Sales questions on contact and prospecting

by Nicole

Sales questions on contacting customers, sales prospecting, and making sales appointments with prospective customers. This is where sales opportunities are created and without effective techniques in this area of the sales process you will not be able to present your sales presentation or close sales.

3 Sales questions related to contacting customers.

1. What if I am targeting customers from another region in the country, does email work?

2. Does offering them a free sample help?

3. How do I get the buyer on the phone, they often "aren’t there" when I call.

Comment from Stephen Craine

These are the type of questions that are increasing in frequency as it becomes harder to contact and speak to the decision makers and buyers.

You phone up a business and they have a policy of not giving out names, or the person you need to speak to isn’t there. How can you sell if you can’t speak to the buyer?

In the past sales and marketing were two separate departments in most companies. Marketing looked after advertising and producing leaflets and promotional material. Sales looked for prospects and used the marketing material.

The modern approach now requires sales and marketing to work together. Marketing is becoming more about close contact aimed at a targeted prospect group, and less about a shotgun advertising approach.

There are now more ways of communicating with a customer or prospect than ever before. By combining the work of sales and marketing you can have more effect and a greater return.

...This is something many businesses have still not got right and you can gain a great advantage on your competition..

Targeting customers from another region

Whenever you contact a prospect or customer, or anyone from their business, get as many contact details as possible. Physical address, email, mobile and land line numbers. Instead of one track prospecting, where you run a telephone or mail campaign, make use of all the contact details you have.

A really good way to prospect is to send information by all the mediums you have. Newsletters, information updates, new product launches, industry news, new legislation. Anything that could be useful to the customer and that gets your name in front of them.

You can use the information you have sent as a reason for a telephone call.

...See the page on Sales Techniques to make a sales appointment introduction for more information on telephone techniques and the reason for a call..

The combined power of this holistic contact works far better than any one method of communication, such as email.

Does offering them a free sample help?

Free samples and trials are great. They work for several reasons:

If you let a buyer sample your product it means you have confidence in it. You are saying, I think you will be so impressed with what I can offer, once you have tried it you will want to buy.

Another reason a trial or sample works is because the buyer gets used to using the product. Once the trial is over, or the sample product has run out, they want some more.

It will also help with contacting buyers that don’t want to be contacted as in the next answer to your question.

How do I get the buyer on the phone, they often "aren’t there" when I call.

If you can give the buyer a reason to talk to you there is more chance of getting them to the phone, or to answer your emails.

Try putting together a sales and marketing process that is all linked together and forms a path from the buyer seeing the marketing to the first contact.

For example, in the ideas discussed in the first answer above, holistic marketing contact, add the incentive of a free trial or sample. Use the sample as a way to collect contact details. You can take it further and give a sample in return for a sales appointment. Some companies go further and give a free trial if the buyer signs an agreement.

For example, a free 3 month subscription if you sign up for 12 months, and you can cancel after the 3 months.

Plan out a path that uses free samples, from the advert or mail shot, to a way to get in front of the buyer, and make it a natural step to close the sale. Compare this to the ad hoc approach many companies take.

A typical business could have: A website, a sales team (no mention of the sales team on the website), inbound and outbound telephone team (that don’t know what’s on the website, or contact with the field sales team), a marketing dept(that don’t work with the telephone team or the field sales team), and a sales director that thinks everything is working together.

Contact now is becoming more about building a relationship so they will take your calls, and less about sales call techniques to get around gatekeepers.

To see more sales training on making sales appointments move to Cold calling and appointment setting techniques.

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