Linking Human Capital With Strategic Intent

Dialing for Dollars

Sales Excellence LogoDialing for Dollars

Prospecting; it’s every salespersons nightmare!  Isn’t it funny just how heavy that phone can really be?  Every salesperson is faced with the challenge of filling his pipeline and using the telephone is an essential component. It is something you should not only “get good” at, but is wise to perfect.  The more mature your territory, the more customers and orders there are to service. When this occurs, prospecting falls by the wayside and we justify why we don’t have time to do it.

The lack of prospecting happens for many reasons.  It is tedious, time consuming, and doesn’t make us any money; at least not initially.  And while it is true all of these things get in the way mentally; over the long-term prospecting is what makes us the most money and provides a continuous flow of potential customers to keep our revenue stream flowing. “Dialing for Dollars” is a necessary evil that every salesperson must master and participate in regularly.

The ability to build a robust pipeline is highly predicated on how effective we are at building that network of potential clients. Several things can be done to improve your prospecting skills.  There are several dynamics in play and understanding what you must do to be more effective in each area will get you more appointments and ensure greater success using the phone.

10 Things to help you prospect more effectively:

1.   Mental Toughness.
 Our thinking and mental state of mind is critical.  If you hate to do something, you procrastinate until the “cows come home”.  If we hate to prospect, what do you think will happen?  Prospecting is a state of mind so change your thought process to “Dialing for Dollars”.  This puts a positive spin on a mundane, but otherwise important task that is difficult for most because it’s just not fun.

2.   Discipline.  Prospecting requires discipline.  It’s not how often you do it; it’s how consistently you do it.  Being disciplined requires focus.  Build into your week time to prospect and protect it as you would a scheduled appointment with your most valuable client.

3.   I’m too busy.  Or, I have too many customers to handle.  This is a mental trap salespeople fall into and confuse activity with long-term success.  You must build into your sales plan the process of developing long-term business.  It takes anywhere from 18-24 months to develop a prospect into a full blown client.  Because most sales situations have a long sales cycle it is imperative we prospect today so we can eat tomorrow.  Anything less is being shortsighted. So quit making excuses, find a way to “chip away” at prospecting.

4.   Develop a “Compelling Statement”. Some people call this an “Elevator Speech” and some refer to it as your “30 Second Commercial”. Call it whatever you want, just do it.  I prefer to call it a “Compelling Statement”. From my perspective it truly must be compelling, otherwise why would people want to talk to you. Your “Compelling Statement” has to differentiate you from the competition. What makes you special and unique? The customer wants to know; WIFM – “What’s in it for me?” Your “Compelling Statement” must move them to want to know more and ask for more. Merely stating “what” you do is not as interesting or important as “why” you do what you do.

5.   “Statement of Value”. Besides a “Compelling Statement” you need a “Statement of Value”. Remember that customers want to know “WIFM” and your “Statement of Value” speaks to that need. It helps the client or customer connect the dollar value, savings or ROI that might be achieved and makes them want to talk to you. In some circles it is described as your “Value Proposition”. Either way, customers expect “value” and the better you are at selling value the less you will have to deal with price down the road.

6.   Develop your script and rehearse your lines. Some salespeople have “Compelling Statements” and “Statements of Value”, but few execute them very well. Salespeople tend to have a hard time using the phone because they are not comfortable with the words they want to use and they don’t really know what it is they want to say.  This is where much of sales call reluctance stems from.  This prospecting barrier has a simple solution, develop a script.  Actors rehearse their lines, pilots have a check list.  Salespeople need a script which contains both your “Compelling Statement” and your “Statement of Value”.  And then, just like an actor, rehearse your lines so the message flows over your lips just like a waterfall. You will be less tongue tied if you rehearse and practice your lines.

7.   Handling Objections. Be prepared for the objections because they will come. And when they do, write them down. By developing responses to objections, you will be prepared to counter them the next time they come up.

8.   Leaving voice mail. Do not take this aspect of the sales process too lightly as there really is an art and a science to it. Request the article, “The Art and Science of Leaving Voice Mail” for more insight.

9.   Dealing with the Gate-Keeper. In your day to day activities you will come across gatekeepers and it is a good idea to have a strategy for dealing with them.  Remember, gatekeepers do just that, and they will either open the gate or lock it depending on how you interact with them. Request the article “Sally G and the Keys to the Kingdom” for more strategies on dealing with this critical part of the sales process.

10. Develop your list. A list of potential prospects is critical and you can never have enough. There are many ways to obtain prospects.  You can purchase lists from a service such as Hoover’s or the Harris Directory, you can use social networking sites like Link’d In and Ning, or you can use in person networking. The point is to have a ready made list of prospects to call during your regularly schedule call time. The article “Dig your Well before your Thirsty” can give you further insight on developing your list.

Master these 10 tips and you will master the ability to have more prospects than you can handle.

Good Luck, and Go Forth and Sell!

Rick Tiemann

The Executive Group
80 E US Hwy 6
Valparaiso, IN 46383

Tel: 219.477.6378
Fax: 219.477.6379
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