Prospecting. It’s a huge hurdle for many a sales rep.
And while nearly 40% of sales leaders claim best practices regarding lead generation so their salespeople can prospect more effectively, over 50% of that group of sales leaders admit that prospecting itself is a top barrier to reaching goals.
Undoubtedly, prospecting is an important (possibly the MOST important) piece of the sales process. And while you might not struggle to get prospects into your pipeline, engaging with them effectively is another story.
Today, we’ll go over ways that you (and your team) can more effectively engage with prospects, resulting in increased sales.
Platforms to Use for Prospecting
The most important thing to remember about sales prospecting is that you should never feel limited to a single platform. That’s because experts have said that varying numbers of touchpoints are your best route to selling.
And—newsflash for sales reps who spend hours per day on the phone—touchpoints are more than phone calls! A touchpoint can also be a weekly check in email, a postcard that comes in the mail, or even commenting on a prospect’s social media.
Consider these platforms (beyond the phone) the next time you prospect:
Making it easy to form a unique connection or connect with numerous customers at once, regular email campaigns containing educational or informational content will help you to stay in touch with prospects and build a relationship. This can lead to trust, loyalty, and even increased sales.
Surprising news! 29% of direct mail leads to a return on investment, ensuring it’s still an excellent way to connect with leads. A flexible way to prospect, direct mail is an excellent way to round out a multi-channel campaign and remind prospects you exist.
Social Media Advertising
Facebook™ has over 2 billion active users. But don’t count out Instagram™ (800 million users) on Instagram™, or LinkedIn® (500 million members). And your ideal prospective customers are likely on at least one of those channels. Advertising through social media is the perfect way to prospect without having to pick up a phone.
6 ways to more effectively engage prospects
You can choose to engage with prospects over the phone or through social media, email, direct mail, or some form of advertising.
But no matter what, you want to position your product or service as the obvious choice your prospects should make—without having to say so aloud. Because today’s buyers don’t want to be SOLD. They want to come to purchasing decisions themselves.
In selling through a less “in your face” approach you better engage your prospects. Here are some ideas to get you started.
Send something of value
Rely on proof of success
Send something of value
As a sales person, it comes naturally to sell. But today’s prospects don’t want to be sold. They want to be educated. So, the next time you look to connect, add value. Send an email to say hello that introduces prospects to your blog. Or advertise your free demo. Send a direct mail piece encouraging prospects to sign up for your free upcoming workshop.
Prospects are smart enough to make their own purchase decisions. It isn’t your job to sell them, it’s your job to help them see why your product or service is superior and let them conclude on their own that buying from you is ideal. In demonstrating value through your contact, you win trust from your prospect—and this may result in meeting (or exceeding) sales goals.
Rely on proof of success
Today’s prospects don’t want someone who tells them to trust them. They want to see examples of success for themselves. To engage savvy prospects effectively, you need to arm yourself with testimonials, case studies, blogs, and general statistics that demonstrate success.
Take screenshots of great reviews or ask past customers for testimonials. 88% of consumers trust user reviews as much as personal recommendations. And include that proof of success wherever you sell.
Personalize the experience of prospects by demonstrating that they aren’t just a sale. Tailoring your communication—from you scripts to your email marketing, direct mail pieces, and online ads—to their taste, budget, and level of experience with your product/service is an easy way to garner engagement. Referred to as segmenting, this essentially means sorting your prospects into groups. It can apply to email lists, mailing lists, or even lists that you call directly or advertise to.
It’s amazing what you can learn by listening. And there are many ways to listen that don’t include a phone. From an online survey to a question thrown out on social media, today’s prospects like to feel heard, understood, and valued. Rather than assuming you know what your prospect needs (admittedly difficult when they’ve shown interest in your product/service) try to dig deeper with questions. Asking good questions will help you come to better understand your prospects including how they think, feel, and make decisions. Some questions might be about the solution they’re currently using. Or what they didn’t like about a past solution. Find out what made them choose one product/service over another and what competitors they’re considering.
Record responses and look for patterns. These behavioral identifiers can help you engage more effectively with future prospects, too.
There is a difference between nagging and persistence. And that difference often comes down to how you’re engaging rather than how often you engage. If you only ever follow up to “check in” (and you do this multiple times per week or month) but bring nothing else to the conversation, it turns prospects off. What can a prospect do with a “just checking in” email anyway? They know what awaits them if they respond. Whereas connecting once or even twice a week with something of value (link to a blog, free demo, free downloadable asset, free consult, etc.) sparks interest and engagement. It isn’t pushy, it’s helpful. And prospects like being helped.
No one HAS to hear from you. Today’s world makes it easy to block out people we don’t want to hear from. So, while selling may be your main goal, never forget that acknowledging someone’s interest—and thanking them for engaging— can go a long way toward building additional engagement as well as brand loyalty.
Engaging effectively can undoubtedly increase your sales. But you would do best to keep in mind that you have no control over whether or not someone will buy from you.
On the other hand, you can control your actions. And positive action can help to spark engagement with prospects, whether you’re new to the industry or well-seasoned.
Here are examples of actions you can take to increase engagement with prospects and raise your sales numbers:
- X number of emails sent with free trial offer
- X number of social media posts per week
- X number of testimonials posted to your website
- X number of value-based assets sent to prospects