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Though many salespeople hate prospecting, it’s an important part of sales.

Just like every other aspect of the sales process, you need to put in the effort and focus required. This is the only way to prospect efficiently so that you don’t waste your time on unqualified leads that aren’t suited for your product or service.

Here are some suggested techniques to help you better find leads who you can serve, engage, and eventually, convert to customers.

1. Make warm calls.

Your initial contact with new prospects doesn’t have to be, and in fact, shouldn’t be completely cold. It can be incredibly useful to warm up your prospects before making the initial contact.

A few ideas as to how to achieve this: get introduced by a shared connection, comment on a piece of content the buyer shared on social media, or “like” a status update or job change announcement on LinkedIn.

2. Become a thought leader.

Consider starting a blog, writing guest articles for industry publications, and speaking at trade shows and conferences. This also helps you familiarise your leads with your name before the initial contact, which was discussed in the first technique.

3. Be a trusted resource.

To be successful as a salesperson, you have to do more than sell. You have to be your clients’ go-to person and support them after you’ve closed the sale. By changing your position from salesperson of products and services to a provider of solutions, you can increase your chance of getting referrals from happy customers.

Draw on these referrals when it comes time for you to introduce yourself to a new prospect.

4. Reference a script.

For new salespeople, referencing a basic script while prospecting can help them reduce uncomfortable pauses, use the right language, and respond to common objections. Experienced, seasoned sales representatives often recommend not using a script in order to sound more natural during conversations, but in reality, they’re still using a script — it’s just so ingrained in their minds that it comes out sounding natural and unrehearsed.

5. Don’t sell.

If you want to be successful in today’s sales environment, you need to focus on building relationships while prospecting. Start selling too quickly and you’ll put undue pressure on the prospect.

6. Follow up.

Keep the prospect in the loop and follow up at each step of the deal. Whether you’re confirming a time for your next meeting or sending over additional resources, an email or call helps you build a relationship with your point of contact.

7. Use video.

Make your outreach even more enticing to prospects by including a video. Use it to introduce yourself or provide additional content.

8. Block out time for prospecting.

Set aside dedicated prospecting time on your calendar each day. Prospecting isn’t easy and by blocking out time to prospect, you’ll be better off in the long run because you’re actively filling your pipeline.

9. Spend time on social media.

Implement a social selling strategy and meet prospects wherever they are. It’s likely that a fair amount of people who’ve researched your product are active on social media (e.g., Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.). Answer their questions and share content that’s relevant to their research.

10. Host a webinar.

Webinars are a perfect place to find new leads, because you know the attendees have a demonstrated interest in the topic. Partner with other organisations in your industry to host a webinar on a mutually beneficial topic.

After the webinar, survey your audience to see who’s ready to learn more about your product/service. Consider a survey form that asks them to answer “Yes” or “No” to statements like “I’m ready for a demo,” or “I’d like to learn more about [Your company name.]

11. Ask for referrals.

Once you’ve successfully closed new business, ask your prospect or champion if there’s anyone in their professional network you might connect with.

It’s also a good idea to use follow-up communications over the next few months as another moment in which to ask for new connections.

12. Network at events.

First, find the right events to attend. Identify why people are attending a certain conference, if the agenda has topics relevant to your ideal customer, what the size of the community is, and the overall purpose of the event.

Once you identify the events that will give you the greatest ROI, map out which sessions you’ll attend, which happy hours or networking events you’ll work, and whether or not your company will have a booth or speaking presence there.

Don’t just stick to the same old sales prospecting techniques because it’s what you’ve always done. Practice different techniques until you find the right mix of techniques that effectively support your prospecting efforts and your sales goals.

If you’re struggling to find new prospects, maybe we can help.

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