Question 1: What do sales professionals want to accomplish on prospecting calls?
- To reach the prospect directly.
- To “qualify” that prospect (usually by asking a lot of questions).
- Assuming they get “good answers” to set up an appointment or some other appropriate next step.
Question 2: What do prospects want to know when you call them?
- Who are you?
- What do you want?
You’ll note that these two agendas are in direct opposition to each other. Unfortunately, many sales professionals are creating objections by following their own agenda rather than their prospect’s agenda.
Because sales professionals are generally taught that they need to ‘qualify the prospect’ they often start conversations with a new prospect as follows:
“Hello (Prospect Name). My name is (Name) and I’m with (Company Name). May I take a moment of your time to ask you some questions to determine whether we might be able to help you (Fill in the Blank)?”
Many sales professionals tell me they believe they are being respectful of a prospect’s time by asking, “May I take a moment of your time…” and that this question also serves to help in that all important qualification process.
The above script, however, does not answer the prospect’s two top questions: 1.) “Who are you?” and 2.) “What do you want?” When a prospect doesn’t have the answers to those two important questions, they frequently will not engage. Prospectors end up in a struggle before they’ve even really started.
So what’s the solution?
- Do your homework. Pre-qualify your list and make sure that you are only calling prospects that fit your well defined parameters.
- Create a solid introduction based on how you (your company, product or service) helps customers.
- When you get your prospect on the phone, get to the point. Saying what you have to say clearly and succinctly actually is more respectful of your prospect’s time then floundering around trying to convince a skeptical prospect to answer your questions.
When you follow your prospect’s agenda rather than your own, you will be astonished to discover how easy it can be to engage with prospects.