Learn The Best Sales Prospecting Methods and Tools to Super-Charge Your Sales Funnel Conversions
Ah. the never ending process of finding and qualifying potential customers.
There’s a problem however – especially for beginners.
And that’s this…
Depending on the information you read, you’ll be presented with a whole wide range of theories and ideas – enough to confuse and paralyse you.
One person will say this. Another person says that. This framework say one thing. Another framwork says something completely different.
I’m with you, it can get a little bit confusing.
But here’s the thing, and if you understand this it will make everything else you’re about to learn a lot easier to digest…
Outside a few process driven frameworks, the tactics and strategies you use to prospect will change and vary depending on the services you offer and the timing in the market.
Here’s what I mean…
Before anyone decides to put the cash down to purchase something we go through various stages in our brain; from being unaware right through to purchasing the service and even sometimes becoming a life long fan of that company.
As sales people we need to not only know these stages, but also how we interact and perform in each of these areas. Everything from the approach we come with to the language we use.
It’s also important to realise that sales funnels with differ depending on what you read – but, there are few key stages that all people go through.
In this guide we’re going to go through the first phase of this
The Sales Process
It’s important to understand the whole process.
There are typically 7 stages to the sales process. You may also see each stage named differently wherever you read it. I have adapted this process to include the steps needed to sell your drop your services:
- Prospecting: Someone you have not spoken too
- Initial Contact: First contact and getting them to schedule a call
- Assessment and Qualifying: Qualifying questions to understand the needs and wants from the prospect.
- Targeted Research & Planning
- Sales Pitch, Demo and Proposal
- Pushing Back Objections
- Closing the Sale
- Profit Maximizing
- Repeat Sales
What is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the first step you take in identifying, contacting and qualifying your target audience.
Identifying: This is where you’ll research your target market, and start collecting a list of leads based on the services you offer.
Contacting: You’ll need to make contact with these leads either through inbound or outbound marketing (more on that in a second…) and get their attention to your services.
Qualifying: Once you’ve made contact with these people it’s now time to understand their individual needs and desires and see whether you can both start a mutually beneficial relationship. That is, delivering the service the client wants and getting paid.
Typically the prospecting stage covers everything from the initial market research to the second point of contact.
Leads vs Prospects
Every eventual sale needs to start with lead generation. This is a act of collecting leads of potential customers based on the service you’re offering.
Depending on who you listen to and the books or website you read you may have a slightly different view of what a lead is and what a prospect is.
While on the surface it may seem a trivial thing to discuss, it’s actually very important. By categorizing and labeling your potential customers in the right way, you’ll have a much better chance of converting them.
In their simplest terms and to help you to distinguish between the two:
- Leads comes before prospects
- Leads are an unqualified prospect
- Prospects and qualified leads
So, leads are the people or businesses you’ve identified that can possibly benefit from your service. At this point in the sale funnel you haven’t had any communication with them.
Prospects on the other hand are qualified leads that you have had some sort of conversation with and they have confirmed that they are at least interested in what you have to offer.
Sales Prospecting Process
#1) Lead Generation
Your sales prospecting has to start somewhere – and that starting position is lead generation. Lead generation can take many forms and depending on the tactics and strategies you apply will head varying results.
To start building a database of details for your lead generation, now would be the time to familairise yourself with the 2 core marketing strategies used to get leads; inbound and outbound marketing.
Inbound marketing and prospecting is basically any marketing that involves putting out content that people find engaging and valuable enough that they initiate the first contact with you.
This contact can be downloading a free report from your website, a message in your Instagram DM’s or simply requesting more information using a form onsite.
As you can probably imagine the leads that you can collect from this type of marketing are absolute gold. Why? Because the lead has already raised their hand and indicated that they’re interested in wht you have to offer.
You’ll need to research the type of content your audience will respond to, but once you have an idea you then create the content and publish it on your:
- A Website or Blog
- Facebook Pages
- Instagram Profiles & Stories
- Books and eBooks
- YouTube Channel
Basically anywhere you can publish free content (text, video, infographics etc)
With inbound marketing you’re basically attracting your audience through various channels to engage with them, educate them and get them metaphorically raise their hand and ask for more information.
