Email or Call? The Best Way to Reach Out to a Prospect For the First Time
After all, first interactions with prospects are key -- you're aiming to establish trust, provide value, gather key information, and perhaps even secure a follow-up meeting. If you don't use the right medium, they'll be less receptive to your message (and that's assuming they engage at all).
Luckily for sales reps everywhere, more than 20 sales experts and practitioners on Quora decided to weigh in.
The Best Way to Reach Out to a Prospect For the First Time
When In Doubt, Email First
The majority of experts recommended starting with an email. "An initial email usually makes more sense because it doesn't require [the prospect to] answer at the moment they receive it," writes Robert Graham, author of Cold Calling Early Customers.
Plus, as others pointed out, you can use an email as a reason to call.
"I always start by referring to this first email to show we're one step further in our relationship," explains Stan Frering, head of Client Relationship Management for Easytrip France.
Emailing has a third advantage over calling, according to EchoSign co-founder Jason Lemkin. It lets you educate your prospect on the product's value proposition, and clearly connect it with the prospect's situation.
"The prospect needs to understand the value proposition first," he explains. "It needs to be very strong, and very clear. No one will take a random call about a product they've never heard of it's not 100% crystal clear they have a huge, pre-defined need for it."
When to Ignore the Email-First Rule
However, there is one exception to the "email first" rule.
Lemkin says once your brand has been established, it's time to start calling your prospects.
"If your prospect has already heard of [your company], they'll know if they want to speak to you about the product and learn more about buying," Lemkin writes.
For example, say you're a salesperson for Dropbox. You call a prospect and say, "Hi John, I'm with Dropbox, and I noticed your CEO tweeted that your company is almost out of free virtual storage. I'd love to discuss how we could get you some more so you can keep all your files in one place."
John already knows Dropbox and understands why it's a useful product -- so he's got a good reason to stay on the phone.
However, if you were selling a brand-new cloud storage solution, Lemkin argued that it would be better to send John an email first so he has more time to consider your value prop.
Not sure how much clout your company name carries? To quickly gauge brand awareness, go to Google Trends and compare how many people are searching for your company versus your top competitors. If your company gets the most searches, that means it probably has the highest name recognition in your space.
A Better Method Than Phone Or Email?
But to one expert, the question of "phone vs. email" is innately flawed.
SVP at LivePerson Sean Burke says that, in fact, your default shouldn't be calling or emailing. He recommends using your network to get an introduction -- great advice, considering that having a referral makes a buyer five times more likely to engage.
"You'd be surprised how often this crucial first step is ignored," Burke writes.
Once your mutual connection has agreed to introduce you, ask him or her which communication method the prospect prefers. Most people have an individual preference for calling or emailing.
However, if you don't have a shared connection, Burke suggests looking at the prospect's social media presence. If she is "social" -- meaning she's got 500-plus LinkedIn connections and an active Twitter or Instagram account -- use those channels to interact with her and start adding value. If she's "traditional" -- meaning she doesn't meet those criteria -- Burke gives you the go-ahead to call or email.
Whatever You Do, Don't Cold Call or Spam
While opinions differed on the relative merits of calls vs. email vs. social media, the experts were unanimous on one point: You should never reach out to a prospect via any channel without doing research first.
"Ultimately, you are in a much better position -- either calling or emailing -- if you have background information on the person you are contacting," notes Jeremy Boudinet, head of marketing for Ambition. "That way, you can tailor your message off the bat, since you have an idea of how you can add value to that person or company."
Sales Email or Sales Call? Experiment and Find Out
Although these guidelines should definitely guide your prospecting strategy, don't forget they're just that: guidelines. "Why not take a test-and-learn approach to this problem?" writes Nick Dellis, Weebly's VP of Business Development. "What works for you may not work for others."
Dellis suggests emailing first, then calling with 10 to 20 prospects, doing the reverse with another 10 to 20 prospects, and comparing the results.
"Taking this approach of testing ideas and optimizing is the only way to find out for yourself," he says. "And it'll help you be a better salesperson in the longer term."
First Contact Email
If you choose to start the conversation with an email, be sure you include a rapport-building element and communicate your value proposition.
Not sure what a first contact email should look like? Here's an email template you can use to start your outreach.
