Fanatical Prospecting: The Ultimate Guide to Opening Sales Conversations and Filling the Pipeline by Leveraging Social Selling, Telephone, Email, Text, and Cold Callingby Jeb Blount
Dive into the game-changing strategies that will transform your sales approach. Fanatical Prospecting equips you with effective techniques to tackle common sales hurdles and master the art of cold calling. By reading this book, you will learn how to convert skeptics into loyal customers, enrich your sales pipeline, and elevate your sales performance!
The Seven Mindsets of Fanatical Prospectors
Sales superstars are incredibly successful because they never give up on prospecting. They don't let excuses, fear, or procrastination get in their way. They always have their business cards ready and are willing to strike up conversations with strangers.
Prospecting is the most important part of the sales process, and it requires a lot of effort and dedication. To be successful in sales, you have to stay focused and motivated, even when things get tough. That's what fanatical prospecting is all about – having an intense focus and an unwavering enthusiasm for finding and talking to potential customers. There are seven mindsets that fanatical prospectors embody: optimism and enthusiasm, competitiveness, confidence, relentlessness, an insatiable thirst for knowledge, systematic and efficient approaches, as well as adaptability and flexibility.
Actions to take
The Four Objectives of Prospecting
Many salespeople nowadays lack clear objects, which could lead to aimless pursuits.
Having clear objectives for each sales call is essential because it makes you more efficient. When you know what you want to achieve, you can organize your prospecting efforts around those objectives. This not only helps you save time but also gives you a compelling reason to persuade prospects to accept your requests. You understand exactly how to bridge the gap between their needs and your offerings.
There are four core objectives to consider in prospecting: setting an appointment, gathering information and qualifying, closing a sale, and building familiarity.
Setting an appointment is the most valuable activity in the sales process. It means scheduling a meeting with your prospect, whether it's in person, over the phone, through a video call, or a web conference. The key here is that both you and the prospect agree on a specific time and date. This way, you don't waste your time going to or calling prospects who aren't expecting you.
Gathering information and qualifying prospects is another objective to focus on. Successful sales professionals are smart about this. They understand that time is money and spending it on prospects who won't buy is a waste. They know that qualified buyers are hard to find, so they want to make the most of their time by engaging with prospects who are likely to make a purchase. When you've already prequalified prospects as potential buyers, your objective is to set an appointment. But with prospects you haven't qualified yet, your main goal is to gather information.
Closing the deal is the third objective. In cases where you're selling low-risk or relatively inexpensive products or services, your primary goal during prospecting should be to seal the deal instantly. If prospecting through e-mail, text, or social media, your main objective should be to transition the interaction into a sales conversation that results in closing the sale. Accomplishing this requires you to be quick, confident, and fundamentally proficient in the sales process.
The last objective is building familiarity. While it's usually a secondary or tertiary objective in prospecting, there are times, especially in strategic prospecting campaigns, when it becomes the primary objective. Building familiarity takes time and happens gradually through ongoing prospecting activities. That's why smart sales professionals create strategic prospecting campaigns that leverage different channels to systematically build familiarity with their target audience.
When you have targeted prospecting lists with specific objectives tied to the right prospecting channels, your efforts become easier, faster, and more impactful, leading to much better results.
Actions to take
Leveraging the Prospecting Pyramid
Salespeople often struggle with figuring out where to start in the prospecting process. That's where the "Prospecting Pyramid" comes in. It's a helpful framework that helps salespeople group prospects based on their potential value and the likelihood of closing a sale. By using this pyramid, salespeople can focus on the most promising prospects who are ready to buy. Here's how it works:
At the bottom of the pyramid, you have thousands of prospects that you don't know much about. You might only have their company name and some contact information, but you can't be sure if it's accurate. As you move up the pyramid, the information gets better. You start getting solid contact information like email addresses. You might also find details about competitors, product usage numbers, budget size, and other demographic information. Plus, you might uncover the contact information of decision-makers and influencers.
As you climb higher up the pyramid, you begin identifying potential buying opportunities. You have complete contact records for decision-makers and influencers, including their social profiles. Further up, you have conquest prospects, which are the top opportunities in your territory. These are the big fish you want to focus on, and the list is usually limited to a select number, like 10, 25, 50, or 100.
Moving closer to the top, you have hot inbound leads and referrals. These are prospects who have shown strong interest and have reached out to you. Finally, at the very top of the pyramid, you have highly qualified prospects who are almost ready to buy. They might have an urgent need, their contract might be expiring soon, there could be a trigger event, or they might be entering a budgetary period.
To make the most of the prospecting pyramid, you need to make it a habit to gather qualifying information every day. This means focusing on finding out about buying windows and key stakeholders. By doing this, you can move prospects up the pyramid based on their readiness to make a purchase.
Actions to take
Building Familiarity with Prospects
The more your prospects know about you, your brand, or your company, the more likely they'll respond, engage, and do business with you. That's why it's important to invest time and effort into building familiarity with them. When prospects feel familiar with you, it reduces the risk for them to give you their time. There are five effective ways to build that familiarity: consistently reaching out to prospects, getting referrals and introductions, networking, making your company and brand recognizable, and establishing a strong personal brand.
Actions to take
Social selling is the process of using social media in sales. It's important in today's business world because social media provides a lot of information about potential buyers. This information helps sales professionals understand their behavior, preferences, and triggers, which can be useful for selling. However, with the increasing amount of data and ways to access it, social media can also be overwhelming and expensive.
At its core, effective social selling involves building a personal brand as a recognized industry voice, organically attracting potential customers, staying informed about key trigger events and buying cycles, conducting diligent research to refine pitches, and making proactive outreach efforts.
