If you want more sales, odds are you need more prospects. But there’s more to prospecting than just raw numbers. And that trips up a lot of salespeople.
“Prospecting is not a complex process,” asserts Mark Hunter in the first chapter of his new book, High-Profit Prospecting. “It’s simply finding people who can and will buy from you.” Like so many things in life though, simple does not mean easy. And in this well-written book, Hunter elaborates on the prospecting challenges that today’s salespeople face.
The decline of the telephone and the emergence of email and other communication tools did not cause the evolution of prospecting. Rather, what caused it to change is a shift in knowledge. When I was prospecting twenty-five years ago, I had all the knowledge about my product—if the customer wanted to know anything, they needed me. Today the customer has the knowledge, and….the ability to choose from any number of options and companies. The customer now has the ability to ignore you, the salesperson. If and when they’re ready to buy, they often can make the purchase online without ever contacting a salesperson. The evolution of prospecting is not due to the number of communication methods available, but rather to the shift in who has the knowledge.
Hunter argues—and I agree—that in order to succeed in this new reality, salespeople need to combine some of the tried-and-true methods of the past with new digital tactics in an effort to deliver value and build confidence from the first contact on.
To that end, Hunter shares a wide variety of tactics you can use to improve every aspect of your prospecting, from planning to execution, including:
• 7 Things Motivated People Do to Stay Motivated
• 9 Places to Look for Prospects
• How to Tailor Your Prospecting Plan to Your Market
• 6 Ways to Separate Prospects from Suspects
• 10 Ways to Get a Phone Number
• How to Get Past the Gate-Keeper
• 10 Best Practices for Prospecting With the Telephone
• 11 Rules for Leaving a Great Voice-Mail
• How to Prospect with Social Media
Hunter also includes sample phone scripts, e-mail templates, and more, so you don’t have to struggle to figure out what to say. Simply adapt his words to your product or service!
Another element of this book that I love is its emphasis on profitability. (As you might expect of a book entitled High-Profit Prospecting.) Hunter makes an excellent point:
The type of leads you get will determine the price you get. If you’re not getting the price you want…the problem might be your prospecting process and specifically whom you’re targeting in that process.
Prospecting is not about going after whoever will talk with you or whoever you get routed to. Prospecting is about focusing your efforts toward the person(s) with the greatest potential to deliver not just a sale, but also a sale at maximum price.
With this in mind, Hunter discusses the differences between the “tactical buyer” and the “strategic buyer.” And the ideas he lays out all focus on reaching and working with the people who will value everything you bring to the table, rather than price-buyers.
High-Profit Prospecting is a book that lives up to its name. It’s easy to read, practical, and comprehensive. It will help you acquire not just more prospects, but more quality prospects. Which means not just more sales, but more profitable sales.