Attract, Convert, Close & Delight
So we’ve got a nice amount of content hitting the world. It helps our target audience. But, how are we going to make sure our audience finds that content?
Sales Prospecting Methods: Inbound Marketing
That’s where a little bit of marketing knowledge comes in handy. There are a whole host of ways to do it, but here are few ways in which you can attract your audience to your business. You can attract through:
- SEO: With a website or blog that targets specific keywords your audience is searching for. Usually when we talk about SEO we’re referring to Google but don’t just stop there. YouTube is a search engine in its own right and so is Pinterest if you know how to use it properly. If you set everything up properly, they’ll land your page, you’ll provide an answer to their questions and give them some way to initiate contact with you. Again, this can be through:
- Downloading a report and putting them into your email campaign
- Providing your details (phone number and/or email address) so they can get in contact with you
- Social Media: Using our Facebook Pages, Instagram Profiles and other social media channels such as LinkedIn we can post our content in a way that encourages our audience to watch, read or listen to our content. Then using this content encourage them to take action.
- Emails to Optin: Using either our blog or a specific landing page we can get our target auaidnce email address and then follow up with providing them content through email. Then using a specific email sequence look to turn those subscribers into customers.
- Paid Ads: Now, not all paid ads are inbound by nature – but, some are. Depending on how you decide to use paid ads in your strategy they can either fall into inbound or outbound.
How To Apply This to Drop Servicing?
All of the above strategies are great to grow your drop servicing agency – and I recommend you start building these out.
It’s also worth noting that, when looking for clients or customers on sites such as; Upwork, Freelancer and other marketplaces – these can also be considered inbound marketing strategies. Why? Because the first move was made by the potential client. They have posted a job within the marketplace looking for someone who has the skills that you’re offering. While I wouldn’t pin all your hopes on getting clients from places like Upwork, it should definitely be part of your strategy.
There is however one problem with inbound marketing – and that’s the time in takes to build and grow. Building a website that ranks on Google for specific keywords or, creating enough content on YouTube, Facebook and Instagram to attract your ideal clients takes time.
While there are ways to speed the process up it’s for this reason you should look to combine your inbound marketing efforts with…
Outbound marketing is the process of ‘going out there’ and initiating the first contact with your target audience. Sometimes referred to as Interruption Marketing, this side of lead generation typically pushes itself infront of the audience without our audience ‘raising their hand’ first.
In general both inbound and outbound are conciederd a ‘this vs that’ or one or the other – but never as a pair. This is where you can steal a march on your competitors…
Sales Prospecting Methods: Outbound Marketing
This type of marketing usually involves:
- Social Media Advertising: Designed to interrupt your audience by targeting them with ads within their social feed.
- Display Advertising: Ads you might see on forums, blogs and other websites.
- Print advertising: Found in magazines and newspapers
- Scraped lists: By using social media and google to find a list of potential prospects and then cold email, call, DM or text them using the details you’ve gathered.
The key with outbound marketing is to make it as personal as possible without coming across as traditional advertising or even worse – SPAM.
Now, it’s important to know that there are certain rules and regulations you have to follow if you when you follow these strategies:
How To Apply This Your Drop Servicing Agency?
Depending on the type of service your offering this will likely be one of the first steps in finding qualified prospects. While you’ll unlikely be using print advertising you may well be using scraped lists and social media advertisements to catch your audience’s attention.
Inbound Marketing vs Outbound Marketing
To sum up the difference between both; outbound prospecting or marketing interrupts your audience when they are not acivetly pursuing a solution to their problem while inbound focuses on creating high value content that readers tend to seek out themselves.
A great way they were both explained to me when I first started out is; outbound marketing is the ‘push’ while the inbound marketing is the ‘pull’.
Sales Prospecting: Lead Generation
So, by using a combination of both Inbound and Outbound marketing we can start to build a list of leads that we can start to build a relationship with and qualifying if they are suitable for out services.
Objective: The objective at this stage is to get a response from your leads and move them to making an appointment with you.
