Getting Back to Basics The 5 Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting

Getting Back to Basics: The 5 Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting

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By: Rick Middlemass   

When you tell someone you are in sales, do you often see people cringe in response? Or worse, immediately want to change the subject. Sales professionals of the past were thrown into the category of car salesman€ as a negative stereotype used to talk down the profession.  But in the in last decade, the sales professional has a seen a shift in attitude; because they are holding themselves to a higher standard. And by holding themselves to a higher standard, the term sales professional doesn’t have to make you feel icky or feel like youll be cheated in a deal or pushed into an unnecessary purchase. Sales professionals are being held accountable by todays standards, with the birth of Google and search engines, customers are doing their research and homework up front. So, sales professionals must follow suit. Jeff Bajorek, author of The Five Forgotten Fundamentals of Prospecting sat down with The National Association of Sales Professionals to examine what the sales professional must do to effectively prepare to talk with clients in their prospecting. 

Ditch the Car Salesman Mentality & Find Your Fundamentals: 

If you are using the process of going to any length possible to win a sale, youre coming off as desperate and will lose clients in the process. Chris McCoy, an NASP Sales Advisor and Director of Business Development, stresses the importance of ditching a car salesman energy and transfer it to a basic framework. Identify your fundamentals: Why are you there? What do you bring to the table? By simply taking the time to outline your reasons you are one step closer to your client and removed from the competition. Why? Because your competition isn’t doing this process, to begin with. 

Identify What Differentiates You from The Competition: 

When you identify what makes you different from your competition, you should find value added differentiators from your unique experiences and assets.  If you cant find where youre different, well¦youwont sell anything. Heres a hint: Start with your why. What are you bringing to the table that no one else will be able to?  Every single professional (even outside of the sales profession) must identify what sets them apart from their competitors and believe it in order to truly make an impression. Keep in mind how your attitude is reflected in your actions. Jeff mentions how attitude leads people to run out of the door every morning, often directionless, and fail before putting thought or action to their day. The workshops Bajorek has created aim to change this mentality, encouraging professionals to speak at people in group settings so they are provided with instant feedback. By having an open environment, where the conversation is flowing, people are forced to answer questions and think things through before they act. Seems simple, right?  But shockingly, a majority of people are not thinking before acting.  And getting bummed by the results they see. Once you determine your value, as Rick Middlemass NASP Sales Advisor and VP of Sales explains, you can then determine who you need to be talking to. The process helps to narrow down your focus and channel your energy into the appropriate next steps. By forcing yourself to let go of controlling everything, youre able to shift your energy into the right direction. 

Define Your Target Audience & Do Your Homework: 

Sales professionals focus a lot of their time on quantity over quality.  The rat race consists of calling as many people as possible with no research into who they are reaching out to before they pick up the phone. You need to do some homework. This isnt a rat race of logging as many calls as possible and calling it quits once you hit a quota.   You need to put energy and understanding to develop your ideal customer base. Jeff recommends thinking in terms of how you deliver the product rather than a product itself. Again, what sets you apart? It takes a definition of your target audience, why they would be interested in your product, and developing a structured approach before you pick up the phone. Its time to stop winging it. As Rick points out, Sales professionals make up things as they go, and this is a huge mistake.You have to reach the right people and you must do your homework in advance. Remember, the game of selling has changed, and sales professionals are being held to a higher standard than they were even five years ago. Thanks, Google. 

How Do You Qualify The Right People? 

Remember how you were taught to only talk to the decision makers?  Or to not spend so much energy on people in the organization who didnt matter€ to the sales process since they werent signing the check? Ditch that notion right now. As Jeff explains, its crucial to treat every person with respect.  Let go of the mentality to distinguish between decision makers and non-decision makers. Everyone in that organization has an important role in the sales cycle process and you must pay attention to that. Case in point: Jeff used to sell in operating rooms and while his competitors would disregard nurses, assistants, and other medical staff, Jeff was bringing them into the conversation. By offering them basic respect to be included in the conversation, Jeff stood out ahead of his competition.  His value was clearly defined. Take time to understand everyones role in a business you are pitching to and treat everyone with respect.  You never know when it will pay off. 

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Create the Right Kind of Tension: 

Pain points. Every business and every client will have them.  And as sales professionals, we are often told to exploit these pain points to create a sense of tension and urgency.  By forcing people to be uncomfortable they will just give you money to make it go away, right? This isnt practical in todays landscape. People buy for deeper reasons than just pain. Study the habits of any buyer and youll see a range of emotions influencing their decision-making process. So, if youre not focusing on a clients pain points, what should you focus on? Create rapport and form a connection with your prospect. This approach offers a healthy connection and a budding relationship. Rather than a client being driven by fear and possibly dreading your conversations, they will be open to a growing relationship because they trust the conversation. Come from an expertise mindset, but dont be a total ego maniac about it. Jeff recommends building a reputation to showcase your knowledge of the industry, speaking engagements, and podcasts. Anything to show you know what youre talking about and to eliminate as much fluff as possible.  People know when you are making stuff up and when you are coming from genuine knowledge. Be mindful. 

In Short, You Do You Sticking to these basic fundamentals will help you create a unique strategy that is consistent with your value.  Outside of these basics, own each sales opportunity as your own. However, you need to get in the right mindset, approach each day with a way that speaks to your hustle and flow. Recognize your power, harness it, and direct it to the right people. 

Rick Middlemass, VP of Sales for NASP, has over a decade of experience in sales ranging from door to door B2C sales to million dollar B2B consultative sales. Rick has been training with NASP CEO, Rod Hairston, and NASP since 2008 and enjoys the opportunity to brainstorm with NASP members on how they can reach their sales goals, refine their sales process and overcome challenges and objections.      

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