Prospecting Success Relies On These First Steps

prospecting success

Prospecting success relies on a seller’s ability to not only engage with prospects, but to do so in a way that gives them valuable insights while nurturing a future sale. “Most sellers will tell you that creating conversations with prospects is critical to greater success in sales, but the dynamics of how to do it can be baffling,” writes John Doerr for RAIN Today. To help, Doerr shares six “key” tips for successful prospecting that reps can integrate into their own sales process. A few of his suggestions are discussed below.

1. Targeting

2. Value with every touch

3. The right offer

4. No tricks

Prospecting success starts at the beginning

The very foundation of prospecting success lies with one’s list of potential leads and just how precisely they target. Unfortunately, this is where many reps have trouble. Another Media Sales Today post shared that sellers’ top targeting problems are:

Not knowing how to work with gatekeepers: 48%

Connecting with people too low in the target organization: 43%

Not targeting the right people: 41%

Doerr believes that targeting issues can be solved by simply aiming higher in an organization and doing so thoughtfully. “Reach high to the decision makers,” he urges. “Make sure that your list is clean and ready to go before you start, or you'll find that your day is lost in fits and starts.” Extra time and consideration spent during this foundational step is worth it and sets you up for prospecting success. Not sure how to even approach the gatekeeper? Check out this past Media Sales Today post to learn how.

Always show value

No matter how you are reaching out to a prospect, make sure that each communication has some value for them. And this is especially important at the very beginning of prospecting: right when they choose to speak with you. “When you think about providing value, don't just think about the value you will eventually provide when they buy from you…Sell the idea that the prospects' time will be well-​spent if they elect to speak with you,” Doerr suggests. Once you make good on that, you immediately establish credibility.

Credibility is the very thing that determines whether the buyer replies to your email, agrees to take a meeting or decides they want to do business with you,” explains SalesFuel CEO C. Lee Smith. An important step to take before you even connect with a lead is to learn what they consider to be valuable. Check out SalesFuel’s free e‑book, The 7 C’s of Pre-​Call Intelligence to learn what you need to know to be seen as credible by today’s buyers.

The right offer

Like with the first outreach, sellers need to think long-​term when setting themselves up for prospecting success. Many reps prospect with their eye solely on closing the deal, not thinking about what happens in the meantime. They don’t realize that they can offer so much between that first conversation and a signed contract. As Doerr points out, “the interim offers—the offers you make and they accept before they buy from you—must be crafted with the utmost care.”

No tricks

Prospecting success requires trust on the part of the prospect; sellers must do what they can to instill trust as soon as possible. There’s no need for sly maneuverings or cutting corners to get prospects to engage with you. Did you know that 97% of salespeople are not viewed as trustworthy by prospective clients? Don’t be a part of that shocking stat by being honest every step of the way. Avoid taking on the cliched role of a pushy seller by engaging in refreshing behavior such as active listening, being transparent and showing accountability.

Prospecting success doesn’t end here

Check out Doerr’s article to read his other suggestions for setting a strong foundation for your sales process. His advice, along with the insights gleaned about pre-​call intelligence from SalesFuels book, give you the tools you need to set yourself up for prospecting success…and a potential sale. As Doerr explains, "creating conversations with prospects is critical to greater success in sales." 

Photo by Christina @ wocintechchat​.com

Jessica Helinski

Jessica Helinski

Jessica is a senior research analyst for SalesFuel focusing on selling to SMB decision-​makers. She also reports on sales and presentation tips for SalesFuel Today. Jessica is a graduate of Ohio University.