Medicare Blog | Medicare News | Medicare Information
How To Do One Thing At A Time
In his 2013 book, The ONE Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results, author Gary Keller reminds us that everyone has 24 hours in a day. So why do some people earn more, achieve more and get more done? They “go small,” he says:
“When you want the absolute best chance to succeed at anything you want, your approach should always be the same. Go small. ‘Going small’ is ignoring all the things you could do and doing what you should do. It’s recognizing that not all things matter equally and finding the things that matter most. It’s a tighter way to connect what you do with what you want. It’s realizing that extraordinary results are directly determined by how narrow you can make your focus.”
Going small to follow one path sounds easy, but there are fresh opportunities and shiny objects around every corner. Distraction is everywhere. There are times when you want to test the waters, and creativity often requires sampling. But if you truly want to move the needle, it demands a narrow field of vision.
For example, our company always chooses an annual focus area. Last year was about data. Across all our teams and functions, everyone worked to boost user productivity by leveraging data. That task looks different for each employee, but we’re aligned with a single, shared goal. When you focus on what’s important, the results can be incredible.
Lay out all the options and pick what really, truly matters. Set your focus area and stick to it.
Start as small as possible
The advice to “go small” works on multiple levels. Choosing your goal or main project is the first step. Then, once you know what you’re trying to achieve, zoom in closer.
When we’re working on a major project, I always try to step back and ask: “What’s the smallest version we could create that would still produce results?” Once you have that mini version, gather feedback. Refine and work your way up to a bigger, better model. Keep going, and you’ll achieve more than you thought was possible.
Create automated systems
Technology is far from foolproof, and until recently, our admins were constantly tackling server issues at 3 a.m. Every time it happened, I reiterated the need to find a real solution – one that didn’t require midnight wake-ups.
Eventually, we installed automated tools that tell us, for example, when our servers are 80% full. They notify us again when the servers reach 85% capacity. Now we never hit that 95% panic zone. We’ve automated an issue that drained our focus.
Systems aren’t exciting, but they are essential. Create efficient processes and automate as many steps as possible. You’ll free up valuable time and energy to stay focused on your “one thing.”
Designate a leader
Sports teams need coaches and captains. Orchestras need conductors. Group activities almost always function better when someone’s leading the way, even if the work is highly collaborative. At JotForm, all of our cross-functional product teams have leaders – and good ones dramatically increase both focus and productivity.
So what makes a strong leader? In my experience, it’s someone who can make quick, smart decisions. They listen closely, gather information and make choices that move the group closer to its goals.
If you’re working solo, it’s equally important to step back from your daily tasks and measure what matters. Be your own leader. You can always reach out for help, too. Whether it’s a friend, colleague, mentor or advisor, a different perspective is often highly valuable – but remember that the final decisions are always yours.
Explore – within your boundaries
All this talk of single-minded focus can sound really dull, especially if you’re a creative person. I get it. But doing one thing at a time isn’t about boring yourself into efficiency. There can still be room for exploration if you create clear boundaries. Build your sandbox, and then you can play in it.
Because we spend a full year chasing one big goal, our teams are welcome to follow some tangents along the way. There’s no rush to the finish line. I also realize that off-the-wall ideas can spark innovation, so we encourage experimentation.
If your team is eager to explore, set some markers so you don’t get lost. For example, our Friday ‘demo days’ are the time when everyone checks in and shows what they’ve done. If a team has gone off the rails, we can gently bring them back on track. Usually, though, we’re excited about what they’ve accomplished.
You can set up markers as a solopreneur as well. Think of your project as a large circle that contains lots of smaller circles or checkpoints. Once you have those boundaries in place, you’re free to wander.
Set tech limits
In a 2010 study published in the journal Science, Harvard University psychologists Matthew A. Killingsworth and Daniel T. Gilbert discovered that people spend almost 47% of their waking hours thinking about something other than what they’re currently doing.
Even more striking? Distractions make us unhappy. As Killingworth explains, “Mind-wandering is an excellent predictor of people’s happiness. In fact, how often our minds leave the present and where they tend to go is a better predictor of our happiness than the activities in which we are engaged.”
That’s a stunning thought: being focused can actually make you feel better, regardless of what you’re doing. From starting a business to finishing a spreadsheet (without checking Instagram), single-tasking will not only help you achieve great results, but you’ll enjoy the process a lot more.
