from the observations and experiences of Vernon’s Director of Business Development, Dustin Wicks
No, we’re not talking gold…at least not the precious metal. This gold comes in a different form of value.
Sales people often struggle with finding new customers; however it is an essential part of our industry, especially if you’re looking to be and stay successful. We’ve put together a number of tips for prospecting.
An important, and sometimes overlooked, first step in prospecting, is to make the time to actually do it! This includes planning ahead and setting aside time to reach out to prospective clients. It’s important to know who you’re calling, information about their company, what type of industry they’re in and what kind of pains they are currently or could be experiencing. In the promotional products industry, it’s likely that those you approach are already buying from someone else. Unless there is a pain, it’s easier for prospects to stay with who they’re with, rather than go to the unknown.
You have to be able to plan and to anticipate their pain(s). When you make a call, call out their potential pain and let them know what you can do to correct or alleviate that pain. Don’t ever call with nothing, just to check in. Give a potential client some type of value when you contact them, in order to make a positive impression. Be confident!
There are a number of different ways to reach people, and everyone prefers a different method of communication. While many may see cold calling as a necessary evil, the method has been tried and true. There are many other ways to communicate with potential clients, but no one should ever completely rid themselves of cold calling. Use other methods of communication as support, not instead of cold calling. Email, social media and snail mail all have their place. We live in the age of technology. People get most of their information from the internet, and sales people use that as an excuse not to cold call. It can be hard to get people on the phone, but the most successful sales people are making cold calls. It can be really hard to get people on the phone, but you should give them every reason to want to talk to you. People used to have to prepare an elevator speech, but now it’s more of a voicemail speech. In that voicemail speech, you’ve got to give them a compelling reason so that they’ll give you a call back.
Most importantly, pay attention to how someone returns communication. You may not get a call back. If you’ve reached out via email, voicemail and LinkedIn multiple times and they finally reach out to you by LinkedIn, that’s where you should focus your communication with that prospect, at least for the short term. Always stick with this method of communication until you learn more about the prospect and their preferred method of communication or are told otherwise.
Remember, most buying decisions are made between attempts seven and twelve. It can be easy to give up and most people will quit after four attempts. By making more calls and leaving more voicemails, you increase your chances of reaching people at the right time and with the right message so that you’ll receive a call back.
A good sales person always has a different pitch tailored to each customer, but at the root of their pitch, the message is always the same. Create a pitch that represents you, one that you’re comfortable with, but keep in mind that people want to deal with people they like and who bring them value. When you make more attempts, you get more people interested, you get more prospects, you get more meetings and you get more sales.
As part of our support services, Vernon is proud to work with our account executives one-on-one and in group settings to providing tips, pointers and ideas to keep ideas fresh and to make prospecting easier.