Question: Lisa, since everything is so up in the air right now is it appropriate for me to prospect?
Answer: As you can imagine, this is the number one question I have been getting over the last few weeks from so many salespeople. Everyone is wondering the same thing: “Should I be prospecting during this crazy time?” My answer? It’s a resounding “YES!”
As salespeople, the key function of our job is to keep the pipeline filled with good, qualified prospects on a consistent basis. Though it certainly feels like it, right now is no different. We must continue to prospect.
It is critical, however, that we look at our prospecting efforts as reaching out to people we can help as opposed to trying to “sell” anything to anybody. It’s an excellent time to reach out to former clients, past prospects and new prospects who might be able to benefit from your product or service.
Here are five things to keep in mind when reaching out:
- Pick up the phone. Many of my clients are finding that their calls to contacts ratio has gone up dramatically over the past couple of weeks since most people are working from their homes and are not out and about. You’re more likely to get someone on the phone these days, so make the call.
- Pre-call plan so you’re prepared. Have your key benefits ready, as well as the reasons why they should talk sooner rather than later. Also, be sure you have responses prepared to handle whatever objections might come up.
- Keep in mind the key components of an effective prospecting call. Here’s a reminder of the things you should be doing so you can achieve your ultimate goal: setting an appointment.
- Acknowledge what’s going on. This is an uncertain time for everyone, and you can’t act as though everything is business as usual. Modify your messaging to include a recognition of the times we are living in.
- Get the next appointment on your calendar. Utilize the alternative choice close, which provides them with two choices of possible future appointment times; by providing them with options, you’ll make it harder for them to push off the appointment. If possible, schedule these next appointments as video calls via Zoom or another provider so that you can get together “face to face”.
Above all else, be yourself. Stay conversational and be a good listener if they want to talk. People are looking now more than ever to connect with one another, so stay authentic and you’ll find people may be more open to having that preliminary conversation with you.