Whether you are a direct marketer or B2B salesperson, having a healthy pipeline or list of potential customers is essential to generate a steady stream of sales/business which is necessary for business survival. Developing this pipeline entails the need to meet, engage or attract new people/prospects to our business, service or product.
Some Important Methods of Contacting New Prospect
There are various methods you can use to contact new prospects such as direct contact (referral meeting), email marketing, cold calling, advert placements, and referrals. How you generate your list of prospects often determines the most effective means for contacting the new prospect.
For example, if your list of prospects is comprised of your family, friends or associates—phone calls and text messages may work effectively as you already have a background on the prospect.
Email / Adverts
Email marketing and advert placements as a means of contacting new prospects are also an effective means of contacting prospects as the email addresses are often generated from people that have already indicated interest in your product or service by clicking on a web link or signing up for your newsletter or people you have researched and targeted specifically.
Cold calling is a method of contacting new prospects by calling prospects and pitching your product to them. Like the other methods, how you generate the phone numbers will greatly affect your success rates using this method. Research and preparation are the keys to success when cold calling sales prospects. Sales experts have identified emailing before calling as an excellent strategy for better cold calling as the email plays the dual role of acting as an excuse for the call and providing relevant information about your company or product ahead of the call.
When making cold calls using a script, practicing ahead of the call ensures that you make the right impression on the party and achieve the key objectives of contacting prospects – (1) to establish trust/rapport (2) gather information and (3) secure a follow up without encountering some disadvantages of contacting prospects by the telephone such as being impersonal, calling at inconvenient times or prospects hanging up.
How to Mitigate the Disadvantages of Contacting Prospects by Telephone
Mitigate some of these disadvantages of contacting prospects by telephone by:
- Using the prospects name and Introducing yourself when you call: Greeting the prospect by name and immediately introducing yourself and your organization will put the prospect at ease and make them more receptive.
- Clarifying that the client has time to speak: Ask the prospect if you are calling at a good time or if they can spare a few minutes, this shows that you are respectful of the prospect and value their time.
- Recognizing that the client is busy and keeping it brief: Stating that you know the client is busy and wish to keep your conversation brief allows you to continue the conversation regardless of the prospect’s response in step 2.
- Making it worth their while: Proper research and preparation ensures that you are calling the right people and that your product/service will be valuable to them. Articulate your value proposition in a way that grabs the prospect’s attention and keeps them on the phone.
- Getting straight to the point: Cold calling is gaining interest and gathering information, not providing your entire company history and track record, so keep it brief and only provide enough information to keep the interest and necessitate a future meeting.
- Securing the follow up/next step: Don’t wait for the prospect to offer, ask for the meetings, email or information you need to achieve your objective.
Here are 5 great strategies and scripts you can use when contacting new prospects:
- Calling to follow up on an email
- Calling on referral
- Industry or company knowledge
- Calling to make an inquiry
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Calling to Follow up on an Email
Sending emails to prospects prior to calling them provides a great opening and creates some familiarity if the client has seen your email and has some information/background on your company, product or service.
Good day (prospects name) This is (your name) from (company name) I’m calling to follow up on an email we sent to you on (the focus of the email or the value of your product to your prospect), is this something you would be interested in? I know you have a lot to do, can you spare a few minutes to answer some questions so we can better understand your needs? *Have a conversation and gather relevant information* Is Monday or Tuesday by 10am convenient for us to have a meeting to discuss this further?
Calling on Referral
Being referred by someone a prospect knows creates some trust between you and the prospect and often means you will get better reception. Ask for referrals from your social network and existing customer base for an advantage when contacting new prospects.
Good day (prospects name) This is (your name) from (company name) I got your number from (name/description of referee) (state your relationship to the referee of why the referee thought your product or service would be valuable to the prospect?) Is this something you would like to hear more about? Do you have a few minutes to discuss further? I don’t know if our product would be the right fit for your organization. *Have a conversation and gather relevant information* May I have your email address to send you a formal proposal and schedule a follow up meeting with you and your team?
Industry or Company Knowledge
Staying abreast of developments in your industry or that of your client offers a great opportunity for great success when contacting new prospects. Industry knowledge gives you an excuse to contact a prospect to offer your product or service and creates the impression that you are an expert in your field.
Good day (prospects name) This is (your name) from (company name) I saw on the news that your organization is (state the industry development or change in their organization? (State how your company, product or service could be valuable to the prospect) I know you probably have a lot to do, I will keep this brief. May I ask you some questions to properly understand your current position on this? *Have a conversation and gather relevant information* Would you be available sometime next week to have a meeting to discuss this further? (secure an appointment or get an email address to schedule the meeting)
Calling to Make an Inquiry
This technique needs to be well adapted to the organization in question. Keeping in mind that most organizations do not divulge sensitive operational information, ask smart questions that will help you gain the information you need. This technique can also be used in research for your main cold.
Good day (prospects name) This is (your name) from (company name) I would like to find out if (name of the prospects organization) will be recruiting this year? (or any question that helps you introduce your products/services). *Whether the question is answered or the prospect says they can’t provide the information requested, go on to the next step* (Say what your organization does and how it is valuable to the prospects business/organization) Is this a good time to talk? May I take a few minutes of your time to find out if our service would be a good fit for your organization? *Have a conversation and gather relevant information* Ask for a meeting if you are speaking to the key decision maker, or to schedule a meeting with the key decision maker. If calling as research ahead of the main cold call, request the name/contact information for the key decision maker or confirm the information you already have.
Contacting new prospects should not be a daunting task. Preparation in the form of research and practicing with prospecting scripts will help you sound more confident and professional when contacting new sales prospects by telephone. Remember never to read your script while speaking to the client rather practice the call you intend to have properly before calling the prospect to ensure you sound relaxed, professional and natural. Different strategies may work better for some people and businesses than others, try a combination of different styles until you find what works for you.
If you use some of these strategies and scripts please let us know how the strategy/script worked.