In fact, there really are no secrets to prospecting. Like anything else in life, once you learn a few things about prospecting, the mystery, and the fear associated with it, the reluctance to talk to people, the “dark side” will fade away.
The mystery, the fear, the reluctance can be overcome by learning to do some basic things outlined below. Listening to or reading material by some of the folks who are very good at it will help. You can pick up on who that might be on your own, but some of my favorite guys to listen to are Ray Higdon, Cedric Harris and Todd Falcone.
1. Start by making your first question more unique. Instead of saying “Hi, how are you?” which is what everyone else starts off asking, try something different. “Hi, today is looking really great, how it is going for you?” sets you up as upbeat, optimistic and charged up and asks them to join you. Or perhaps: “A great Friday morning to you, how has the week been?” or “Hi, a great Monday to you and a better week to follow!” will set you apart from all the other folks who might be calling or talking with your prospect.
2. Next, you want to start a conversation with your prospect. Most other callers will start making a sales pitch immediately as if they have only a few seconds to get the prospect’s attention. Using that tactic they probably do only have a second or so. By engaging the prospect in conversational questions and answers, you begin a dialog that will capture their attention and pique their interest in who you are and in what you have to say rather than them trying to figure out how to get off the phone with you.
The script you prepare for your calls should engage the prospect immediately and introduce who you are and why you are calling by asking questions to gauge your prospect’s interest and where they are in their process of “looking”. An excellent script is essential. If you have any doubts about yours, get in touch with me and I will forward a dynamite one to you that was prepared by one of the best network prospectors in the business. “This is (your name) from (your city and state) getting back to you because: you requested information, were referred to me, we met last week, answered an ad about (your reason for calling). Is that correct?” or ““This is (your name) from (your city and state) calling to connect with you about ways for you to increase your business. What is it you are doing to drive more traffic/business right now?”
3. These questions allow you to not only start a conversation with your prospect, but to get their reaction to what you are calling about. Your first objective was to engage the prospect, now you are qualifying them. Keep your ears tuned to what they say and importantly, how they say it.
Are they the type of person you want in your business?
Do they sound like they are willing to be part of your business?
Are they a bit outgoing, enthusiastic, good with words?
Do they sound interested?
4. Listen to what they say and respond appropriately. Let me say that if it is clear at this point you really do not have a prospect, do not waste time, cut your losses and move on – say thank you and goodbye. For those you want to continue with, ask permission to continue: “Is this a good time for us to spend a few minutes talking?”
5. Now ask your probing and qualifying questions and these are tailored to your business. “What do you do currently for a living?” “How long have you been doing that?” “What do you like most about it?” “Are you looking for fulltime, part-time or added income opportunities?” “Given…would you…?” or whatever you have on your script. You must have a list of questions in your script that you need to ask your prospect so you can fully quality them or you can determine they are not really interested. If you do not know why they will buy, why they will not buy, if they are the decision maker or need affirmation from others, how long it will take them to decide and what else they might be looking to do, you could be wasting a lot of time on someone who is not a serious prospect for you.
6. Finally, make an appointment to get back in touch with the prospect. Set an exact date and time. This will give you a lot of information about your prospect. Someone who will not commit and make an appointment is less likely to be seriously interested and less likely to be coachable in the long run. You should initiate the follow up call yourself, but if the prospect calls you, well, that tells you something very positive.
Your prospecting call should get a boost from using these suggestions. Good hunting.