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The Sales Buzz Issue 100 - Sales prospecting actions - New approaches
November 30, 2010

I'm Stephen Craine from the website

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Sales Prospecting Actions

Before you take your next sales prospecting action read this weekís Sales Buzz and see if there are more effective ways to prospect for potential buyers.

Are your sales prospecting actions the most effective for the services or products that you sell?

Many sales people prospect using sales techniques, and approaches to potential customers, that are not suitable for the way the prospects see their products. Let me give you this example to highlight my point:

Prospecting example

If you were selling a service that is a necessity would you prospect differently to one that was luxury?

A sales professional selling a facilities service such as waste and recycling collection, office cleaning services, or work wear and protective clothing, would be viewed and received by prospects in a different way to a sales person selling non essentials such as marketing list or indoor ornamental gardens and plants for hire.

Many people view the necessities type sales approaches as genuine and reasonable contact from a company that may have something to offer. This is because the prospect can immediately see that they have a need for this service because it is something they already use.

I am not discounting anyone that sells ornamental plants or non essential services. I'm simply highlighting a difference in the response you will get from prospects.

Even if that essential need is currently fulfilled by another supplier and they are in a contract, they are usually willing to give some time to a cold call and will talk about future approaches and when this should be. eg When they will be looking at a new contract.

Non essentials or new ideas

When you contact a prospect with a non essential product or service, or a new idea that they donít currently use, the reaction can be very different.

The prospect may not immediately see that they have a need.

Their first thought may be that this is an expense I donít currently have.

The response will not be as warm and can even be hostile.

This is especially true in Direct Sales prospecting where you are contacting people in their own homes and they do not immediately see a potential benefit.

The other factor is that a non essential product, or a new service, requires a decision to be made and many people want to avoid having to make decisions.

An essential service or product takes away the decision on whether to buy or not. The only decision left is which supplier to use.

Cold calling for sales appointments

It is vital to be aware of this difference when making cold calls for sales appointments.

In an appointment setting call for an essential service you should include benefits about selecting you as a supplier compared with their current provider.

In an appointment setting call for a non essential service you should build a picture of benefits they could gain from buying from you.

You can include benefits compared to other suppliers but that is not always necessary or the best approach, unless the buyer starts to compare your products with something they already buy.

I still see many sales people that do not take into account this difference in viewpoint when prospecting and making first contact with potential new clients. They have set ideas about sales prospecting and only use the prospecting techniques that they know.

How do you view sales approaches

As a sales professional and business person you probably receive approaches from other sales people prospecting for new or repeat business.

Think back to those calls, face to face approaches, and mail shots that you have received. What was your first reaction to them?

Often we will make a judgement on the company, its services or products, and the style of its approach to us. The approach should be related to the response your contact will receive from the prospect.

If it isnít we may not see a potential benefit.

We may not realise where on the scale of necessity a product or service sits.

The decision could be something we want to instinctively avoid.

Let me finish with some actions you can take to improve your prospecting by taking into account the reaction and response you will receive:

1. Look at your product or service from a customerís perspective.

How essential do customers feel your product or service is. Do they definitely need it, even if not from you. Or is it a nice to have thing, such as a vacation or luxury item. Where on this scale do your sales sit.

2. The right prospecting techniques

Do your prospecting techniques, and first contact, reflect the answer to action 1 above?

If you sell a necessary service or product then a good prospecting technique is to be wide ranging and cover all prospects that need your service. Use a shotgun approach not pin point sniper targeting.

If your products are nearer to the non essential, nice to have, end of the scale, your prospecting will benefit from targeted approaches. It will also benefit greatly from including clear potential benefits in all prospecting material and contact.

3. Look for ideas that match your prospecting approach

I hope the above has opened up a new way of thinking about prospecting and approaching new potential customers.

Now look at ideas on prospecting and sales appointment making, and as you view them. consider how you can use them in the right way to relate to how customers perceive your approach.

Here are some good places to start looking at new ideas and ways to adapt what youíre doing now:

Sales Prospecting Tips

The main page of Sales Prospecting section on the website Full of ideas and prospecting techniques. Scan down the topics and click on to the pages that interest you.

Match the ideas to where you sit on the necessity to non essential scale we discussed above and choose the techniques that will be most effective for you.

Feel free to leave comments and questions. How do you currently prospect. What obstacles do you face. And whatís your favourite prospecting technique.

Making cold calls and first contact

When you have found your prospects, or as part of the prospecting process, you may want to contact them with a cold call.

This page on cold calling techniques will show you how to do that and get great results. It works for all types of prospecting where you want to make sales appointments. Give it a try and let us know what your results.

Selling Techniques on gaining referrals

The most underused sales prospecting resource in professional selling around the world.

Take a look at this page on how to find potential new customers by asking for referrals. This is especially useful for defined and specific markets where people within the industry know each other.

If your sales sit near the non essential end of the scale we discussed above this works really well when you have made a sale and the buyer has really seen the benefits.

The Sales Buzz is published by the website All of the above links take you to the website and not to third party or affiliate sites trying to sell you something>

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Open the invitation and send to as many people as you think will gain from receiving this newsletter. Open and send the Sales Buzz Invitation...

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