Humor me for a second. Think back to the last deal you closed and ask you, “Who was the decision maker I had to reach and influence? How did I do it? “ The reason I asked you to think about that is because there will always be someone you will need to contact and influence to get the next deal and the one after that and all the deals you could ever possibly close in one lifetime. Your success doesn’t just happen. You make it happen, and it all begins with prospecting.
Prospecting is nothing more than the art of speaking with people who might do business with you, and engaging them in a meaningful conversation so that they will want to see you and talk further. Let’s not make it any more complicated than that. At the end of the day a telephone sales call is only a conversation between two people.
Make a list of everyone you just identified. It doesn’t matter if you need to speak with fifty people or only one; your focus is on precision not volume.
Once you have the names write down the main issues facing each person on that list. The reason I’m suggesting that is because you will have to address their issues, not yours. If you start your conversation rambling on about your products and services you will sound like you’re selling something. When you talk about their issues you hit their Greed Glands which address what’s in it for them. Retirees are not waking up in the morning wanting financial products. (It would be nice.) They are, on the other hand, concerned about the rising cost of living.
Once you’ve worked out what you want to say you will have to get the person on the phone. The objective of your call list is not about making calls. Many financial advisors base their lists on volume, in other words the more names on the list the better because if they don’t contact someone there are plenty more to call. What happens with this approach is that most people end up leaving a lot of money on the table, missing up to 75% of their opportunities, simply by not contacting people. A call is not a commodity. It’s precious. It would be nice if we were mind readers and knew where our biggest opportunity was, but we don’t so we have to speak with everyone. Your objective is to book appointments. So whether you have twenty people to call or only one, get them on the phone. All of them. Without exemption.
Leaving a voice message doesn’t count. That only fools you into thinking you contacted someone when in fact all you did was leave a voice message. The easiest way is to ensure that you connect with your prospects is to simply find out when they are in, and then call at that time.
By planning your calls and your message you stay in control.
Once you get your prospect on the phone you will have the opportunity to speak for all of about thirty seconds at which time you will either ask for an appointment or ask a qualifying question. From the time you introduce yourself to the time you ask for an appointment there are less actually than thirty words. Make each word count. The words you speak paint images in people’s minds and you have complete control over what those words are.
Twice as important as what you say will be how you say it. Speak slowly and send the message that what you have to say is important. It’s so important that you will take a minute before the call to focus on how you can make the prospect’s life better, and that will bring out the passion in your voice.
At the end of each call you will either be sitting there with an appointment or you won’t. Either way self-assess to either see what you did well so that you can do it again on the next call, or look at where you need to improve. If a call does not work out for whatever reason figures out if it was they or you.
If there was something you could have done better, make sure to take correction action for the next call and then reward yourself for learning from your mistakes. When you consistently self-assess you stop repeating the same mistakes, and when that happens your performance benchmarks rise as like gravity.
By making yourself more effective you ensure that your next deal will be more successful than your last.
By: Mark Borkowski is president of Toronto based Mercantile Mergers & Acquisitions Corporation, a M&A brokerage firm specializing in the sale of privately held businesses. He can be contacted at www.mercantilemergersacquisitions.com