SALES PROSPECTING TECHNIQUES: INITIAL APPROACH STRATEGIES
Phone Versus Face-To-Face
Of course when it comes to sales prospecting techniques, if you can get a face-to-face meeting with a prospect, take it, but don’t underestimate the power of the telephone when it comes to sales prospecting techniques.
Just as your prospects’ time is limited, so is yours. You must use the telephone to qualify – or rather disqualify – prospects. The biggest waste of your time is taking a trip on a plane or a long drive to have a face-to-face meeting with a prospect who is not really a prospect.
Use the telephone to make the initial contact when appropriate. This way you can ask key questions that will help you to decide whether it is worth it or not to visit the person – or spend your time finding more qualified prospects.
When it comes to sales prospecting techniques, once you do qualify a prospect, a face-to-face is your best bet to closing a sale because you’ll be able to control your presentation and build rapport better when dealing with a prospect in person.
Prospecting is mostly done by telephone because it is time- and cost-effective. The downside of using the phone, however is that you have little control over the situation. The prospect can cut you off abruptly or even refuse to take your call. You can get caught in voicemail limbo – always getting the prospect’s voicemail and never getting a return call.
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Mail, Faxes and Email
Direct mail and email are very cost-effective but because it is so cheap and easy to send a letter or an email – your competitors are flooding your prospects’ inboxes just as you are.
Because of the prevalence of mail and email, many pros that we have interviewed send faxes to break through to decision-makers. You might want to try faxes as well.
Whatever you do, test all of these methods and see what works best. If after awhile, you find that you are getting better responses through certain methods and not from others, shift the time you spend to the better-response method.
All too often, when it comes to sales prospecting, salespeople only rely on one method. They get comfortable just making calls or knocking on doors or sending out fliers. It is important to find out what has worked for others in the past – and keep testing to see what keeps working and what doesn’t.
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The More, The Merrier
We at the Sales Career Training Institute suggest using multiple methods at once. For example, send a letter, fax or email and then follow up with a phone call.
This way, you can better your chances of breaking through – plus, if you do get through on the phone, you have something to refer to and discuss. Also, you can call just to confirm the receipt of the letter or fax, and use that as an icebreaker to start the conversation with the prospect.
If they don’t remember your correspondence, discuss the key points that you made in the letter, fax or email, and at the end of the conversation, suggest sending it again for their records.
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