One of the first and most important keys to successful selling is identifying and qualifying prospects. It’s well worth your time to search out and pursue prospects who have a high likelihood of buying your product. The more calls you make to people who have a need for what you’re selling, the more often you will convert those calls to paying customers.Assess your product – Know what you’re selling, what it costs, and how it can help your prospects. Start thinking about who is in a position to buy that product. If it costs $10,000, don’t pursue clients who have a $5,000 budget.Ask questions. Determine what your client needs and wants. If they want pizzas, don’t try to sell them caviar. If you sell caviar, look for places where there are likely to be people to buy caviar. If you have a broad range of products or services, take time to zero in on what your prospect feels will fill their needs. If you sell pizza and caviar and your prospect wants pizza, sell them pizza. Maybe you can interest them in extra toppings, but don’t waste your time asking them to buy caviar if that isn’t what they want.Go where the good prospects are. Join networking groups where there will be people who need your product. Professional associations, leads clubs, chambers of commerce, all of these are excellent resources for meeting new people and potential clients. The more specific the association is to your ideal client type, the more likely you will make contacts that are useful.
Check the competition. Who are your competitor’s clients? Are they buying what you’re selling, but not from you? Maybe you can offer a better deal or a more customized product. Study what’s selling at other companies and consider how you can distinguish your product in the marketplace.
Research other available data. The internet is an amazing resource that can provide you with lists of companies that are in your industry, are of the size range you market to, are in your geographic area, or match up to some other indicator of being an ideal prospect. Spend time daily reading blogs or annual reports to learn more about your target market.
Referrals, referrals, referrals. The best way, hands down, to identify a prospect is for someone to refer you. If you have good relationships with your clients, ask them for referrals and ask them often. You will be surprised at how many times your clients know people who can use your product or service. With a referral, your client has laid the groundwork that gives you an automatic edge. Your client has, in essence, prequalified the prospect for you.
By taking a little time to research and focus your efforts on reaching out to the right people, your sales efforts will be more productive and profitable. And you will be winning the game of sales.
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