Prospecting Tips: Staying on the Right Track

1. Be persistent. Keep making telephone calls. Prospects actually appreciate persistence. They frequently see persistence as an illustration of how you will deliver when you get the account.

2. Do not ask your prospect, ‘How are you today?’ Generally, they will answer, ‘I am fine; what do you want?’ This immediately starts your conversation off on the wrong foot. Simply identify yourself and your company, and say what you have to say. If this is not a good time, your prospect will let you know

3. Do not ask, ‘May I have a moment of your time?’ Generally, your prospect will answer, ‘What do you want?’ starting your conversation off on the wrong foot. Assume the time is okay. Identify yourself and your company, and say what you have to say. If this is not a good time, your prospect will let you know

4. Do not ask, ‘Are you the person who purchases…?’ Your answer will probably be, ‘What do you want?’ or ‘What are you selling?’ You should have done your homework and already have a good idea of who the decision-maker would be. Allow your prospect to self-qualify. Tell your prospect about the value you offer, and let her tell you that she is the decision-maker. If you are still not sure, ask, ‘Who else is involved in this decision?’

5. Do not argue with your prospect or tell her that she is wrong if your prospect is uninterested or will not schedule a meeting at this time, do not tell her she is stupid, misguided or just plain wrong. Remember that your prospect’s priorities and your priorities are bound to be different. If you leave your conversation on a good note, you can continue to stay in touch, and perhaps the situation will change. If you have an argument with your prospect, chances are you will never get in to see her

6. Do not expect, on a cold call, that anyone will ever call you back. It is your job to get in touch with your prospect. If someone does return a phone call–consider that to be a bonus. Be persistent in pursuing your prospect. Take control, and take the power. I can think of nothing more frustrating than waiting by the phone for your prospect to call.

7. Once you have your prospect on the telephone, clearly identify yourself and your company. Get to the point. Articulate customer-focused benefits. Ask for what you want.

8. Your script must be written in a ‘real person’ conversational manner. We speak differently than we write. If your script is in written English, you will sound phony. Write your script the way you speak. Forget capitalization, punctuation or complete sentences. Real people don’t actually talk in complete sentences. You can underline or highlight the most important points of your script. If you have a hard time writing your script, speak into a tape recorder first, and then write it down.

9. Never, ever put your prospect on hold. You’ll lose your prospect’s interest and your impetus this way. Make sure to give your prospect your complete attention.

10. Don’t be stumped by prospect objections. Do your homework, and don’t be caught unprepared. If there are prospect objections that are unique to your industry or if a prospect voices an objection that you have not heard before, take the time to work out the answers. Then, try those answers out until you find an answer that works. Be creative, and be ready with your responses.

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