To further refine this methodology, many professionals abide by the five C's of social prospecting. This includes forming genuine connections, crafting original content that resonates, sharing relevant existing resources or content curation, seamlessly turning interactions into actionable outcomes or conversions, and maintaining a consistent presence to remain at the forefront of prospects' minds.
However, it's important to understand that social selling is not a quick fix for all sales problems. While it can enhance and sometimes accelerate prospecting efforts, it is not a replacement for outbound prospecting. Moreover, social selling is not about pushing a hard sales pitch on social media platforms. Instead, it's about connecting, interacting, and learning, which is more suited to building familiarity and lead nurturing.
To effectively integrate social selling into your sales strategy, you need to choose the right social channels where your prospects are present. It's not about being everywhere but rather being where it matters most. To do this, you must consider which social channels your customers and prospects use most frequently and which ones you feel most comfortable using. While it can be time-consuming and intellectually draining, mastering social selling as part of a balanced prospecting strategy is an essential component of success in the modern sales landscape.
Actions to take
Delivering the Right Words
Everyone who works in sales dreams of finding those perfect words to make customers say yes. But it's not that easy. It takes a lot of introspection, effort, and practice to find the right things to say. When you're selling something, one of the hardest things to do is to ask someone for their time. And how you ask can make a big difference.
Here's a mistake many salespeople make: they talk too much about their product and their company. But the truth is, customers don't want to hear all of that. They don't like being treated like just another sale. They want salespeople to genuinely care about their problems and needs. So, how do you approach them?
When you talk to potential customers, it's good to be clear, to the point, and, most importantly, make it about them. They will only listen to you if what you're saying benefits them. Always think: "How can my product or service offering help them?" If you can show that what you're selling can really make a difference in their life or work, they're more likely to listen.
Keep in mind that people often decide based on their feelings. So, instead of just listing facts, salespeople should also connect emotionally. They should show they understand the customer and can offer something valuable. By doing this, customers are more likely to give them a chance.
Actions to take
There's a prevalent myth in the sales world that "calling" is outdated because people don't pick up anymore. However, the data shows otherwise: Phone calls are far from dead. Depending on various factors like industry or the role of the contact, contact rates can be anywhere from 15 to 80 percent. Especially in the business services sector, contact rates often sit between 25 and 40 percent.
Why is this the case? Well, three reasons might explain it. First, phones aren't just on desks anymore; they're in pockets. Many people are quick to answer mobile calls, either because it's their main line or because calls to their office get forwarded there. Second, with so much communication happening via emails, social media, and texts, actual phone calls are rarer. This means those who do call stand out. And lastly, with so many impersonal and automated emails flooding inboxes, many are starting to prefer the authenticity of a real human voice.
Unfortunately, many salespeople don't know how to make the most of phone calls for prospecting or sales. They might not have had the right training, or they might just prefer emails or texts.
One effective strategy in phone sales is designating specific time slots solely for calls.
Top salespeople schedule one to two-hour blocks every day just for calls. During that time, they only focus on calling and nothing else. They follow a simple five-step plan for each call: grab the prospect's attention, introduce themselves, explain why they're calling, bridge the conversation, and clearly state their request as the caller.
Actions to take
Dealing with Rejection
Rejection can be a difficult experience for salespeople, as it can make them feel vulnerable and out of control. However, it is at this point of rejection that salespeople must learn how to manage their emotions and adopt a strategic approach to navigate the situation.
This is where the Three-Step Turnaround Framework becomes crucial.
This framework is specifically designed for salespeople to handle RBOs (rejections, brush-offs, and objections). It provides them with a roadmap to convert potential setbacks into opportunities. There are three elements that must be present in this framework: anchor, disrupt, and ask.
Actions to take
In-person prospecting, or IPP for short, is when salespeople visit potential customers face-to-face. It's especially good for those selling products to smaller local businesses. However, this method is not always the best. Imagine driving around all day, knocking on doors, and not having many meaningful conversations. It's a bit like fishing but catching very few fish. That's a lot of time and gas wasted, especially if you don't have a plan. Fortunately, there are some proven methods to make this work.
Actions to take
E-mail prospecting is an effective way to generate engagement and response. With the many e-mail communication tools available, one can create e-mails outside of the Golden Hours and schedule them to go out during prime selling time. It's also easier than ever to build a database of e-mail addresses. To make e-mail prospecting successful, there are three rules you must adhere to: make sure your email reaches their inbox, gets them interested enough to open it, and convinces them to take action.
Actions to take
Text messaging is a handy way to grab someone's attention, especially when reaching out to potential customers. Nowadays, most people use their mobile phones as their main way of communicating with others. In fact, data shows that if you send a text after you've called someone, you're more than twice as likely to get a positive response. This happens because people usually respond better to things or people they're familiar with.
But it's important to be careful with text messaging. People consider their phones personal, so you don't want to annoy them. That's why texting should only be a part of a broader prospecting strategy.
When you send a text, you have to be quick and to the point. You only have a few words to get someone's interest and make them want to reply or do something. It's not easy to make a big impression with just a short message. But, by following seven key guidelines, you'll be able to craft a text message that converts.
Actions to take
Developing Mental Toughness for Sales Success
Sales is so much more than just having the right training or practicing your pitch. Often, the difference between those who excel and those who struggle boils down to mental toughness. This unique blend of resilience and determination may outshine factors like talent, experience, education, skills, or any specific technique. In essence, while two salespeople might be equally talented, the one with greater mental fortitude is likely to be more successful.
The good news is that, unlike innate talent or intelligence, mental toughness isn't just something you're born with – it can be cultivated and nurtured. This can be achieved by adjusting your way of thinking. When you transform your mindset for the better, you elevate your sales game.