Startup gurus and productivity experts have endless suggestions to help you stay focused, but here’s what consistently works for me:
Box your time. Creating time limits is oddly motivating (and effective). Whatever you want to do, try ‘boxing’ it into a set time period and ignore distractions, including email, calls, texts, making coffee, alphabetizing your bookshelf or grooming the cat. Get laser-focused for that set period of time and then take a break. Repeat as needed. You can apply this same principle to projects, teams, products or just about anything else that requires true focus.
Box your energy. We all have energy limits. Even the so-called “sleepless elite” (high performers like Pepsi CEO Indra Nooyi and fashion designer Tom Ford) will eventually run out of fuel. Doing one thing at a time will preserve your precious energy. And just like time-boxing, you can get even more intentional about shifting your energy toward what matters.
For example, if I have a big interview or presentation on my calendar, I’m careful about what I schedule around it. I try to avoid meetings. I get more sleep. I eat more leafy greens and I do what I can to stay relaxed. I’m ‘boxing’ my energy toward an important goal.
Make a clean break
In June 2018, the makers of a message board app surveyed more than 11,000 employees at 30 of the biggest technology companies. They asked: Are you currently suffering from job burnout? More than 57% of participants said yes.
Many people are struggling to stay on what can feel like a treadmill without a ‘stop’ button. The tech-fueled blur between work and personal time can be difficult – and confusing. And if you’re an entrepreneur or business owner, it’s all in your hands.
The solution? Create as many boundaries as you can, within your sphere of influence. As much as possible, separate work from your personal life. I know this might sound overly simple, but even if you work from home, it’s up to you to create real limits.
Set office hours, for example, and don’t clock in outside those periods. When I leave the office, I do everything I can to leave work there, too. I want to be present for my family. I want to enjoy my time with them – and I need to rest and recover. I don’t work on the weekends, either. If I do have a new idea on Sunday afternoon, for example, I’ll send a quick note to myself (but I won’t dig into it).
If I want to share something with a team member, I will send them an email, but I’ll write ‘FOR MONDAY’ in the subject line. If I see emails at night, I remind people that they should wait until the next morning (and then I try to take my own advice).
Take real time off
I can’t say it enough. Even if you’re working hard to build a business or accomplish great things, downtime is not optional. You need to rest. Your body needs to recover, your brain needs to consolidate all those inputs, and you’ll be infinitely happier and more productive if you give yourself a break.
The data confirms it: After a vacation, 64% of people say they’re “refreshed and excited to get back to [their] job.” Hiking in nature and staying disconnected from all devices for four days can lead to a 50% spike in creativity. If employees took just one extra day of paid leave each year, the result would add $73 billion in output to the US economy.
So, whether you’re crafting a business plan, writing a novel, lifting weights or perfecting your Bolognese sauce, give it everything you have. Do that one most important thing and then move on. It’s that simple – and that powerful.
How to Develop Empathy with Your Prospects and Close More Sales
The robots are coming. And they're here to take your sales job.
At least, that's what we're afraid of. It might be true that technology can be integrated into many steps of the sales process. But, thankfully, it can't do everything.
For now, there are a number of skills computers can't learn, and one of those is our human ability to create empathetic connections with prospects and customers.
This is a key ability for the modern seller. Develop empathy and you'll enjoy more effective sales conversations. More importantly, you'll build a skill set that’s in demand and hard to replace with technology.
What is Empathy?
Quite simply, empathy is the ability to understand the emotional state of another person and respond appropriately. It doesn't mean you have to feel the same thing (that's sympathy).
Empathy is your capacity to sense what’s going on in someone's else mind and guess at the best way to engage based on your understanding of that perspective.
How Empathy Drives Sales Conversations
At its heart, sales has always been about the interpersonal engagement between two people. We always hear about sales professionals being "people people." That's simply another way of saying they’re empathetic.
When we talk about emotional intelligence, one of the most important things we're referring to is the ability to recognize, understand, and respond to the emotional state of others in an appropriate way.
Think about your sales interactions. Key steps include building trust, uncovering needs, and creating confidence. If you can't do those well you're not going to find a lot of success.
All of them are driven by sales professionals' ability to create a bridge with their prospects. By picking up on the subtle and not-so-subtle clues that our conversational partners apply, salespeople with high emotional intelligence can create stronger connections and more easily influence others.
This is especially important as sales processes get more complex and involve more people. It's critical to be able to understand the motivations and thoughts of everyone involved in the process. In a world where information is a commodity, you need to be more than a source of facts and figures.
