One of the giveaways from a new salesperson is when he asks, “How do I get prospects?” For experienced sales professionals, this is like asking “How do I breathe?” More so than worrying about sales closing techniques, this is such a silly question because there are so many ways to get leads. With websites, blogs and social media announcing what we do, not to mention personal relationships, to NOT get a good prospect every once in a while would be pretty strange – even if we just sit there!
But, as all experienced salespeople know, all leads are not created equal. In fact, the first of 15 shortcuts in my book Close Deals Faster: The 15 Shortcuts of the Asher Sales Method, covers how to find the right prospects, the ones who are likeliest to close and provide a good return compared to the effort invested.
No sales closing techniques will work if you are working on the wrong leads or prospects. Here’s how to distinguish the right ones.
The Account-Based Management Approach
Popularized by Silicon Valley’s Demandbase in recent years, ABM is fundamentally simply about selling to highly targeted accounts, which is something the best salespeople have been doing for decades. Modern ABM leverages IP addresses and other tools to detect when someone from a targeted account visits a website to deliver personalized content, or even spur a contact from a sales rep. It’s cool, but first you have to choose which accounts to target, just like any old-school solution. So let’s get to it.
First: how many should you target? I give a complete formula for figuring this out in Close Deals Faster, but for the sake of this blog post, let’s say a typical salesperson can service about 50 accounts. If you currently blast 10,000 people with emails each month, 50 accounts might seem low. And that’s the point. You want to use sales closing techniques on only top prospects who are likeliest to buy.
When you invest in only top prospects, you will be very busy giving them sufficient touches. You need 12 touches per account minimum, and more than half should be quality touches, such as a face-to-face meeting, a phone conversation, with active email and social media exchanges. Narrowing your list down allows you to serve these accounts better, and you won’t be chasing endless leads which don’t go anywhere. You will stay focused with your sales closing techniques.
Criteria to choose top prospects
Choosing top prospects will depend heavily on what you sell, price point, market conditions, etc. Here are a few general shortcuts to help you pick fruitful targets:
- Past customers who dropped off
- Past referrals which never closed
- Currently do business with your competitors
- Currently do business with a shared connection (insider)
- Have a pressing need for your product based on reports (news or insiders)
- Have enough budget to afford your offering (financial statements or other intel needed)
- Market leaders in your area
- Runners-up seeking an edge
- Companies announcing growth
- Look-alikes of current customers (similar size, revenue, etc.)
- Companies repeatedly visiting website (IP identification)
When you focus your sales closing techniques on prospects which are most apt to close, you will increase your revenue while streamlining your sales machine. It is well worth it to be picky – as long as you choose wisely!