When you do sales prospecting right, it can be a steady provider of opportunities for your company. Unfortunately, when it’s not done right, it wastes resources. If you feel like your business is in a rut or you want to increase your leads, it’s time to switch up your prospecting sales techniques.
If you’re only attempting to engage new clients by phone, you’ll miss the nearly 15 million adults who experience telephobia and avoid talking on the phone. These potential leads prefer to interact via your website’s chat feature, which gives you an effective way to prospect.
These leads want you to discover them since they reached out to you. You can quickly determine if this is a meaningful lead, schedule an appointment, and move the buyer down the sales funnel. Even better, the sales rep can look at the transcripts of chat interactions to identify misunderstandings or find additional conversion opportunities.
If you offer a live chat staffed by a human with Smith.ai’s live agents who are available 24/7, you can convert leads and satisfy customer needs with a human element and elevate the customer experience — a key factor in moving leads through the sales funnel and creating lifelong customer relationships.
Send a monthly newsletter or a personalized email. Be active on social media platforms like Twitter and LinkedIn. Get involved in industry forums. Host a live Q&A. Guest feature on a podcast or local radio show. Offer webinars or publish eBooks or blog posts that your ideal customer would find helpful.
The more present you are in these areas, the more top of mind you are with the people who might need your services. More executives than ever are looking for it, especially when the economic landscape is rough — 50% say thought leadership has a more significant influence on buying decisions during a recession than prosperous times.
When you’re prospecting, you aren’t selling your product — you’re networking and building connections with potential customers.
While having a sales call script is helpful, you shouldn’t be afraid to move away from it in the pursuit of real conversation. Keep the goals and structure of the script in mind while:
With the rise of spam calls, more people are taking steps to avoid them, which means your cold calls may end up in the voicemail void. Cold calling has its place, and it can be successful if done right, but consider diverting some of your cold calling energy to warm calling for better results.
Warm calls are directed toward people who are already aware of you and are interested in your product or service. They’ve signed up for an email newsletter, attended a past webinar, visited your website, or initiated a live chat session. Most importantly, they’re more likely to convert: Only 2% of cold calls result in a warm lead, while warm leads convert 20%-30% of the time.
Find ways to engage regularly with your prospects. The key here is to find the right balance between engaging regularly and being annoying. Send a welcome email, regular newsletters related to the industry, and additional emails when leads exhibit a specific online behavior, like leaving an item in their shopping cart.
The ability to automate some of the lead nurturing process means it can be simpler than you might expect. Automate what you can, like personalized emails and newsletters, or hire Smith.ai live agents to follow up with leads you identify.
Engage a lead with your ears. Any good sales professional knows that selling is more than just talking — it’s listening. Unfortunately, studies show that a typical sales representative spends 65%-75% of a call talking.
The soft skill of active listening requires you to show your prospect that you hear them. Summarize what they tell you and ask clarifying questions. Don’t fill in every pause; instead, let the customer do it.
Productive engagement can happen only when a lead feels comfortable with you. When contacting them, let them know you and your company are legitimate. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter how great your sales script is — they’ll hang up.
Mention that they were referred by another company, share case studies about how you’ve helped similar companies, or reference specific statistics about the industry. It also never hurts to have a robust LinkedIn profile for when your prospect inevitably looks you up after the initial call.
Before making a cold or warm call, research the prospect’s particular needs. Be ready with information about how your product or service has helped people or companies with similar pain points overcome them.
Know your audience. Craft a specific ideal customer profile (ICP) that you can use to weed out prospects who aren’t worth your time. Use your ICP to create a prospect list, and reach out to the companies on that list. Not only will this increase the likelihood that your prospect will be willing to take your call, but you’ll be better prepared to address their specific concerns effectively.
As your business grows, remember to use your client data to update your prospect lists and make sure they’re accurate. You may find that some of your clients aren’t who you originally included in your ICP.
Don’t assume the prospect will jump up and down and beg you to set up an appointment when you call them.
Remind them an appointment is not a commitment to buy, but just to learn more. While appointment setting can take time, it doesn’t have to if you outsource to a provider like Smith.ai that integrates with your existing appointment scheduling system.
Your current customers are a great place to prospect. They are familiar with your product or service and have networked with others in their industry. They may be willing to share the name and contact information of someone they know who might benefit from your product or service.
Reviews from satisfied clients can also help prospecting in a roundabout way by enhancing your credibility with potential leads. You’ll also discover new information about how people use your product or service and who is working with you, which may help you revise your ICP to find new prospects.
Networking is important for anyone who is prospecting for new leads. Attend networking events in your field and the industries your products or services serve.
Thanks to technology, you have a ton of options for networking — and some you can even do in your PJs. For example, instead of going to an old-fashioned in-person event, you can participate in a social media thread, attend a webinar, or take part in a virtual meet-up. Make sure to exchange contact information with folks you meet who seem like a good fit to partner or potentially do business with.
Cold calling likely isn’t high on anyone’s list of favorite things to do, and it's part of human nature to procrastinate activities we find unpleasant. Resist the urge by dedicating a specific time each week to prospecting. Block off an hour or two on your calendar so no one schedules a meeting, set your phone on Do Not Disturb, and get on it.
Not sure where to start? Here are a few ideas:
Use a third-party sales intelligence tool. These products use data to find quality leads faster. There are lots of different intelligence tools to choose from, such as:
Google sleuthing: Google searching for potential leads may not be as direct as using a third-party intelligence tool, but it’s still an effective strategy. Dig through business websites, profiles, forums, and social media channels to find leads that might otherwise slip through the cracks because you haven’t considered them as part of your ICP.
These prospecting sales techniques can help reinvigorate your prospecting strategy and develop new leads. But if you’d rather spend time focusing on warm leads, you can outsource your sales prospecting to Smith.ai.
Our professional virtual receptionists and live chat agents can handle outreach campaigns, lead intake, and appointment setting with such ease and professionalism that your prospects won’t know they aren’t talking to your in-house team. Review our pricing page or schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn how our outreach services can help grow your business.