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Sales Prospecting: It’s Not All About You

sales prospecting, phoneSales prospecting isn’t about you. It isn’t about your company, your products and services, or sharing links to your website.

At least not right away. That comes later. Once you’ve established initial contact, developed a rapport, and spent some time learning more about their business, their challenges, and their most pressing needs.

You’ve got limited time to try to establish a connection and get your message across with a prospective client.

But that doesn't mean you should start off with a generic, one-sided pitch as soon as someone picks up the phone or opens an email and you’re pretty much going to sound like lyrics from this Toby Keith song. Come on and sing it with me…

“I wanna talk about me
Wanna talk about I
Wanna talk about number one
Oh my, me, mine
What I think, what I like, what I know, what I want, what I see
I like talking about you, you, you, you, usually but occasionally
I wanna talk about me”

What? No?

I have to say this is the first time I’ve ever referenced a Toby Keith song in a blog post. And I’m not quite sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing?

Be mindful of a sales prospect’s time

After you introduce yourself (a quick snapshot of who you are and why you’re calling—not a 5 minute elevator pitch about the company), ask if you’ve caught them at a bad time.

Read more >> Setting Realistic Sales Goals

As much as we’d like to think people are just sitting around waiting for us to call, that’s almost never the case. You want to give them a chance to shift gears from whatever they were working on prior to your call.

If you sense a slight hesitation, offer to call back at a time that’s more convenient for them (ideally you can pin something down before you let them go).

Ask questions

The single best way to start a dialogue and gain insights you can use to tailor your proposal based specifically on the unique challenges they’re facing at that particular moment—something that’s totally impossible with those generic, one-sided pitches referenced earlier.

Assuming they have a few minutes to chat, ask a few open ended questions such as: 

“May I ask you how you are handling XYZ?” 
“What are some of the most pressing issues you’re facing?” 
“What does success look like?” 
“Who is typically involved in the decision making process when evaluating an outside vendor?”, etc.

Read More >> 8 Steps to a Successful Sales Call

Based on their responses, look for opportunities to ask follow up questions while also being mindful of their time. In other words, if you asked for 5 minutes at the beginning of the call, don’t try to string them along for a half an hour.

Tailor each sales proposal

It’s impossible to create an effective sales proposal if you don’t know what problem you’re trying to solve.

Use each interaction and touch point with prospective customers to gather firsthand insights so you can better understand their most pressing needs. When you do, you’ll find they’re much more receptive than if you go into straight Toby Keith mode.

[Image: Phil Roeder]

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