pitch.
5. Include a clear call to action
You can say all the right things, but if you aren’t clear about your “ask”, then you’re wasting your time. At the end of every voicemail, text message, or email, you should clearly outline exactly what you’re asking the prospect to do, even if you give them one or two options. If you fail to do this, then don’t be upset when you don’t get a response, because technically, you didn’t really ask for one.
6. Focus on the prospect’s needs
Once again, everything comes down to the prospect. From your perspective, the goal is to get a response so that you can make a pitch, close a deal, get paid, and make your next mortgage payment. But your perspective, unfortunately, doesn’t really matter. The prospect is the one whose needs need to be met in sufficient fashion to get to a signed contract. Therefore, the focus of all of your efforts, starting with your outreach and continuing through to closing, need to be the prospect’s needs. If you keep this simple fact in mind, you’re likely to see higher response rates than you ever expected.