Successful Selling: Get Back to the Basics of Prospecting

November 17th, 2009 by

By Pat Hinds

Earlier in the year I wrote a blog called “Advice to Obama: Get Back to the Basics”; it is about a lesson I learned from a football coach while I was in college. The concept of that blog is about getting back to the basics when things are most complicated and challenging. It is important to not make things more complicated by implementing plans that are difficult to execute; instead, focus on the simple things and execute them well. This week I had the opportunity to do some training with some first time sales people at one of my clients; the goal of the training was to help with prospecting. The training was over a couple hour period and we focused on “opening the call”.

The thing that amazed me about the training is how much I learned from reviewing the basics of making a prospecting sales call. What stood out was if you use a proven framework for making a call, how much better the call flowed and how it improved the probability to secure a meeting. This relates to going back to the basics – growing your business does not have to be complicated; use a proven framework and it will allow you to be more productive and efficient. Below I have listed the components I reviewed with the sales people; you may find these useful if you are in a position of needing to improve your sales productivity:

Prepare for the Call– An important aspect of pre-call prep is researching information about the customer. The focus of the preparation should be on company description and lines of business. Sources of information include web sites, annual reports, news releases, advertising and previous customer interaction.

Greet/Introduce – You never get a second chance to make a good first impression; that is why you need to take the greet/introduce as an important part of the process. Make sure you state you name, position and role. It is also important that you capture the name, position and role of the person you are speaking too and make sure you are speaking clearly.

Relate – The goal is to establish the personal side of the sales call, it is important to remember that people buy from people. When you are making your first call to a prospect you can keep the rapport building to a minimum, but it is important that you try to relate with the customer.

Position Statement – The position statement establishes the value of the meeting you are attempting to secure. The position statement should provide information about your product and relate to how it is going to help the prospect achieve his or her goals.

Confirm Time – Always be Closing (ABC), the purpose of the call is to establish a time to review your product and discover how it can help the prospect achieve their goals. Sales people need to ask for the meeting; the meeting time can be an extension of the prospecting call, a face-to-face call or establish a new time to call when the prospect can give you the time you require to present your product.

Topics: Sales Consulting