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Prospecting isn’t to be taken lightly and there are skills needed before you can prospect well. In this episode, Steve Kloyda helps us figure out how to prospect like an expert.
Steve Kloyda has been creating unique selling experiences for over 30 years and has been able to transform the lives of countless salespeople. In addition to facilitating thousands of workshops across the country, he personally made more than 25,000 sales and prospecting calls, listened to and analyzed more than 25,000 sales calls, and facilitated over 6,000 one-on-one coaching sessions. He has clearly earned the title expert! Steve’s insights have provided clients with a powerful learning experience for anyone who wants to transform their sales and dramatically grow their business. His aim is to help salespeople attract more prospects, retain more clients, and drive more sales.
Steve also remembers unforgettable customer service. One of his coolest sales experiences was at Hilton Head several years ago when it was suggested to him and his wife to go to the Pink House for dinner. It was indeed an old pink house converted into a restaurant and by dessert, his wife just wanted fresh fruit but it wasn’t on the menu. Steve made his request and though it wasn’t a dessert they offered the waiter came back 10 minutes later with a plate of fresh fruits so beautifully arranged it reminded Steve of a work of art. To top it all off, they didn’t even charge them when they were billed! The Pink House went above and beyond all their expectations. When was the last time you went out of your way for a customer?
Steve started his company, Telemasters, in 1990. He built the company over 18 years and they specialized in creating a unique process for salespeople to prospect. From that point until 2005, the primary tools for prospecting were basically telephone and email. When 2006 came around, social media including LinkedIn started to look like a great platform to prospect. Steve went on an online class with Carrie Wilkerson, The Barefoot Executive, and what she asked him hit him:
- What are you really passionate about?
- What are you really good at?
Steve has always been good at opening doors and prospecting. To see how many people were looking up topics related to prospecting, he did a Google search and learned that tips, strategies, and ideas were a hot topic. People are searching for these topics about 200 to 300,000 times a month. He decided to sell his Telemaster brand and changed the name into what it is today, the Prospecting Expert.
You can’t call yourself an expert unless you’ve walked that path and Steve has certainly walked them all. Today, he is helping salespeople attract more prospects and drive more sales as he provides a clear path for sales and prospecting success.
The basics of prospecting
The definition of prospecting is “in search of or to labor for.” As sales reps, we are looking for people who are going to purchase our product or service. We’re also searching for new customers and new businesses through our existing customers. Let’s look at Hector the Prospector as an example. During the California Gold Rush, he found a nugget of gold but he didn’t stop to turn in that one gold nugget. He continued to prospect until the stream dried up and then he looked for another stream.
The organic process
Prospecting should be an organic process that starts with identifying who your target audience is. One of the mistakes salespeople make is that they don’t know who they should be selling to and are prospecting people who don’t have the ability to say yes. It really comes down to knowing where your prospects hang out, whether that be online or offline, and identifying ways to approach them naturally.
Prospecting methods have changed dramatically over the years. In the 1980s, they had the telephone and snail-mail. There was no voice mail or email. In 2003-2004, social media started gaining popularity, especially platforms like Twitter and Facebook. Steve got the first taste of Twitter in 2008 and he immediately disliked it. He thought Facebook was for kids and with the addition of LinkedIn and Youtube, social platforms were coming from all directions.
Steve soon realized that these tools were becoming an important point of contact in the sales process. Some salespeople, however, started to hide behind the technology and they have bought into the notion that somehow Twitter is going to help them sell. These tools can certainly be used to connect, educate, and engage with your target audience but ultimately, a phone call or meeting will have to happen. People can’t forget how to engage.
The way Steve uses social media is with his Instant Sales Nuggets and twice a day, he posts a tip on Twitter. He also knows how to ask his network great questions. These may just be a sentence or two that he puts out but still doesn’t post his link. This is the education part he’s happy to provide in order to build relationships and start conversations. He repeats this process across the various social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Google+. He will then periodically post his podcasts on his website or promote his website on Twitter. In order to provide valuable content to his network, Steve makes sure he knows what people are looking for and what they’re talking about so that what he shares is relevant.
Major mistakes when prospecting
Mistakes can be made online and offline. In addition to believing social media can close a sale for you, the biggest mistake salespeople make online is the ‘look at me’ approach where their content is all about them. You can do some of that but the focus should always be about giving more information than you are asking for a return as illustrated in Gary Vaynerchuk’s book called Jab Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to tell your story in a noisy social world.
Mistakes offline go back to the lack of understanding of their target audience and the lack of preparation:
- The target audience has not been identified.
- There has been no preparation made before the call.
- Too much time is spent with people who don’t have the power to say yes.
The target audience has not been identified.
Niche down so you truly know who will benefit from your product. What problems can you solve and who is dealing with these challenges?
There has been no preparation made before the call.
Steve is a big believer in scripts but in this case, the script isn’t just about words you say over and over but includes the outline of what you want to convey and what questions you want to ask that are specific to your prospect. Know your agenda and stick to it. Steve says, “The purpose of the calls is to keep the purpose of the call the purpose of the call.” For example, if the purpose of the call is to qualify this person, then qualify him. If it’s to set an appointment, then ask for an appointment by the end of the call.
Too much time is spent with people who don’t have the power to say yes.
Salespeople can waste a lot of time talking to the wrong people. Ideally, before you talk to someone do your research and answer what Steve calls the Rules of Engagement.
- Who is this person?
- What role do they play in the company?
- How do they make decisions?
Why do we make mistakes
Many salespeople are never taught the art of asking the right questions or they are afraid of asking the right questions. One of the books that Steve recommends to sharpen this skill is How I Raised Myself from Failure to Success in Selling by Frank Bettger. You can’t produce the right results unless you talk to the right people and ask the right questions. Steve suggests the following guidelines when making a call.
- Greet with, “Hi, ____. I know you weren’t expecting my call but do you have a minute to talk.” Salespeople are taught not this question gives a prospect an out but it’s not true. This question allows you to get right into your qualifying questions whereas, “How are you doing?” ends up being a delay.
- Mix up your questions. You can ask the prospect, “I understand that you’re the person responsible for making the decisions for training for your salespeople, is that correct?” If they say yes, you can keep the same thread going. “Well, ____, you mentioned that you’re one of them, so who besides yourself is involved in this decision?”
Ask these questions, give your purpose statement, and ask for an appointment. Create a picture in the minds of potential customers and show up prepared. When you know what you’re going to say, you don’t become the script. The script becomes you. Make a strong first impression.
Social media platforms are a good avenue for starting relationships but at the end of the day, it comes back to the phone and face to face meetings. The phone is still important in the process of prospecting.
Never ever stop prospecting. If you had the cure for cancer, you’d tell everyone. Your job is to plant the seed. Every salesperson can solve someone’s problem. It is your moral responsibility to make an approach and make the call.
“Learn To Prospect Like An Expert With Steve Kloyda” episode resources
Connect with Steve via his email.
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