Engaging with prospects — the right way

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Salespeople have such an important role in any business. They’re the ones that keep things fuelled up and running, attracting new customers or clients to utilise services and maintaining strong relationships. It’s the salespeople that bring in the much-needed cash to keep a business going, helping it to grow, and making sure there’s enough in the accounts to make sure those employed by the business gets paid.

The sales department have their own jargon. Two popular words in sales business language are ‘lead’ and ‘prospect’. The lead is someone who has shown interest and engaging on a more peripheral level. Maybe they’re reading your content, opening your emails or viewing your website. A prospect, on the other hand, is much closer to buying into your product or service. They are ready to be pitched and sold to, often fit your target market, have the means to make a purchase and are authorised to do so.

There are several different ways salespeople can turn a lead into a prospect — and engage with them in the right way, once they have achieved it. For salespeople looking to up their ante, or those just starting out in the role, here’s some useful tips and advice to follow.

Turning leads into prospects

Leads won’t always turn into prospects. While the chase for new clients and customers is key to the job role, salespeople have to be careful to not spend too much time on leads that won’t, well, lead anywhere. One of the ways you can begin to qualify leads is to pick them out on a surface level. You can do this by reaching out to them, begin gauging their interest level and, if it seems like there’s potential, start the process of building the relationship to a sale.

Email is one way of getting in touch — but a call, or even meeting in person, is even better. Being able to connect with your lead — getting to know the problems that they need solving, and the solutions you can provide — can really help you when it comes to shifting the lead into a prospect position. By painting a picture of your product or solution, you’re communicating to them how their issue can be solved and starting the steps towards a sale.

Communication with your lead via telephone or personal meeting can help establish problems and solutions.

Creating a targeted list

Another way of qualifying leads is to create a targeted list of people to approach. This increases the chances of finding your ideal prospect (that will lead to a sale!) but is also an opportunity to avoid leads that aren’t going to go anywhere. Before making contact with a lead, a salesperson should ask themselves if the lead aligns with their ideal prospect persona, if they’re already using a product or service like the one they’re offering, if they seem to have the budget to afford the product or service and if they’ve made any buying signals or prior engagements.

These are some ideal questions to consider before spending time trying to reach out to a lead — and they’ll also be a solid indicator of whether a lead will eventually become a prospect. There are various tools like the Lusha prospect tool that may help businesses that are unsure on how to address issues like this. Targeted lists are one of the ways that salespeople can ensure they’re not wasting valuable time, which costs the company money and ultimately is time spent away from making actual sales.

Try out warm calling 

Once you’ve established a targeted list, it’s important to know how to approach and engage with prospects in a way that will encourage them to make a purchase from you, whether that’s a product or service.

Of course, first impressions are everything. The opening minutes of a warm call — whether it’s over the phone or through an email — can make a tremendous difference when it comes to the outcome. Building rapport begins by starting off on the right foot.

One way of doing this is by establishing a common connection between yourself and the prospect. This could be a mutual interest, need, shared experience or contact like those on social media. Whatever it is, a common connection that you can discuss with the prospect is one great way of developing a trusting relationship that will result in an eventual sale.

Salespeople may try establish a common connection between them and a lead this could be a hobby or interest.

Build the conversation by asking open ended questions that can help you tailor what you say based on the situation. Listen, reflect and repeat key phrases so that your prospect knows you’re absorbing everything and are invested in what they have to say. And when you’re trying to shift to the actual sale, do it slowly. Warm calling is all about creating a warm and authentic bond between you and the prospect that will encourage them to see how your solution can work for them in real terms.