You need to possess the ability to engage on an emotional level and become a resource for potential customers. If you want to guide them through their buying journey, it's imperative you connect on the human level.
Tips for Developing Empathy
Luckily, your emotional intelligence isn't a fixed trait. Much of your empathy is developed as you mature, but it's a muscle that can be exercised and improved. There are actually pathways in our brains called mirror neurons. They have evolved to recognize and respond to the hundreds of small, usually unnoticed, signals people give off when they interact.
Taking it a step further, as we grow up, we develop what neuroscientists call the Theory of Mind. It describes our ability to put ourselves in the place of someone else and see things from their perspective. It also allows us to understand others might have thoughts, feelings, and motivations causing them to do what they do. And it's why you can pick up on the unspoken signals of your friend and ask, "What's wrong?" before they even have to tell you they just had a bad day at work.
Building your ability to pick up on these signals, and learning how to interpret them, can pay huge dividends. And it's not complicated. You don't have to take special classes or training seminars.
In fact, your daily sales activities provide constant opportunities to build your capacity. Here are five exercises you can use to cultivate your empathetic skills.
Medicare Still Doesn't Cover Dental Care. And That Can Be a Big Problem.
This is a good read on the lack of dental coverage provided by Medicare and the important role of a insurance agent to help keep beneficiaries covered. PSM offers an array of dental plans available to our agents along with the guidance on how to best incorporate into your business.
From the article...
Many people view Medicare as the gold standard of United States health coverage, and any attempt to cut it incurs the wrath of older Americans, a politically powerful group. But there are substantial coverage gaps in traditional Medicare. One of them is care for your teeth.
Almost one in five adults of Medicare eligibility age (65 years old and older) have untreated cavities. The same proportion have lost all their teeth. Half of Medicare beneficiaries have some periodontal disease, or infection of structures around teeth, including the gums. Bacteria from such infections can circulate elsewhere in the body, contributing to other health problems such as heart disease and strokes.
And yet traditional Medicare does not cover routine dental care, like checkups, cleanings, fillings, dentures and tooth extraction.
Paying for dental care out of pocket is hard for many Medicare beneficiaries. Half have annual incomes below $23,000 per year. Those who have the means, but are looking for a deal, might travel abroad for cheaper dental care. Tens of thousands of Americans go to Mexico every year for dental work at lower prices. Many others travel the globe for care.
Although low-income Medicare beneficiaries can also qualify for Medicaid, that’s of little help for those living in states with gaps in Medicaid dental coverage.
According to a study published in Health Affairs, in a given year, three-quarters of low-income Medicare beneficiaries do not receive any dental care at all. Among higher-income beneficiaries, the figure is about one-quarter.
Traditional Medicare will cover dental procedures that are integral to other covered services. So if your Medicare-covered hospital procedure involved dental structures in some way, important related dental care would be covered. But paying for any other care is up to the patient.
Lack of dental coverage by Medicare is among the top concerns of beneficiaries. The program also lacks coverage for hearing, vision or long-term care services. However, many Medicare Advantage plans — private alternatives to the traditional program — cover these services.
For example, 58 percent of Medicare Advantage enrollees have coverage for dental exams. In receiving these benefits through private plans, enrollees are also subject to plans’ efforts to limit use by, for example, requiring prior authorization or offering narrow networks of providers. These restrictions can be problematic for some beneficiaries, and about two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries opt for the traditional program, not a private plan.
Adding a dental benefit to Medicare is popular. A Families USA survey of likely voters found that the vast majority (86 percent) of likely voters support doing so. The survey also found that when people do not see a dentist, the top reason is cost.
Ms. Willink’s study estimated that a Medicare dental benefit that covered three-quarters of the cost of care would increase Medicare premiums by $7 per month, or about 5 percent. The rest would need to be financed by taxes.
The cost of such a benefit might be offset — or partly offset — by reductions in other health care spending, reflecting the fact that poor oral health contributes to other health problems.
Making a case for this in the political arena would not be easy, though. The initial cost would be an inviting target for politicians who express concern about fiscal prudence, regardless of any potential long-term gain. But expanding Medicare has been done before.
In 2006, a prescription drug benefit was added to the program. The law for that program was enacted in 2003, and in that same year, the surgeon general released a report calling for dental care to be treated and covered like other health care. Whether by Medicaid or Medicare, that wish is still unfulfilled.
