Is prospecting easy?
No, it’s the hardest part of selling. If you are good at it, you belong to the elite club. The reality is that most salespeople struggle to pick up the phone and make that call. Why? Well, many have not been trained well on how to do prospecting, and hence, it becomes like your first day at the big deep swimming pool; you know how to swim, but jumping in is something different. In sales, picking up the phone to a prospect comes with a certain fear of failing, the fright of embarrassment or worse, being rejected.
Do prospects need salespeople?
This anxiety is even elevated by the fact that 67% of the buyer’s journey is now done digitally, so apparently, prospects don’t need you as a salesperson that much anymore, and buyers indicate they are a step ahead of the average salesperson (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/prospecting-stats ). Prospects are also not too keen anymore to tell you their challenges because they expect you to know these. They have no time to explain what is keeping them up all night. Whereas in the past, buyers were keen to meet with sales reps as being a good source of information, now they feel sellers are not adding that much more value. You may recognize this when you receive more than often prospects and existing customers cancelling meetings on you. I hope that is not the case, but if it is, you are not alone. These signals are, unfortunately, the reality of today.
So, what is the good news?
Well, although digitalization has helped many businesses be better informed about options to solve their issues and challenges, recent research indicates that many still need help (http://www.curata.com/blog/the-buyers-journey-demystified-by-forrester ). And they are very specific about how they would like you to help; nine out of ten buyers actually want to hear from sellers IF they provide industry and market insights and give them new perspectives on their challenges. They are interested in research data relevant to their business, and an average of seven out of ten will take a call when you bring your business case (https://blog.hubspot.com/sales/prospecting-stats ).
Wow! In other words, come prepared with insights and ideas relevant to the challenges your prospect is working on and can possibly shed a different perspective on their situation. Then, they are willing to meet or spend more time with you on the phone.
The key learnings for the Salesperson
Your product knowledge is not going to be the big differentiator because the buyer is most likely already up to date. So, stop boring the prospect with that. The added values you thought would be a big differentiator between you and your nearest competitor are also not going to do it; businesses see less difference between what you offer and the competition. They don’t think you are particularly different. In today’s world, everyone is innovative, solutions-oriented, customer-focused, and—of course—green. Your product and added value knowledge may become important, but the buyer is not really interested.
Instead, focus on how you can your prospect grow their business. Do whatever you have to do to understand their challenges quicker and bring value to the table they had not considered before.
Trust and use your experience.
A Sales Enablement platform can point you to the right insights to share with your prospect. It will help you stay up-to-date with industry trends and challenges, so you have a faster understanding of what is keeping your prospect up all night. You can refer to that in your first call or meeting and what you see with other customers and how they approach these challenges. Even without a Sales Enablement platform, you can follow the same path. You don’t need a tool to tell you what you experience every day with your customers. Have your ears open when they talk about their challenges. Now, can you share an insight or an idea that shifts the prospect’s perspective on their situation? Can you share what a better future looks like? What would be the impact on the prospect and their customers making a supplier change? I am sure prospects would make time finding answering to these questions together with you.
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