Welcome back to week two of our 4 part sales series, this week we are going to look at the big need of you getting known. Or making yourself known to your prospects and customers.
This step is known as Prospecting!
Last week we looked at research and this week, now that we know our value and who our clients are and what they need, now we have to get them to know us and want to meet us to begin the sales relationship!
So what does prospecting mean and involve? It means to be looking for clients who have a need an issue or challenge that your business can solve.
Then you begin the process of connecting to that prospect in order to have a meeting and explore the idea of working together.
How do we prospect? In today’s business world there are numerous ways. One key way is to Network!
Networking is about joining the myriad of business networking groups that are based in your community.
The logical choice group for business networking to me is to join the local Board of Trade or Chamber of Commerce.
In Canada, log onto the Canadian Chamber of Commerce site to access the appropriate Chamber or Board of Trade in your area at www.chamber.ca and in the United States tap into the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at www.uschamber.com
The Chamber is not only a place to meet other business owners but also it can be a terrific resource for information to help you research your venture. It’s also the voice or a lobby group that acts on behalf of Small Business owners to ensure the governments are acting in good faith when it comes to legislation, programs and incentives for small business.
Your local Chamber or Board of Trade hosts business meetings and networking events. As you attend and meet other business owners, you get to share your ideas, tips, tools to help others that attend. It’s a givers gain mentality you need to have when networking and the goal is to build relationships and have those that you meet be dazzled and amazed at how great you are! In other words look at building trust with those you meet!
There are a ton of networking groups in your area, the Chamber/Board is my first choice, but there are others like BNI, (Business Networking International), trade associations, women’s groups, moms in business, men’s networking groups etc… the list is long, choose wisely!
You can also log onto www.meetup.com and look up a number of business and social groups to tap into and attend. With the meet up groups, the listings vary, so if you have different interests that need to be met, chances are you will find a meet up group that matches your specific need and goal!
What happens at these networking events is that ideally you will meet some cool people to work with.
They will like what you’re up too and you will want to learn more and work with those you meet at a networking event.
One rule of thumb at a networking event or a cold call is never to sell, just get someone curious enough about what you do, so that they will want to meet you!
Once you meet, network and agree to connect with each other afterwards – the prospecting process or that call to book a meeting is a lot easier than making a cold call. You’ve warmed up the call.
Other ways to warm up the prospecting process is to write, speak, volunteer in your community, just get known for the great work you do and focus on your reputation and helping people before going after the sale at every turn.
Use your social media strategically! Educate and inform prospective clients on Facebook, Linked In, Twitter and Instagram for example. Showcase your value, inform and entertain those you serve. Use social media to engage, enroll and to build relationships. Oh and most of all use social media to position yourself as the kind of company you want to be known for!
If you’re truly helping others, they will come to you, you won’t have to cold call so much. You have literally built a reputation as being someone in the know in your industry and when you communicate that knowledge by networking, writing, speaking, volunteering, I promise you, your reputation will warm up the cold call time and time again!
I am not against cold calling or prospecting – sometimes opportunities arise where you have to talk it up to a stranger. Never be afraid to talk about the value of what you do when you meet someone for the first time.
Value by the way is the sum of the benefits you offer a potential client minus the cost equals your value. Your products have value, your products do something to help someone else. You need to get clear about how your products help someone and what they do to better the lives or businesses of others and be able to communicate that in a prospecting call.
Your services have value too…be clear on how your services helps someone’s life or business and be able to articulate that too in a cold call or prospecting call…Do your services save money or time? Do they reduce pain? Give someone pleasure and ease?
What is the end result? What do your clients and prospects get when they work with you?
Your other benefits focus on brand and relationship benefits. A brand benefit is when you trust the brand, you know it, you can rely on it, you can count on it. Think of McDonalds and Heinz Ketchup here – they do a great job of focusing on the brand. Even a two year old knows about McDonalds.
If you’re new or relatively new in business, when it comes to branding you, you want to first of all have a consistent look, logo and feel to your company, you want to be consistent in what you do for your clients and be consistent in the field you’re in.
Great companies have failed because the customer didn’t know what they stood for anymore. I think Sears in both Canada and the U.S. needs to re-invent itself and focus on its successes and communicate that time and time again to reinforce a more updated, positive and successful image.
The customer isn’t clear on what Sears is up to and what their unique offering is. Look at the branding and positioning work that Wal-Mart or Joe Fresh, they are clear in communicating their Value!
The last bit of value is about the benefits of the relationship your clients have with you. What do they think of when they think of you?
When you think of Fedex what do you think of?
When you think soft drink what brand comes to mind?
When you think of a tissue to sneeze in, who do you think of?
These companies have done a good job at positioning themselves in the mind of its customers so that when you think of that product or service you have a positive feeling and relationship towards them and that their company is the one you will want to do business with.
Lastly, here is a cool formula for what and how to introduce yourself at a networking event or in person at a trade show, conference, in line at the grocery store…or on an elevator when your best prospect steps in and on the elevator with you and asks what you do!
Try this elevator pitch on for size!
Do you know when? State a problem…
What we do is…state how you solve a problem and then introduce your name and company name and greet people proudly!
Here is an example of an elevator pitch:
Do you know when your toilet or plumbing gets clogged in the middle of the night and you have no clue as who can fix it at that time?
At Plumbing Boys we are open 24 hours a day and will come to your door within 2 hours of your call and fix the clogs right away!
I am Bob Smith and at Plumbing Boys, we love clogs!
Do you see how different that pitch is? It is focusing on people who have a certain pain at a certain time and you are clear in communicating how you can solve that pain. If anyone in the networking session or on the elevator ride with you ever has that problem, chances are they will call you!
Questions for thought this week:
1) Ask yourself this…What do you want to be known for in the minds of your customers?
2) How can you warm up the prospecting process?
3) What are the benefits of your product or service? Can you list
Next week we will look at how to make great calls!
Have a great week!