ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Selling Skills: Prospecting

Updated on April 29, 2017

Problem

The part of selling that I dislike the most and consequently battle through every time, is telephonic prospecting for new clients. It all sounds so simple. Just phone the prospect and get an appointment to see them. Not so easy in practice! This has got to be the most de-motivating aspect of any sales function.

Solution

Making appointments with prospects can be nerve-racking, difficult and yes, at times de-motivating. But there are techniques you can apply that will make this challenge much easier and certainly more effective.

Identifying your target market

The place to start is by correctly identifying your target market. If you do gain an appointment but find that your products or services are inappropriate, you have wasted your time. The following is a simple technique to enable you to identify suitable prospects. Take time to answer the following questions in detail:

  • Describe the type of customer that your product or service typically appeals to.
  • What type of Industry is it most suited to?
  • Where are these customers usually situated?
  • Who would be the right person to contact? (What position does the decision maker hold?)

Planning

Once you've identified your customer profile, you can use several on-line resources which often include maps of the area to help you locate prospective clients. It's then time for background work. Look at your own company records to check if you have ever dealt with the prospect in the past or are even dealing with them at present. To ensure that the call will be worthwhile, do some background research about the company's history, size, locations, strategy, values, products, people, etc., before trying to gain an appointment.

Time Management and Discipline

Prospecting is a structured activity. Set an objective to make a specific number of calls and don’t stop until you have achieved them.

During this time, ensure that no calls are put through to you, clear your desk of all other work and give this task your complete attention. It seems easy to justify delays in getting started, after all, this work has been uncomfortable in the past.

Strategy and structuring your call

The strategy required for gaining an appointment is very different to that of face-to-face selling skills. You cannot sell a high-value product or service over the telephone. Your main objective at this stage is TO GET THE APPOINTMENT, not to sell your product or service. You can safely assume that your prospect normally screens many calls from salespeople as part of a daily routine and so your call has to be professional, brief, assertive, and most of all, convincing. The following three-step strategy will help you to increase your rate of success.

1. Introduce yourself and your company

Confidently ask for your prospect by name, not by designation. Take the time to identify who you will be speaking to before you make the call. Introduce yourself and the company you represent clearly and briefly. It will help if you can mention a credible source of reference at this stage.

2. State the reason for your call

How will the prospect benefit by seeing you? Confidently provide a valid reason before asking for the appointment. For example, you might say, “We have an exciting new development that has been especially designed for your industry’s marketing needs.”

3. Ask for an appointment

Your main objective is to get an appointment and to do this you’ll have to use assertive closing techniques. For example, you could say, “I’m going to be in your area on Thursday and Friday, which day would suit you best?” When suggesting a convenient time to meet, give the prospect two alternatives and if neither one is suitable, ask for another.

Objections

If you are faced with an objection, and this is going to happen from time to time, keep trying until you get the appointment. Above all, don’t underestimate the power of the personal assistant and the typical role that this person plays. It is their function to shield the boss from unnecessary calls. Your manner should be warm and professional and at the same time persuasive. Don’t settle for sending brochures or e-mailing information. The chances are you’ll never hear from them again. You have to gain an appointment or you have failed. When you are gaining more appointments than you are losing, then consider yourself successful.

Summary

Don’t try to sell high-value goods and services on the phone! Your objective is to gain the appointment and you’ll need to sound professional, interesting and most of all, persuasive. Remember too, that referrals are a much easier way of gaining new business and this is usually only obtained by developing and nurturing long-term business relationships of trust.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • Russ Baleson profile imageAUTHOR

      Russ Baleson 

      6 years ago from Sandhurst, United Kingdom

      Hi Veronwe, glad to be of help. Russ

    • Voronwe profile image

      Voronwe 

      6 years ago

      This has been extremely helpful!!

      I have a part time job at the administration of a Health and Spa Club - annexed to a hotel that provides this recreation. And just last week, I was given additional duties from the supervisor - to secure appointments and such. Somehow managed the remaining week by sending emails and dodging...but your hub has been very very useful! Thanks so much...learnt a lot. Gotta stop emailing stuff now!

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)