Prospecting is one of the most important steps that need to be taken care of in the sales and business process. It usually consists of identifying a pool of potential customers, which with our context, are called prospects. The end goal of prospecting is to build a database of probable customers and then, through systematic means, interact and communicate with them in the hopes that they will turn from a potential customer (or prospect) into a current and maybe even a loyal customer.
Prospecting is a practice that takes time to perfect and execute, and it is one of the big hurdles that you will often encounter with sales and business. We will be running down the specifics of prospecting, starting from answering “what does prospecting mean?”, to “what is prospecting in sales?”, and many more.
People to be Aware of when Prospecting
It’s really hard to tell whether an individual is interested to do business with you or your products. If you are not certain of their intentions, then they fall into one of two categories: suspects or prospects. There are key differences between the two that should be kept in mind at all times:
- Suspects - suspects are individuals or companies you believe has a need for your goods and services but are not aware of your existence as a business, or anything about your offerings. This group of people is the hardest to get in touch with since they are people you have never interacted with. When the time comes that you have established a connection to a suspect, it’s time to begin prospecting. It is your job to know whether they might or might not buy a product or goods in the future.
- Prospects - prospects, on the other hand, are suspects that you have successfully made contact with. They are also the people who have confirmed to you that they are or might be interested in buying goods or services from your business at some point. A good example would be the owner of a vehicle that is 12 years old. That kind of individual or prospect is going to be a good target for your business since his vehicle will have to be replaced at some point in the near future.
Once you have gotten to the point where a prospect has successfully done a transaction with you, then they are officially a customer of your business.
5 Ttips to Get your Prospecting Game Up
Like we have mentioned earlier, the process of prospecting is one of the most time-consuming and stressful tasks that businessmen and salespeople alike will face. But with the right set of skills and confidence, your experience will be pleasant with sales skills that will allow you to find potential customers with ease. With that said, here are 8 tips that will get your prospecting game up and running:
- Create a solid and ideal prospect profile
With a saturated market also comes a saturated amount of people you will encounter. There are many different types of companies and industries, and even today, no salesman has ever come up with a “one size fits all” formula to entice suspects and prospects. So, where do you start?
The first step would be to find out what your ideal prospect and customer profile looks like. Start with your current database’s information, like the looks and demographic of your top ten customers and worst ten customers. Which of them prefer your online store over your traditional brick-and-mortar stores? Which of them are the most profitable, and which ones aren’t? This way, you can have a grasp of what you should be looking for.
- Be creative in identifying the ways to see your ideal prospects
Begin this process by studying and analyzing where you met your “top” customers. Of course, your “top” customers are your business’ most profitable bunch, so keeping a close look at their roots is going to be a massive help in prospecting. When we define prospecting, it isn’t just discovering new people that might purchase your products, it’s also analyzing your current customer base and taking advantage of that knowledge for prospecting.
Another important aspect of prospecting is to get your business’ name out there. Think of digital presence: your social media channels, newsfeeds, blogs, and other digital publications or websites they visit?
If you are a B2C retailer, then your customers most likely have a social media account tied to a platform. Try to discover which platform they flock to the most, and garner prospect attention there.
All this information will assist you in creating a blueprint or an action plan to show up, in the right places, and at the right time for your potential customers.
- Send emails that have a personal touch
Nowadays, it’s easy to think that emails are dead as sales and marketing too. It’s actually quite the opposite. Promotional and marketing emails are alive as ever with 80% of buyers preferring to be contacted by salesman via email means, a study by Rain Group Research claims.
As long as you keep the content of the email personalized to each prospect’s profiles and needs, you will be able to stand close to that 80%. Your job is to impress them with how much you know about their background and their company. As tedious as it may sound, it’s necessary to make sure your emails will go noticed and hopefully, an engaging ones.
Templates are not as engaging since prospects will not feel as valued compared to personalized emails. Take some time to read and absorb your prospect’s profile, then build an email that will compliment the background of their company and industry. Again, we heavily advise against templates since they are disengaging and have that “spammy” feel to them.
Another thing you want to watch out for is that your emails are optimized for mobile devices. We live in a business and economic scene where mobile devices are strong points to contact or attract potential customers.
- Work on your lists of calls actively
Make a list that you religiously follow and turn it into the foundation that will move you forward in prospecting. Never underestimate the power of phone calls! These are going to be your best friend when prospecting. Group your cold call list along with warm leads, and even lost leads. Organizing your list to the full extent will not only help you track down potential leads with ease but also help you alleviate some stress in the process.
On the topic of the things to say, a good tip would be listing down key points and questions you would like to go over with your prospect. If we want to determine what is prospecting in sales, you need to know its ins and outs, including the phone calls. Scripted sales pitches are good if you are a beginner, but once you get into the serious calls, you need to learn how to dialogue and speak up on the spot.
As a salesman and businessman, you need to learn how to speak about things and questions that will help you learn about their pain points, wishes, needs, and most importantly, their decision process. If you can maintain a pleasing voice with an interesting topic, qualifying leads becomes a breeze.
Know what they are looking for. Understand the specifics of their problem and how your product and business will fit in as their perfect solution. Once done with that, prepare to call back again in either 5 weeks or 5 months. Most of it is going to be the waiting game, but in the end, your end goal is to keep in touch and turn their decisions towards your business’ benefits.
- Build a compelling online presence and portfolio
Social media’s impact on marketing and business, in general, has been massive over the past decade. Over the years, we have seen a massive shift of tactics and strategies that favor social media over any other way of marketing. Social media’s reach is nothing to laugh at since your reach virtually becomes global. You cover a variety of people with little to no effort.
Start with social media pages on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and IGTV. These four platforms are your best bets if we’re talking about business reach. Facebook has built-in business features that will help you maximize reach and click rates, while Twitter is the perfect place to be in contact with the Gen-Z demographic. Instagram and IGTV also offer compelling business features that will help your business, especially ecommerce stores, succeed.
Another function of social media presence is to get your business’ portfolio or website around. These two are going to be the evidence that your business is legit, and that your products and goods are worthy of your customers’ and prospects’ money.
Build a promising prospecting website with Strikingly
Image taken from Strikingly
Now that we’ve discovered the prospecting meaning, it’s time for you to start building a beautiful website. With Strikingly’s advanced website builder, you’ll be able to build a website that will attract suspects, prospects, and customers alike. Coupled with our hundreds of templates, you’ll be up and running in no time. See more of our pricing here, but no worries since we also offer free services that will be enough to get your business and prospecting started!