The word prospect has its origins in geology and means a set of techniques related to research, precise location and preliminary study of a mineral or oil deposit.
Once discovered, the deposits require structural investments to, within a certain time, come into operation, produce and generate revenue.
We can say that the same happens in prospecting for customers, regardless of the business model.
There are numerous techniques that help companies identify who their potential customers are, where they are located, what their consumption potential is and how likely they are to choose their brand over others.
Prospecting and attracting new customers is an investment as important as retaining and building loyalty.
This is because, returning to the example of geology, some deposits can stabilize, maintaining a continuous flow of resources. Others may run out after years of exploration.
In this article, we’ll deal specifically with prospecting for service companies, characterized by more consultative and specialized sales.
Acting as Sankhya’s National Prospecting Supervisor, I was able to accumulate a lot of experience on this subject and I will share here some tips for sales and marketing professionals.
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- Tip #1: Analyze the data
- Tip #2: Find your niche
- Tip #3: The Importance of the Investigation Process in Prospecting
- Tip #4: Creating rapport in the first approach
- Tip #5: Don’t show the product, deliver the value!
- Tip #6: Prospecting must be continuous
- Tip #7: Goodbye “feeling”. Hello, data world!
- Tip #8: Know how to get around objections
- Tip #9: Automate and Organize your process
Tip #1: Analyze the data
Use the data your company already has, as well as market studies, to create an Ideal Customer Profile. Prospecting strategies can be drawn from there.
The database of your company is the starting point for identifying consumption patterns, problems common to certain niches, the capacity of your solution to remedy those aches and bring the expected results.
The data helps to identify success stories and statistics that can make good sales arguments.
Tip #2: Find your niche
Who works in the service segment meets specific needs. Therefore, the first question to ask is:
What kind of customer has the problem that we can solve with our service?
It is called market pain, that is, a problem that your company can solve or a business opportunity that can be leveraged by the solution.
Tip #3: The Importance of the Investigation Process in Prospecting
The prospecting process starts with good questions so the seller understands the customer’s need and has more information before submitting their offer.
The first contact serves to understand the customer, identify their problem and present possibilities for a solution.
As the conversation flows, reinforce that your solution is ideal to solve the problem and make yourself available to do demonstrations, present cases, personalized analysis, among others.
Tip #4: Creating rapport in the first approach
Mainly for inside sales models, contacts with prospects can often happen remotely, by phone, email or social networks, for example.
In either case, with so many activities vying for the potential customer’s attention, it’s important to seize the attention and act assertively. Some important tips:
- Always start by making it clear who you are and the purpose of the contract;
- Present succinct and specific arguments, such as:
- I serve companies in their industry and they have the following results…
- I’m calling because I did a survey and identified that your company has a problem that our solution can help solve…
Tip #5: Don’t show the product, deliver the value!
Once you’ve identified your niche and needs, build a good sales pitch.
If the company has a problem and its solution is able to solve it, demonstrate it in a tangible way, with cases, numbers and qualified information.
Survey your company’s best practices in similar segments.
It’s your chance to capture the attention of a customer whose focus is on solving a problem. You have the solution. Take the opportunity!
Tip #6: Prospecting must be continuous
Again using the example of geology, deposits can stabilize, reduce or even zero their extraction capacity. Therefore, keep prospecting channels open.
In addition to managing your customer base, reserve a space in your diary to work with prospects. It’s an ongoing process, keep an eye out for new revenue streams.
Tip #7: Goodbye “feeling”. Hello, data world!
Many salespeople have learned to prospect based on their feeling for business. The problem with this is the lack of effectiveness.
Today, prospecting is something that can be done from the study of data generated by the company itself, analyzing indicators such as:
- Conversion rate;
- Average sales time;
- Average ticket;
- Between others.
It is possible to measure the entire sales funnel process, from the triggering of messages that will act as a trigger to capture the potential customer, until the sale is made.
All this data can be extracted from a good ERP system.
Tip #8: Know how to get around objections
When starting contact with a lead, keep in mind that there are two possibilities: a 50% chance of success and a 50% chance of failure for that contact to evolve into a business.
Therefore, it is important to prepare well for objections and questions.
Some arguments, such as lack of resources for investment or the existence of a solution that already meets that need, maybe a clear sign that it is not worth insisting on.
Others, such as a lack of one-off resources or dissatisfaction with the current supplier, can be signs that it is worth keeping in touch frequently.
Tip #9: Automate and Organize your process
With the support of sales software you can:
- Control all stages of the process, from prospecting to closing the sale;
- Automate the process with features that aim to make the sale more efficient and profitable.
Some of the clear benefits of using this type of software are:
- Organization and automation of sales process steps to not leave any leads without the necessary follow ups;
- Complete registration of prospects, including some trading details, to keep the base always updated and not lose any history;
- Better management of indicators, both for prospecting and sales;
- Control of each of the funnel activities to track conversion rates between stages and better identify points for improvement;
- Process control to track final conversion rates.
Prospecting is an important part of any company’s growth, whether in the service sector or any other.
It is necessary to ensure that opportunities will become profitable businesses.
Therefore, I hope these tips help to improve the prospecting process in your company and, as a result, bring more business and leverage your growth.
Prospecting is a big part of that success because it is a focused, persistent, and systematic method of building relationships with potential customers and developing contacts that lead to sales.