12. Eliminate calls to less worthy prospects.
At the core of bad prospecting is inadequate (non-existent?) target selection. Dumb, wasteful and can be fixed with just 3-5 hours of effort. “Profile” your current and previous best accounts. Identify clones of those accounts. Call them first.
In many organizations multitudes of grade A prospects are not being called, but the drudges and the worthless are. Segment by worth. Call in priority order.
13. Have a Plan “B.”
Reality check. Even if you are successful, most of the time you reach people when they don’t need you. Many will buy from competitors 3, 6 or 9 months down the road. How many times has a prospect told you “No,” then spent a gazillion dollars with someone else soon after?
If you absolutely can’t get the meeting, have a “Plan B” for a permission-based touch system that oozes credibility and value. When they are ready, they think of you. When you call back, you are a trusted advisor and have a different level of conversation.
14. Segment targets by potential worth.
Your process must enable you to identify and differentiate the mega type opportunities from the average or low-profit or no-profit opportunities. If you don’t know the difference, your limited resources will be squandered.
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15. “No’s” are good. “Maybe’s” are death.
Be adept at getting clear “Yes’s” and “No’s.” When people “get” your value and credibility they say “Yes” or “No.” “Maybe’s” are death in prospecting. They doom you to dwell in low-probability land. Time spent wandering in this wilderness is time not spent calling and following up on grade A prospects.
16. Let go at your point of diminishing returns.
At what point would you be better served by letting go, stopping the chase and pursuing a new target? If you don’t know, you are doomed to fail. Know your point of diminishing returns and stop there. If not, you are making a conscious choice to dwell in low-probability land.
17. How many calls does it take?
On average, studies show and my experience confirms that it takes 6-8 dials to get a specific decision-maker to pick up the phone. For top decision-makers at larger companies the average is 9-12 dials. Your call process must be consistent with this level of dial activity. Less than that, you have no right to expect a conversation.
18. Benefits must be delivered at the first meeting.
Why should someone meet with you? To get a benefit at the meeting. They give time, you deliver benefits. You want them thinking, “Even if I don’t buy, it sounds like I will learn a lot at this meeting.” Learn to communicate worthwhile benefits that can be delivered at the meeting.
19. Get the meeting.
Your prospects do not control what you do. You control where you invest your time and resources. Always steer a conversation that wanders off course back to your agenda – get the meeting.
20. Don’t be a “send some info” wimp.
Are you a wimp? When people say, “Send me some info,” do you reply, “Um-OK.”? For shame. By your own action and decision, you doom yourself to low-probability land, frustration and little results. Learn how to respond so that about 1/3 of those say, “OK, I’ll meet.”
21. Assume they are a buyer from “Hello.”
Don’t chase them away with 20 “qualifying” questions or ask them if “they are the person in charge of ________?” Why not just chase them away with a stick? Assume they are a buyer. Say the things that buyers will respond to from word one. Don’t spend a second worrying about the non-buyers. Worry about communicating value to the buyers. Since you don’t know who the buyers are when you hear “Hello,” assume they are a buyer and say the words buyers would respond to. Seconds and words are important and you have none to waste on non-buyers.
Those that have no need or are displeased by the interruption will still have no need and be displeased after they know what you might do for them. They are no worse off. However, if you structure your script so that within the first few seconds you give buyers “cause for pause,” 100% of those who could be great future accounts will continue to listen.
22. Three questions that cost you big time.
Do not say, “Hi, how are you today? This is Pauline Perky from Super Service Group and I was wondering if you have a few moments? Is this a good time to talk?” Why not just shoot yourself before you pick up the phone?
Nobody cares. You don’t care about how they are doing and they know it. So any such drivel wastes precious seconds. It also gives them time to conclude that you are like all the others that call and waste their time. You sound like them. Why shouldn’t they conclude that? People in authority to sign big checks are busy. Why would you give them an opportunity to tell you they are busy and terminate the call before you tell them what you do and how credible you are.
It takes 30 seconds to cover all bases. Most people feel more comfortable with social niceties on the first contact. They cost you. They do nothing to communicate value and credibility to buyers (and you don’t know who the buyers are yet) within the first few seconds of a call. Communicate value and credibility to buyers so they recognize you are worth their time and unlike all the rest.
23. Voicemail scripts:
Leave your name, company and number at the end.
Keep that finger hovering with an interruptive statement upfront that signals to those who have a need that you can fulfill, that this is worth listening to. Keep the whole voicemail to 20 seconds or less. Your name and number goes at the end.