“Wow, I really love prospecting.” Said no sales rep. Ever.
Unfortunately, prospecting isn’t a task most salespeople look forward to. It’s time-consuming, frustrating, and challenging. Reps might have difficulty finding the right people, getting hold of them, qualifying them, and setting up appointments, among other things.
Yet despite these recurring obstacles, prospecting techniques and strategies haven’t changed. Many salespeople are still clinging to the “spray and pray” method of decades past, even though it’s getting less and less effective. And if something is no longer effective, why aren’t adjustments being made?
Here are five way where reps go awry when approaching new prospects. Are you making any of these mistakes?
1) Targeting prospects based on title, not behavior.
Reps who base their search on who a prospect is versus what they do fall into a trap because the prospect might not see the immediate value of the rep’s product or service. Simply because this prospect is the CEO doesn’t mean that she can make a decision about HR services — or even frankly cares about HR services.
Instead of hunting for specific LinkedIn titles, hunt for interest. Who from this company is coming to your company’s website? Reps who focus on providing information to the prospects seeking it will enjoy better connection and close rates.
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2) Skipping research.
Without researching a business fully, reps are left to guess about pain points and goals. As a result, salespeople can’t present their product in the right light to show how valuable it can be to this specific prospect. After all, a rep can’t solve a pain point if they’re not sure what it is in the first place.
Here’s a simple rule of thumb: spend more time researching prospects than emailing them. With significant knowledge of the company at their fingertips, a rep can build credibility and rapport with buyers while connecting the product’s benefits with the prospect’s specific pain points.
3) Coming in totally cold.
Today’s buyers screen their calls and protect their inboxes. Reps who try to start a relationship using cold tactics often hit a roadblock because the modern buyer isn’t interested in talking to a sales rep they don’t know about a product they haven’t expressed interest in. Cold call and cold email techniques are losing their effectiveness because the modern buyer has changed.
Instead, try finding prospects online first, connecting with them over shared interests, and warming up the relationship. Then and only then is it time to reach out.
4) Sticking to the script.
Every buyer has a unique pain point and is in need of a specific solution. By sticking to the generic script, salespeople fail to present their product as a solution to the prospect’s specific needs. While it’s great for a potential buyer to hear about a product’s benefits, they need to know how these features are specifically going to help them.
Toss the script out the window and personalize a message based on the information you’ve gathered from interactions with this prospect. By personalizing the message, a sales rep can highlight key benefits that directly solve this prospect’s pain point in a way other products might not be able to.
5) Following up just to follow up.
By following up without providing any new value, reps are not helping prospects but instead probably annoying them. The modern buyer is hungry for information but is moving at her own pace. Reps who send worthless emails regularly aren’t providing value, but likely hurting their credibility.
Instead, by keeping in contact with and providing value to prospects through a multitude of channels, reps won’t need to follow up just for the sake of following up because the conversation is ongoing.
Prospecting and connecting with buyers can be challenging. But just like anything else in life, when it starts to become too challenging and you’re not seeing the results you want, adjustments need to be made. Instead of defaulting to old-school tactics like the ones above, use the new year to try new strategies and techniques.