What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the word sales? And no, we’re not talking the lovely, retail price slash kind. Be honest. Was it negative? No one would blame you. We’ve all been on the receiving end of unwanted phone calls urging us to purchase a product or service we have absolutely no use for. 9 times out of 10 the person on the other line knows nothing about you – sometimes not even your name. And herein lies the problem for many businesses.
The call centre and boiler-room image of some sales agencies has given the sales industry a bad name. And more and more business owners have shied away from traditional sales prospecting in that belief that contacting prospective clients directly will deem them a nuisance. Instead they’ve put effort into lead generation believing this to be a more superior and socially acceptable method of growing their business.
Sales prospecting refers to outbound calls made or emails sent to strangers in the hope of obtaining a lead. Lead generation on the other hand deals with ‘leads’ who have already reached out to the company. They may have provided their details from a sign-up form on your website or a competition entry on Facebook. They sound different right? So why so many business owners think that the two are interchangeable?
If you’re running a business and you want to grow then you need sales. It’s not rocket science. Sales prospecting and lead generation should not be seen as an ‘either’ ‘or’ choice. They are both integral parts of a successful sales and marketing strategy and thus should be handled separately. Cold calling and emailing should be left to the sales professionals. Whilst lead generation should be the duty of the marketing team. Sales prospecting is something that shouldn’t be feared. It should be embraced – so here are four tips to help you turn your sales prospects into leads.
By asking for referrals first the sales team are more likely to find the right person to whom they can direct their call.
It’s a cliche but it’s true. Your sales and marketing departments should be working in tandem. If the marketing team can qualify leads then the sales team can close. This also free the sales team up to spend time on warm and hot leads this resulting in the prospect of more sales.
Research, research and research. Find out who wants your product or service. Social media is great for this. It may seem time consuming but there’s nothing worse than wasting time on prospective customers that aren’t right for your business. Ditch sending blanket emails to large mailing lists in the hope that someone will respond. Instead target your outbound activity as they will surely increase your chance of success. Marketing automation software is another way to help target your prospecting. This software will tell you who has been visiting your website. So, while they may not have provided their details you will a greater advantage as they have expressed some interest in your business.
Now, we’re not saying that you should sound like a robot but prepare what you need to say to prospects. The script will help you get to the point quickly when speaking with potential clients and will make for a better conversation. Also, as you speak to prospects make a note of questions that you encounter so that you can address them when you make the next call.