Sales prospecting can be the most time consuming and least rewarding element of your business if it is not successfully managed with a carefully thought out strategy. A succession of no’s or prospects that eventually run cold can quickly become disheartening to even the most enthusiastic salesman. Make sure you’re working smarter and more effectively by implementing our prospecting tips.
Making sure a prospect is a good fit for your agency and in a niche that you have some experience in, is vital for successfully drawing up a proposal for what you can offer them. Not all business is good business and in some cases, if it is not in a sector that you are comfortable with, it can quickly lead to more stress than they are worth. It may be best to work out a list of industries that you have worked with before or are related to your current clients, and work from there. If you work with a third party such as InvisiblePPC, you may find that they will only take on clients from certain industries, as well as a list of other criteria that the prospect has to meet to be a suitable fit. Knowing what the niches are will not only cut down a lot of wasted effort, but also help you build a stronger selling point, as you can confidently give projections of success backed up with historical examples.
Thankfully, the days of cold calling have long passed us by, however some agencies are still employing similar tactics when it comes to their initial contact with prospect clients. In a perfect world, the first communication should be more organic than reaching out with a proposal. Instead, agencies should be utilizing their social media to reach out in a manner that creates a mutual ground and talking point. Liking a company’s post, commenting on an event and simply taking interest in a service can quickly become the start of a conversation that has no threatening undertone of a sales pitch.
If your client has found their way to you, your initial contact needs to show that you appreciate their initiative, that you welcome their interest and that you value their business. This means ‘welcome/thank you for your interest’ messages need to be concise, relevant, interesting and prompt. Too generic can quickly leave clients feeling underappreciated and unimpressed with your brand’s lack of identity. If the message comes later than anticipated, it does not set the working relationship off to a good start.
This doesn’t mean your agency has to be particularly old, just that you have become a trusted name in a niche within your industry. Having a little authority behind you means that lots of prospects will find you with minimum expended effort, but it also gives your outreaching efforts some weight. This does not mean you have to suddenly become an industry influencer to secure clients, but by working on your personal brand, it helps give confidence that you can replicate the process with others. This also helps you with your initial contact. Discussing your theories as an established name or even chatting about a recent project you were part of can give you a platform that will organically grow into a working relationship.
Doing some research to build out a proposal of the services you could offer and the projections of the performance they would expect to see is a powerful selling tool. This is made much easier if the prospect is in a niche you have worked with before. You can quickly call up average Cost Per Clicks, Cost Per Acquisition range and number of leads range based on the minimum budget. If you are a proven success in this industry, case studies may also be worth investigating to help add weight to your pitch.
This is also the time to solidify your Standard Operating Procedure and include it in your proposal. By setting the boundaries early, whether that comes to communication hours, pricing or even a probationary period, it means no one can be surprised or disappointed further down the line. It also means you do not have to have the awkward conversation with a client who is taking up too much of your time with superfluous requests, or at least cut down the number of times you have that conversation.
On The Call
When it comes to discussing a prospect, whether on a call or face to face, you need to have confidence in what you are selling. While scripts may feel restricting and lacking the flexibility to react to your client, knowing your key points, jotting down relevant statistics (with notes so you know what they apply to) and giving a nod towards your strategy will help you keep your cool. Getting flustered, losing the thread of the conversation, or going off piste can quickly derail your well planned sales call and you can end up losing the client’s trust. Remember the three C’s, Clear, Concise and Confident.
You can do all the hard work, with an organic initial contact, a beautiful welcome email, and a confident sales pitch, however if you don’t follow up, the lead can quickly go cold. There is a fine line between a gentle reminder and harassing a potential client. If you find a format that works, use it as a template and make it relevant to suit your needs.
Each client will respond to different forms of communication. While some will prefer a call to re- acquaint themselves with your services, a more formal email would be better if someone wants to have some time to think about it. As long as you follow up within two or three days to keep your services fresh in their mind, you should be standing in good stead.