As you can see, more than ever it is important to carry a strong dental product in your portfolio. We would love to assist with any questions you have and make sure you offer this comprehensive coverage to your clients
A Comprehensive Guide to Talking to Prospects on the Phone
If you’re not comfortable on the phone, sales probably isn't the career for you. Learning how to capture and keep someone's attention without physically being in their presence is a skill all salespeople need. It’s also a skill that demands constant practice and improvement.
This guide covers everything from pre-call preparation to sales script tips. More of a visual learner? Scroll down, or click here, to see a detailed infographic from The Gap Partnership.
Phone Sales Tips
Make Sure You’re Comfortable on the Phone
There are a few basic characteristics everyone needs in a phone-centric career like sales. Don't have the characteristics outlined below? Either practice until you do or look for another gig.
Never dial the phone without preparing. Whether you’re taking your first call or your 400th, there are a few things you should do before every meeting:
Achieve a Relaxed Voice
You can sense when someone’s smiling on the phone, right? It’s not just your imagination. Talking with a grin creates a higher frequency in your mouth which changes the tone of your voice and reassures the listener.
To practice this technique, record a sentence in your own non-smiling style. Then record the same words again with a smile and notice the difference.
Also, you can achieve a relaxed and persuasive tone by putting your voice’s most powerful tools to work. Here’s how:
Take these examples:
• Apathetic: “What would you like us to do about it?”
Convince Your Listener
They key to running professional calls is being aware of how your physical cues are impacting your prospect and the energy of your meeting. Here are a few things to be aware of:
Use Your Call Script Successfully
Call scripts are there for a reason. Practice with them, but keep a few other things in mind before you jump on a call:
Be a Good Listener
Easier said than done. Many salespeople railroad their prospects with too many questions, giving them little or no time to respond.
Others ask too few questions and simply throw out solutions without really understanding their prospect’s unique use case. Here are a few tips for being a good listener who really “gets” your prospect:
Have Great Timing
The best time to conduct outreach is on Thursdays between 8:00 am and 10:00 am and again between 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm. The worse time to call someone is on Tuesdays between 11:00 am and 2:00 pm.
You can also use timing to get a leg up on your competitors. Know they’re calling prospects between 9:00 am and 5:00 pm? Try phoning prospects outside this timeframe to stand out, and maybe reach high-level prospects who normally have a gatekeeper screening their calls.
Don’t overwhelm prospects with your intense enthusiasm. Starting a sales calls with an eager “Hey! How are you [prospect name]!?” might come off as a pushy and inauthentic.
Maintain a genuine tone and mirror your prospect’s demeanor. A less salesy way to keep things light is by sprinkling positive language into your call. Here are a few examples of cheerful language:
And don’t forget to establish rapport. The best way to start off on a positive note is to be polite, honest, and personalized with your prospect. Use their name, give them your full attention, and take ownership of follow up and next steps.
Close with Style
All of this is worth nothing unless you close the call well. Be clear, offer a review of what you’ve discussed, and always thank your prospect for their time.
Successful phone calls are an art. Master these techniques and see more deals move forward and your peers and managers take notice. For more information on selling Medicare Supplements and Medicare Advantage Plans over the phone, check out this resource page: http://www.psmbrokerage.com/sell-medicare-supplements-online or contact us at 800-998-7715 to request information.
Sales and Marketing = Creation and Capture
No one works in sales without having losses. Some of those losses are the result of errors, bad choices, poor strategy, or sloppy sales approaches. Some of those losses are the result of circumstances that are difficult to overcome. You can do everything right and lose, and you can do many things wrong and win. Either way, losses come with the territory.
Client issues are also part of sales. Even if you own the outcomes you sell your clients with someone else being responsible for doing the work that generates those outcomes, because you promised your client better results, they are going to look to you for help and for answers. You are accountable for the outcomes you sell, or you put future deals at risk (or more likely, you never see the new opportunities at all).
Selling is made up of two major outcomes. The first outcome is opportunity creation, and it requires that you do the work of prospecting, whether you like that work or wish there was another way. The second outcome is opportunity capture. The first outcome always precedes the second. The workload for opportunity creation is equal or greater than the workload of opportunity capture.
