You’ve heard us talk about prospecting in the past. We’ve spent numerous posts discussing the value and strategies to successfully prospect in today’s sales environment. We’ve discussed structuring prospecting emails, how to overcome objections during the prospecting phase, and virtually every other detail of the process. I hope you’ve implemented some of our tips and have seen some positive results! But chances are, prospecting may, at times, still feel like a stressful, tedious talk and this can be frustrating. It can make you question the value of the task. Could it be because you’re prioritizing the wrong objective behind your sales prospecting efforts?
For most business development professionals and sales reps, prospecting is focused on “selling the meeting.” In other words, you are putting yourself out there by talking to as many customers that fit your target demographic, making as many connections as you can, with the hope that you can set an appointment for a future discovery call and turn the connection into a customer. It’s demanding and often mentally draining as you are likely going to experience a high level of rejection.
Now, there are a number of tricks to stay motivated during this process. But that’s not the point of today’s post. Instead, I want to offer you a different point of view. I want to pitch to you how sales prospecting can contain a different objective. This approach doesn’t necessarily look for a “yes” or a “no.” Rather, it focuses on the value of the “no, not now.”
By taking a fall back position of “no, not now,” think of it as a first step towards a successful business connection that may turn into a sales opportunity down the road. Simply put, when looking to set appointments, also consider leaving the call with an opportunity to later connect with and nurture contacts. These contacts may not be ready for a purchase or appointment just yet, but with the right approach, they may turn into a customer in the future.
The idea of nurturing leads is far from a new concept. Effective marketing campaigns have long been associated with “lead nurturing.” What that means is that sales professionals develop a relationship with buyers at a very early stage of the sales funnel. If you apply this philosophy to your prospecting efforts, the desired outcome of your prospecting calls shifts. You are no longer just looking at “setting appointment or bust,” but also at a customer-centric sales process that begins with leading the buyer towards a buying decision, even if they aren’t necessarily ready. Once the prospect gets to a point where they are ready to engage, your initial prospecting and nurturing efforts will bear fruit and your “no, not now” contact will consider you as a potential solution.
While setting appointments will and always should be an inevitable aspect of sales prospecting, it is important to understand the value in seeing and capitalizing on all contacts made with prospects. Not every customer will say “yes” right away, and many will say “no,” no matter how good your prospecting game is. In those instances, it’s critical that you realize that your outreach and prospecting efforts have not been in vain.