Successfully launching a career, territory, or business means being present at events where the right people to use your product or service are in the audience, or attending an event where the connectors to your target market are present. Sports team talent scouts don’t go to a sports bar to find the next talent, they go to team practices and games where they network and evaluate the fit of a prospective player or coach to be added to their roster. This practice in sports is called scouting or recruiting. In business it’s called networking and prospecting.
Most people dread networking and prospecting and complete it with limited enthusiasm, leading to little material impact in the short term. Successful salespeople, on the other hand, are masters at networking and prospecting. They build and maintain relationships with influential people and exceed quotas with ease. This success is due to both an art and a science. The science is putting in the work, doing the work and behaviors consistently, over time. The art of prospecting is the nuanced style of the person, adapted to the industry or vertical. To maximize positive results when prospecting and make it feel less like a daunting task, follow these helpful time-savers and best practices.
Make the Right Connections
First, be more selective in your prospecting groups by going deep with your connections instead of wide. This strategy ensures that your trusted network knows your target market, the value you bring, and how you deliver it. This will make them more likely to open prospect doors for you and refer you to the best opportunities. Forging a smaller number of meaningful connections with the right people is a better use of your time than having a very wide network that will not lead to business generation.
Preparation is Key
Second, research and plan before prospecting, tradeshow, or networking events. Successful salespeople attend events where they can talk to their ideal client or a defined prospect persona within their ideal client profile. They plan and have targeted goals for each event and pivot in the events when they find or learn new information about attendees.
In addition to these time-savers, there are also best practices to follow. Start by planning your networking questions for others. Be well-read and well-versed in current events, industry headlines, and trends, and refine your questions around those trends. Gathering more meaningful information through these questions will allow you to build a stronger connection, faster.
Tell the Story
Next, have three solid stories prepared about how you serve clients and the value they received. These stories help your listener to feel the emotions surrounding the results and the success you deliver. Hearing how you have been able to alleviate pain points and meet the needs of your clients will allow them to see where you might be the perfect referral in the future.
To succeed in sales, it is crucial to practice, evaluate options, and prepare for every meeting as if it is a championship game. Rather than focusing on volume alone, focus on the right areas to drive the volume. By following these tips, you can make prospecting a more productive and enjoyable experience. Happy selling!