From Suspects to Prospects (Part 1)

When we hear about prospecting over the phone, or more commonly referred to as “cold calling”, we often imagine having to pick up the phone, calling someone whom we don’t know, and pushing a product or service to that person. But is “cold calling” really just that?  The answer is a definite No.

Most sales people fail miserably when prospecting over the phone due to a host of reasons including:

1.  Not knowing your personal prospecting style
2.  Insufficient pre-call planning
3.  A very poor opening
4.  Failure to share the “compelling reason” quickly
5.  Inability to make it into a 2-way communication
6.  Poor positioning of the call for action
7.  Inability to deal with objections

Let’s start with “Prospecting Styles”

Everyone is unique in terms of how they approach customers, build rapport, communicate and handle objections.  This is great!  One should be encouraged to develop their unique skills, strengths and talents.However, while the unique approach to prospecting is encouraged, there are some pitfalls to be aware of and a few exceptions to this rule.

Review the following styles and ask yourself if the characteristics describes your typical style of calling.

Type #1: Mr “Pressure Cooker”

This prospector operates with the “old school” mindset of using high-pressure selling tactics to generate results.  He believes that the only way to sell a product is to “push” the product down the customer’s throat.

Characteristics:

– Puts his personal needs and objectives above his customers.
– Relies on tactics and other manipulative tools to achieve his objective.
– Believes in “one shot one kill”.

Type #2: Mr “Freestyle”

Is a person who is absorbed in his reality and just does not know when to stop talking.  In fact, he doesn’t even remember how the conversation starts.

Characteristics:
– Does not follow standards as he believes that each prospect is unique.
– Thinks off-the-cuff and makes things up as he goes along.
– Exploits his charm and personality to compensate for the lack of system.

Type #3: Mr “Hi and Bye”

His aim will likely be to go from ‘hi’ to ‘bye’ within 30 seconds.  To him, speed is the objective in cold calling is a race. His goal is to beat the time invested in his last call.

Characteristics:
– Believes that the faster he goes through his pitch, the more inclined his prospect will be to buy from him.
– He repeats himself often as his customer is not able to catch his words in the first place.
– Believes that if you give the prospect an opportunity to say “no”, they will.

Type #4: Mr “Copycat”

In his quest for perfection, this prospector is eager to learn and adopt new tips and techniques into his cold calling approach.  He keeps changing his style.

Characteristics:
– Avid reader and often self-taught when it comes to developing his selling competencies.
– Always wanting to try any new cold calling approach that he can get his hands on.
– Feels that his own communication style, strengths and talents are not up to mark. Thus, he often emulates others.
– Tends not to prospect as much as he should in the quest of the perfection.

Type #5: Mr “Yes, Sir”

He wants the prospect to be happy.  While this is an admirable trait, it acts as a barrier to his cold calling efforts because he will say “yes” to everything that he is told to do.

Characteristics:
– Generally more timid in his approach – will do anything to avoid confrontation.
– When the prospect raises a concern, he sees it as an objection instead of interest.
– Quick to send brochures or marketing collateral in the hope that the materials do the selling for him.

Type #6: Mr “Know-It-All”

He is a guru in this trade, product or profession.  If you need to know anything (eg. technical data, statistics, etc), he’s the person to speak with.  He can tell you the who, what, when, where, and why of everything.

Characteristics:
– In his quest to educate his prospects, he actually over-educates them by providing too much information.
– At times, he turns an easy purchasing decision into a complex one.
– Makes the prospect feel as though they need more time to make an informed decision.

So what should every prospector works toward? The ideal is Mr. Role Model!

Type #7: Mr “Role Model”

This is the icon of professional prospecting and what everyone should be.  Mr “Role Model” has all the good qualities that the other types of prospectors possess, yet without their pitfalls.

Characteristics:
– Persistence and confidence of Mr “Pressure Cooker”
– Enthusiasm and Charm of Mr “Freestyle”
– Efficiency and organisation skills of Mr “Hi and Bye”
– Drive for continuous improvement and learning of Mr “Copycat”
– Desire to serve of Mr “Yes, Sir”
– Product and industry knowledge of Mr “Know-It-All”

Stay tuned for more installments of “From Suspects to Prospects”.  Meanwhile, feel free to contact us should you require sales training.  We currently have more than 70 exciting programmes!

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