There will always be someone with a lower price that sells by suggesting they can produce the same result at a lower price point. Much of the time, these competitors will have an irrational pricing model that would cause you to lose money, and you will struggle to understand how they stay in business. But when they have been in business for decades, the only way you beat them is by creating greater value, not by explaining that they can’t survive with their pricing model.
Selling is not situational. It is individual. There are always salespeople who succeed at selling the most commoditized, undifferentiated products and services and do well for being able to so. There are also people in sales roles with the most compelling, differentiated offer who struggle to sell what should be a much easier sell. There are intangibles that count for a lot more than most people recognize, and these tangibles are not commonly taught or developed. Success then, is a product of developing yourself.
Independent Agents Hold a Significant Advantage over Insurtech Startups
Insurance agents can provide something their insurtech rivals cannot: a human touch.
Independent insurance agents don’t need to fear that they’ll be replaced by insurtech startups powered by artificial intelligence. Recent studies reveal that insurance customers still want to talk to a live agent, especially when they need to file a claim or buy a complex product.
According to a recent survey conducted by insurance technology provider Vertafore, 60% of nearly American consumers worry that an AI-generated insurance purchasing process might automatically reject their coverage request, even when a human agent would likely give them a policy. Even tech-savvy Millennials shared this concern, with nearly 50% claiming that they’d prefer to buy an insurance contract from a live agent.
These findings are no surprise to Vertafore’s Chief Sales and Marketing Officer BJ Schaknowski. Speaking at recent conference, he stressed that since insurance is a complicated subject, people feel more confident speaking to someone who can guide them to the “right protection for their family and business.” The Vertafore survey is all the more evidence that independent agents can still compete with insurtech startups.
Build Relationships through Technology
As the Vertafore survey indicates, consumers overwhelmingly prefer human interaction when buying insurance, as 72% said they were turned off by the prospect of purchasing it with a chatbot. Insurance agents, however, cannot ignore recent technologies that are rapidly transforming the industry. Prospects and clients expect a user-friendly and robust web presence, complete with digital portals that enable them to search for information, submit payments, or handle basic inquiries.
Rather than resist these services, successful agents utilize the latest technologies like online lead generation systems, automated email and marketing campaigns, and AI-powered programs to engage with clients and prospects more regularly than ever. In other words, they use technology to cultivate a deeper relationship with their clients — not as a vehicle to offload all customer service functions to a digital system. When an agent responds to a client’s comment on Facebook or Twitter or through a text, he or she is doing so as a human — not a bot.
The challenge for independent agents in today’s tech-driven world is to set themselves apart from their insurtech rivals by providing a human touch — even when that human touch comes through technology. It’s what clients and prospects alike want and expect.
How to Be Professionally Persistent
If you are going to win your dream clients, you are going to have to pursue them over time. This means that you are also going to have to communicate with them at a cadence that keeps you top of mind, and it means you are going to need to do so without being a nuisance or a time-waster. Here are a few values-based ideas to help you persist while maintaining your professionalism.
Relationships Are More Important Than Transactions: You have a choice to make as you persist. If you decide to push hard for what you want, being overly-aggressive and pushy to gain the commitment you want, you will be proving that what you want is more important to you than the relationship. The “whatever it takes” mentality is useful, but it should not include the lack of integrity and caring that underpin all great relationships. If you must choose between having what you want now and having the relationship, choose the relationship. This is how you play the long game, and it is what allows you to persist.
Always Trade in Every Interaction: In every communication, you have the ability to create value for the other person. You can share some idea that may help them—even if they don’t do business with you right now. You have a chance to learn something about your prospective client that will allow you to better serve them in the future. You are not only shaping their view of what they are doing and how they might do better, you are also shaping their preference to work with you by shaping the relationship. If every call and every email is a straight ask and nothing else, you are not trading value.
Persistency Requires Consistency: One of the major differences between people who professionally persist and those who don’t is that they don’t think of it as developing a relationship. You’ll want to pay attention here if this is something you need to do. If you call your dream client every January, you really aren’t being persistent. If you call every quarter with nothing to say, you are checking the box, and that means there is no real interest. Professional persistence requires consistency of communication over time. If there are long stretches of time where you disappear and go dark, the lack of consistency makes it easy to reduce your request for time, or some other commitment.
Being professionally persistent isn’t tactical; it’s strategic. It is an operating principle when it comes to producing the results you want, and especially as it relates to winning your dream clients. And it’s how you play the long game.
