"My inside sales team needs to do a better job at generating targeted leads but trying to get them to prospect is like pulling teeth. Any suggestions?"
I remember like it was yesterday when I started working for a company that I was really excited about, and on day one, my new boss told me I would need to prospect for leads. My enthusiasm was immediately replaced with dread and fear.
Closers don't usually like spending time "prospecting" and just hearing the word "prospecting" turned my stomach sour.
And then he taught me one of the most valuable secrets to sales success:
How to Identify Your Targeted Audience through Prospecting
Something I feared and despised turned into one of my greatest assets, and that, combined with my own unique process on selling by phone
, had me leading the sales pack in short order.
Here is what he taught me:
STEP 1: Target prospects that are already spending money to generate the type of results you offer.
When most sales people start prospecting, they contact random people and try to convince those prospects that they need to start doing XYZ. This is a huge waste of time.
When my new boss opened my eyes with easy to follow prospecting tips such as "call those who are already spending money" it just made total sense - and I felt a little "duh" moment - but nobody ever shared that simple concept with me before. All of my previous managers simply said "smile, dial and good luck".
So, how do you target prospects that are already spending money trying to achieve the results you offer?
Here's one example:
Since we sold online advertising, marketing and lead services to high-end car dealers, my boss gave me two high-end car dealer magazines. He said to go through these magazines and TAG all of the FULL PAGE AD dealers and ignore those with half or quarter page ads. His theory was that the ones with the full page ads already knew the value of advertising and the small page ads were prospects that either had small budgets or were just testing the waters and that I wouldn't want to waste my time trying to convince them to up their budget or convince them that going bigger is better.
Ok so you don't sell advertising. I get it. But the theory still works across all platforms.
Let's look at a few different industries. Let's say you sell:
- Office cleaning services - Square feet of office space (do you want to target small offices or would you rather call clients that have large / multiple offices?)
- Shipping / Logistics - Number of shipments per week / month. (Would you rather land a new account that ships once in a while or tons everyday day / week?)
- Heating and Cooling AC / Supplies - Do you want to try and sell to a mom and pop AC repairperson or an AC heating and Cooling company that has 5 different locations? Top AC companies advertise on the radio, print and tv. Target those companies to resell your products.
- SEO Service - Look at those doing the PAID Google Adwords. They are spending money to drive leads. If they could spend less money getting into the top organic section of Google, they will love it.
Are you starting to get the picture? If you are going to seek and find your best prospects, you have to know what you are looking for, rather than simply smile and dial.
STEP 2: VERTICALS
Next, my new boss taught me how to go after verticals that we helped - make a list and then call them to let them know what we are currently doing for XYZ Company to get in the door.
So for example, if we had a few Ferrari dealers using our service, it wasn't hard to build a list of all the Ferrari dealers in the US (and their sales ranking order) and add them to the prospecting hit list.
And the opening value statement was easy and effective too:
"Hi (PROSPECTS NAME) this is (YOUR NAME) with (YOUR COMPANY NAME). Reason for my call is we're helping (Ferrari dealers 1, 2 and 3) move cars off the lot by generating an average of 10% more pre-qualified leads per month..."
What GM of a car dealership is going to say "No, thanks" after hearing that?
OK so, so far we have two techniques for prospecting:
Target prospects that are already spending money for services that will generate the type of results you provide.
Go vertical. There's a saying "sell to common folk and go broke. Sell to a niche and get rich."
The third technique I was taught was WHEN to prospect.
Now, in the scenario I've been using (me starting at a new company and being told to prospect) I was told to NOT get on the phone and sell until I had my prospecting list built and ready to roll. My manager shared with me that most sales people waste their "selling time" prospecting. Meaning, instead of making dials, they are "researching" etc.
I was instructed to generate a list ranging from 200 to 500 prospects that matched the criteria I was given, before getting on the phone.
Now I know most of you reading this are already deep into the employment phase of your job and are wondering what you should do.
The answer is simple.
Once you've identified what your top targeted audience looks like and where to find them, prospect before work, after work or once all of your calls for the day have been completed.
One of the worst things you can do is prospect for new leads in the morning because while you are researching for leads, a more organized, motivated and determined sales person that works for your competition is calling your prospects while you are researching for them.
Michael Pedone - SalesBuzz.com's CSS: Chief Sales Scientist