is it that some sales reps consistently earn a six-figure
annual income while other reps, putting in the same hours,
selling the same products, and trained by the same sales
manager struggle each month financially to make ends meet?
The answer to this question is painfully simple; the
six-figure sales reps understand the importance of business
development and never forget to ask for referrals.
Top producing sales reps set high standards for themselves
and spend the majority of their time either actively
prospecting for new business or closing sales. Successful
sales reps set productivity goals, establish priorities, and
don’t waste their precious time hanging out in the break
room or taking two-hour lunch breaks.
Top producers don't need to be reminded to ask for referrals
on a daily basis or follow-up on hot leads, because they
understand that prospecting for new business is a necessity
and not just an activity. The good news is that prospecting
for new business, like any other learned skill set, can be
trained and developed into a habit.
Six Powerful Prospecting Tips to Build Your Business
Tip One: Don't Forget to Ask for Referrals.
When it comes to asking for referrals, timing is everything.
Research indicates that the most effective time to ask for
referrals is right after you've made the sale or provided a
valuable service for your customer. Asking for referrals
prior to closing the sale is a big mistake and may even
jeopardize the sale itself. Once the sale has been
completed, your customer will be on an "emotional high" and
far more receptive to the idea of providing you referrals.
When you ask for referrals, your goal is to get as many
names written down as you can. Just keep asking... Who else?
Once your advocate has given you all of his or her
referrals, then go back over the list of names to get
details on each prospect.
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Train and Reward Your Advocates.
An advocate is a person who's willing to go out of his or
her way to recommend you to a friend or associate. Most
customers are initially reluctant to provide referrals
without some basic training and motivation.
Once you're given a prospect, it's a good idea to take the
time to role-play with your advocate to demonstrate how to
approach and talk to their referral. A brief role-playing
exercise will build your advocate's confidence and keep them
from overeducating their referrals. During your role-play
session, be sure to prepare your advocate to expect some
initial resistance. This training will pay big dividends by
making your advocate more effective and less likely to
become discouraged when faced with rejection. Always take
the time to thank your advocates and give them feedback on
the status of their referrals. I recommend that you call
them and then follow up by sending a thank you card and or
Tip Three: Strike While the Iron is HOT.
Prospects, like food in your refrigerator, are perishable
and therefore need to be contacted quickly. Each day you let
slip by without making initial contact with your referral
dramatically reduces the probability of you making the sale.
Develop the habit of contacting your referrals within
two-business days or sooner. Have a system to keep track of
your referrals so they don't end up falling through the
cracks. It's critical to have a computerized client contact
management system to record your remarks and track future
contacts and appointments. Relying on your memory alone is a
very poor business decision that will cost you dearly.
Tip Four: Schedule a Minimum of Two-Hours a Day for Phone
Make your phone calls in the morning while you and your
referrals are both fresh and alert. Treat your prospecting
time with the same respect you would give to any other
important appointment. This is not the time to check your
e-mails, play solitaire on the computer, make personal phone
calls or chat with your associates.
Avoid the temptation to try and sell your product or service
over the phone. Your objective for every phone call is to
create interest, gather information and make an appointment.
If your prospect asks you a question, get in the habit of
going for an appointment rather than giving a quick
Don't shoot from the hip use a script. It's important to use
a phone script when you contact your prospect so you don't
leave out any key information. It's a good idea to role-play
your script over the phone with your sales manager until he
or she feels you sound confident and professional.
Tip Five: Qualify Your Prospect at Maximum Range.
Unfortunately, not every prospect will be interested or
qualified financially to purchase your products or services.
Successful sales reps don't waste time chasing after
low-probability prospects and know when it's time to cut
their losses and move on.
Tip Six: Don't Take Rejection Personally.
Selling, like baseball, is a numbers game pure and simple.
Rejection is to be anticipated as a natural aspect of the
qualification process, so don't take it personally. Learn
from rejection by using it as a valuable feedback mechanism.
Salespeople who take rejection personally lack perseverance
and seldom make the sale.
For the majority of salespeople, prospecting for new
business is without a doubt the most challenging and
stressful aspect of the selling process. Selling is a
contact sport and daily prospecting for new business is the
key to every salesperson's long-term financial success. By
integrating these six powerful prospecting tips into your
daily business routine, you'll be able to keep your
appointment calendar packed with qualified prospects!
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not
the attitude of the prospect.”
- W. Clement Stone
John Boe presents a wide variety of motivational and
sales-oriented keynotes and seminar programs for sales
meetings and conventions. John is a nationally recognized
sales trainer and business motivational speaker with an
impeccable track record in the meeting industry. To have
John speak at your next event, visit
www.johnboe.com or call 937-299-9001. Free Newsletter
available on website.