Typically when clients have enrolled in sales training, coaching and consulting programs with me over the past two decades, one of the first things they want to improve is what they say to prospects to start the sales process. It’s a great question but there are two other questions that are critical to consider on the topic of prospecting that come before it.
In fact, the answer to the “what do I say to a prospect?” question really is best answered after you first consider the initial two questions:
- WHO is your best prospect?
- HOW many prospects do you need?
The reason it is important to know who your best prospect is before crafting your message seems fairly obvious, but in case you come from the Fire, Ready, Aim school of sales, let me catch you up.
If you craft your “what to say to prospects” message before really being clear about the characteristics of your ideal prospect, you’ll likely be too general or miss the mark completely.
For example, if I say, “I work with people who are frustrated because selling should be easier than it is” that’s good because it speaks to their pain point, but it’s generic. If I say, “I work with entrepreneurs in Colorado and Texas who have a profitable business but are frustrated because it should be easier to sell their consultative services” that makes it easier for my prospect to see that I have something specific for them.
Now, sometimes you make a strategic decision to speak in more general terms because you don’t really know the target prospect profile you are after just yet, but the more specific you get earlier in your prospecting, the easier it will be for you to identify and talk to the right people.
To get clear about who your best prospects are look at the products and services with the most growth potential in your business right now. Who has bought those offers with the least amount of friction in the sales process? Start there and distinguish some demographics and psychographics common to them.
- Demographics include geography, age, education, etc.
- Psychographics include personality, values, opinions, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles.
If I had a good handle on that, it could inform my sales messaging, “I work with driven open-minded entrepreneurs in Colorado and Texas who have a profitable business because they’ve been on the forefront of technology, but are frustrated because it should be easier to sell their consultative services.”
The more you know about who your best prospects are, the easier it will be to speak directly to their concerns.
The second question you want to answer before you craft what to say to a prospect is “How many prospects are enough?”
The reason this is important to distinguish first is that you are more likely to add specificity to your messaging when you have discovered for yourself that you don’t need everyone on the planet who can fog a mirror.
Prospecting is one of those never ending activities. You could always add more prospects to your pipeline and generally speaking, most people like a finish line. We crave completion. It’s easier to be accountable to something specific than it is to a feeling of having done enough.
Start with the Rule of Four 50’s:
- 50% of your leads will listen to your pitch.
- 50% of those who listen to the pitch will set an appointment.
- 50% of those appointments will advance to a real opportunity.
- 50% of those real opportunities will turn into money.
Once you know that prospecting won’t go on forever you can get started and knock it out.
Which brings me to the final piece… and the part everyone wants to start with… what do you say to prospects?
Here’s the golden rule… keep your message to what matters to them. The more specific you are about who you really help the more likely you will be able to speak to your ideal prospect’s real emotional pain. The more you do that the fewer prospects you’ll need in your pipeline because you will be that much more effective in converting prospects to clients.
Okay, that’s enough reading about prospecting… go out there and get it done!
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