One we have a list of leads, it’s time to move onto the initial contact. What this looks like in practice will depend on how you acquired the lead in the first place – that is did your lead come through your inbound or outbound prospecting channel?
If your lead came through inbound marketing then you would usually use a combination of your blog, social media channels and emails to build and nurture the relationship turning them from a once cold lead to eventually a paying customer or client.
If your lead came through your outbound efforts you’re going to need to take a slightly different approach.
Different sales books and sales people have different strategies to cold email, call, DM and text. That said, the most popular ways to get in contact with someone tends be using one (or a combination of) the following places:
- DM’s: This includes; Instagram, Facebook and Youtube direct messages
- Website Contact Forms
- And the good old cold call
So, what do you say? Well, remember I said that within outbound marketing you need to make things as personal as you possibly can. That means creating an email that talks exactly to them and what you can offer that company or individual.
A great way to cold contact someone is to have a mixture of both what they’re doing right combined with what you could do to help them reach their business objectives.
‘But, how am I meant to know what their business objectives are?’
That’s an easy question to answer.
Every business has 2 objectives:
- Reduce unnecessary costs that don’t add value to their business
- Make sales
That’s it. Simple eh?
Well, simple, but not easy.
But, if you can show them how to do either one of those 2 things you’re already ahead of the game.
How do we do that?
Well, firstly if you’ve done your lead generation properly you shouldve already identified a list of prospects that can benefit from what you’re offering.
For example: You’ve gone to their website and found that the text on their services page could be updated and better written. In this case, by rewriting their main service page using an experienced copywriter you could literally increase the amount of sales they have – overnight.
Second you contact these businesses.
In your lead generation you shou;dve got at their email address and domain name. But, if you want to go a step further you can get their social media account information too.
At this point you’ll want to go through you list of high potential leads and start contacting them.
And what should you say? Well, there’s a few ways to do this.
Cold Messaging Leads
Ideally you’ll want to message your leads until they say ‘yes’ or ‘fuck off’ – really. But at the same time you don’t want to be messaging them so much that you waste time on leads that are never going to convert or worse yet end up with some SPAM complaint against you.
This isn’t about spamming people. This is about identifying areas in a business where you can improve and providing the service to your prospects.
So with that said I’d aim to have about 3 points of initial contact. I’d also mix up the places in which you try to contact them.
- First time email them
- Second time find their Facebook page and messaging through that
- And, then finally maybe a text and an email
Example #1: Here’s a quick example of a cold message you can send:
Just looking through your website at JohnIsFake.com and I really like the dentistry graphics you have on the services page. They do a great job of explaining what otherwise could be a scary time for some people.
I’d like to speak to someone in regards to the message on the page however. It could be re-written and restructured to be a lot more powerful and ultimately to sell more [ENTER SERVICE HERE].
My phone number is: 00 00 0000
Looking forward to hearing from you,
Most people just send an email, hear nothing back and then move onto the next lead and repeat until they run out of leads or run out of energy.
A better strategy is to not only mix up the place in which you message them but to also mix up the way you deliver your message. Different ways to get the attention of your leads could be:
- A simple written message (as the example above)
- A video explanation showing them the areas you can help them improve
- A voice note in Whatsapp or Instagram
- A selfie video in Facebook, Whatsapp or Instagram
- A short powerpoint presentation
And the list goes on.
The point to remember here is to mix up the places where you contact them and the types of messages you send.
Objective: Get on the phone and find out exactly what their pain points are and understand their position by asking qualifying questions.
Boom! You’ve got a lead who’s responded and it possibly interested in your services. Now it’s time to setup an appointment, get them on the phone and ask qualifying questions.
The questions you ask and the steps you take from here are vitally important as they’ll dictate the health of the relationship as the lead moves down the sales funnel.
The overall goal to this section of the prospecting process is to find out if:
- what you’re offering matches with what they need
- They’re interested to continue your the communication with you
- Interested in your service
- And have the means to pay you
If the answer to the above questions is ‘YES’ – then they have now moved into being a qualified prospect.
From here it’s all about crafting a perfect sales pitch, closing the deal and then if that all goes to plan – delivering a successful project.