Prospecting: What You Need to Know Now
You have to do it: You have to create opportunities. If you are in sales, you are responsible for creating new opportunities, and that requires prospecting. There is no way around it.
You have to do more of it than you think necessary: If there is a challenge in sales right now, there is none greater than creating enough opportunities. A little prospecting generally doesn’t work. More is better. More than that is what’s required.
Consistency is King: Consistent prospecting produces better results than cramming. Daily is better than weekly. Daily is better than three call blocks throughout the week. Daily is better than any other strategy you might believe serves you.
Cold calling is a Ferrari: If you want speed to results, you use the phone as your primary medium for prospecting. If you are overwhelmed with opportunities and independently wealthy, you might choose another medium.
Email isn’t really prospecting: If no one can hear you ask for a meeting, and if there is no one there for you to whom you make your case for time, then you aren’t really prospecting. Email is for nurturing relationships.
Speaking of nurturing: If you aren’t nurturing your dream clients over time, then you cannot expect to be known for the value you create when you finally have the opportunity to ask for meeting.
The failure to prospect hurts later, not now: You can go days without prospecting. Weeks, even. You might be able to go months without creating a single opportunity. Then, two quarters from now, you have an empty pipeline, and there is no way to build one fast enough.
Your prospecting is not my prospecting: Some people are so effective as to be able to create more than enough opportunities quickly and easily. Others can spend days working targets and produce nothing. What works for you is good if you reach your goals. What is wrong for you might be right for someone else.
Social selling is an above the funnel activity, not prospecting: Nurturing relationships is important. So is establishing yourself as someone with ideas and insights. But if you are not asking for a meeting, it isn’t prospecting.
No one can do your prospecting for you: Not your SDR. Not your marketing department. Not the content creators that work in marketing. Not the event planner that gives you the attendee list of the conference you are attending.
Opening is the new closing: No opportunity is ever closed without first being created. No opportunity is captured before it is created. The top of the funnel is where the action is. The bottom of the funnel is easier.
There is no right time to prospect: Mondays are fine. So are Tuesdays. Thursday aren’t magic. Neither is Friday late, or Saturday morning. The best time to prospect is always now.
If you want to be a rain maker, make it rain. Order takers are going to quickly find themselves disintermediated.
Helping Those in the Lone Star State:
How to Effectively Answer, "Why Should I Do Business With You?"
No matter what industry you’re in, you’ve likely received some form of, “Why should I do business with you?”
When most salespeople hear this question, they go into tap-dance mode and immediately list all the reasons why they’re great: “Our company is the best, our service is outstanding, we’ve been around for 100 years, and we have the best quality.”
Of course, your prospect expects you to say this, because your competitors are using this same response.
Think about it -- everyone claims to have the best quality and service, even if it isn’t true. Read on to learn how you can switch up your approach, dominate the competition, and capture your prospects’ attention when they ask, “Why should I do business with you?”
1) Start by saying, “I’m not sure that you should.”
Again, your prospects are expecting a tap dance, so this response will completely catch them off guard. It may be unexpected, but it’s also the truth: You’re never sure a prospect is a fit until you’ve had a thorough conversation. Not only is this response more genuine, but it also boosts your credibility. After all, no doctor claims to have the answer until they fully understand the problem at hand.
2) Explain, “I’ll need to know more.”
This shows prospects it isn’t a lack of confidence making you unsure whether they should do business with you. Instead, you’ll come off as the expert who never rushes to make a judgment. While most salespeople swear they’re a solution to everything for everyone, you’ll show that you take a prescriptive approach.
3) Ask, “Would it be okay if I asked you some questions to determine whether I can actually help you?”
This critical question flips the entire interaction on its head. Instead of your prospect grilling you while you perform, you’ll be the one asking the questions -- with their permission. This relieves any pressure to pitch your product or service, instead letting you focus on fully understanding whether there’s a fit.
4) Prompt them by saying, “Tell me about the biggest challenge you’re facing right now.”
This simple prompt allows you to engage your prospect on the real issues they’re facing. At this point, your conversation is no longer about your offering and is instead centered around what the other person hopes to accomplish. This is how to start a value-based conversation with any prospect -- and it’s radically different from the typical conversation that begins with the challenge, “Why should I do business with you?”
To get more insight into improving your sales approach, take this free one-minute sales strengths-finder quiz.