Feb
16

prospect

How to achieve a contact in context during the prospecting phase and hit the mark with sales

The point which all prospecting has in common

Anyone acquainted with the joys of prospecting for business knows very well that it is increasingly difficult to capture attention and hook a prospect so that he wishes to know more. So how do you proceed to stand out from the crowd and achieve maximum new contacts?

Beyond the basics, and the fact that you will never have a second chance to make a good impression, there is one major factor to take into account:

you may well have the best product or service in the world, a true technological gem, or a really distinct solution, but this does not mean your prospects are going to open the doors to you easily, and even less their order books.

This is the great difference between having knowledge and making it known! Do you get the subtle distinction?

The first stage in the act of selling remains the initial contact

There are codes to be respected and a certain number of stages which depend on the type of prospect, the decision-making loop, the purchasing cycle etc. But the first lever to pull nevertheless remains the same: knowing how to make contact and hook the prospect!

Whether you are acting by telephone canvassing, email, on the ground, social selling… it’s always the same thing!

So the aim of this relatively short phase is to intrigue, captivate and plant the idea of a commercial opportunity. Have you seen the film “Inception”? Well, you are starting to get it…

What is an opportunity? It is simply a mismatch between the prospect’s current situation and his hypothetical situation when he has benefited from the product / service / solution…

Example: if you have an e-commerce business and you currently use a routing solution for your newsletters and email campaigns, and for my part I can offer you an all-in-one solution for segmenting your customers based on their actions and their partiality, then automate your outgoing mail to a maximum degree via scenarios, then the commercial opportunity could be:

  • improving your deliverability by sending the right email to the right person at the right time, which avoids them ending up in spam and generating complaints.
  • reducing the cost of your mailing via effective segmentation, eliminating all unsuitable communications on your database.
  • increasing the profitability of your email marketing actions via scenarios actually adapted to your sales cycle (targeted promotion, shopping basket reminder, upsell, cross-sell etc.)
  • Etc.

The commercial opportunity can therefore take several forms, but it will always meet the same objective: to convey the promise of an immediately attractive benefit!

That said, how do you proceed when you don’t necessarily know your prospective customers, and don’t have specific information which enables you to highlight a potential gain or some sort of savings?

There are two ways of proceeding to hook your prospects:

1. Either you operate in a more or less generic way, finding out about a business sector, specific industry or well identified profession… and you try to create very precise profile types.

Basic example in BtoB: A sales director wants to improve the productivity of his sales force, increase his turnover, improve profitability, reduce turnover in the team, maintain a high level of motivation… and we could continue to provide further details and dig deeper to refine this.

So you could start off with these assumptions to construct a relatively generic approach, but still consistent in a lot of cases. It’s effective, but not optimal!

2. You could also search out information about your prospect in advance, his strategic challenges, his current working climate, current problems, the decision-making loop, the profile and personality of the decision-makers etc.

Then you are sure and certain of hitting your target!

Same example BtoB: by searching for information about the target company and its sales director, you will discover that 6 new sales reps are going to be recruited for different sectors in France, that the company experienced growth of 36% last year, and that the annual seminar which brings the whole company together will take place in January 2017, according to a tweet and a LinkedIn post published on the DirCo networks.

So this time it will be a lot easier to make an impactful and contextualised initial contact to propose, for instance:

  • A personalised training course for the new recruits with support in the initial weeks, with a view to achieving a much quicker return on recruitment costs, and enabling the Sales Director to announce good news at the annual convention.
  • A specially tailored conference to motivate all the sales force during the annual convention which is held in January
  • A team-building workshop for a morning during the annual seminar to integrate the 6 new sales reps and unite the sales force.

In short, it immediately becomes easier to draw up ultra-personalised initial contact strategies when you have an initial level of information based on the real context and current working climate of the target prospect. Don’t you agree?

Good news, this is precisely what a solution like Sparklane for Sales provides: to give you key information and business signals which correspond to your prospecting criteria.

Smile, you just have to win that customer now! You will get a selection of leads corresponding precisely to your target, with fresh information which will enable you to work out a contextualised initial contact.

That is smart prospecting… and it’s profitable!
 

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Victor Cabrera
About the Author
Victor Cabrera is a French consultant and expert in sales efficiency training. The author of ‘Sale techniques: step-by-step winning strategies’ (published in French: ‘Sales techniques: les stratégies gagnantes étape par étape’) and ‘The key to effective negotiation’ (published in French: ‘Les clés de la négociation efficace’), he is also a blogger and runs the Technique-de-vente.com website.