Consistency & Repeatability Yields Large Gains When Prospecting
Time and again, studies show that one of the weakest parts of the sales process is prospecting. Not only do sales professionals hate to do it; but it also yields low success rates. So finding and using a process to increase success rates is important – because most companies can’t succeed if they can’t prospect.
Once mapped against the concept of using consistent processes, prospecting not only becomes easier, it also yields higher results. We have developed a process that increases acceptance rates for those important first conversations by 14% to 25% - and it uses concepts you already know work. We just use them consistently – and better.
Here are the activities to include in your updated prospecting regimen:
1. Eliminate the “no” responses due to unavailability. Too often, sales teams rely on traditional electronic meeting offers – where you put it on your own calendar; then share the offer with the prospect. If the prospect is unavailable, his or her easiest option is to say “no”. Offering two timeslots doubles your odds of offering a time that is open for the prospect. If you offer three timeslots, it increases your odds by another 50%.
2. Don’t open your whole schedule and suggest picking a time from it. Humans suffer from decision fatigue; and this is a good way to trigger that fatigue. It works against you.
3. Make it convenient in every way. Give the prospect options from which he or she can choose that show you care about their needs and which allow them to avoid things they doesn’t like. In many cases, this means choice of place (her office or yours). In other cases, it means who dials the call. In still others, it means allowing the prospect to pick his or her favorite type of coffee (Starbucks, Panera or Dunkin’ Donuts, for instance – you’d be surprised how many people will turn down a meeting just because they don’t like the coffee house or restaurant you’re offering).
4. Track the prospect’s response and have a consistent reminder/reach-out process.
You can do all of these things using brute force – by simply coaching your sales team to use these techniques and letting them use their current tools to do it.
We found, however, that if they use their traditional tools, they don’t always follow the success path. They get lazy; they don’t follow-up on the schedule as you have requested; they forget about the prospect and it goes into that list of the 90+% that are considered no-response.
To fight that, we created a useful tool that we use ourselves and with our consulting clients – and are now offering it as a stand-alone SaaS service: Confirmed.
With Confirmed, the sales person can send a request to the prospect that includes multiple choices for time & date as well as choice of place (complete with clickable map icon) by simply sliding the places from a list to the scheduler tool. This act alone increases the use of the process because it’s so easy for the sales person to do – and takes less time.
We combine that with templates that can be chosen with two clicks – that use the text that we have found to have the most impact. Our executives can create these for everybody to use; and the sales team can modify or create their own. So if it’s a follow-up to a networking event, the offer reads differently than when we’re responding to a lead that came in via web. We also have a several templates to follow up our voicemails to the prospect and when we can’t reach them for various reasons. Confirmed makes using templates a no-brainer.
We’ve set Confirmed up to know whether an offer for a meeting (whether face-to-face, phone or web) has been confirmed – and if not, after 2 days, Confirmed sends a reminder to the prospect automatically. In the unlikely case that the prospect hasn’t yet replied after that, the salesperson can see the status and manually send additional reminders as needed with 2-clicks each. Since Confirmed can tell whether an offer for a meeting has been accepted, we are able to make it smart enough to not send if it’s not appropriate.
There are a lot of other reasons that Confirmed yields results, including making it easier for the sales person, and providing reports for coachable moments from the head of sales. Of them, one of the favorites, is that it also shows slots that have been offered on the calendar – so you don’t have to guess or go find the email to remind yourself which times you offered. Once the meeting is confirmed, the unused slots disappear and only the confirmed time is shown. This makes scheduling so much easier.
If you’re interested in using Confirmed for your team, we have a Team Edition – and I’d be happy to arrange a demo that will knock your socks off. If you’re a solopreneur only in need of a single seat, we have Editions for that too, complete with two week trials. We have found that the learning curve is so quick and the ROI on Confirmed is so good, that’s there’s almost no reason for a sales team to not want to use it.
You can sign up at www.ConfirmedApp.com. If you want to explore the team edition or set up a demo, message me.