There are many industry standards when it comes to prospecting, but three established principles come to mind. In reference to the first step in any sale process, we are not inferring that the prospect contact is the very step. The fact is that engaging the prospect on the phone (most cases in online media selling) is really the second selling step. It is your level of expertise initially that will help determine your ability to grow a pipeline, sell consistently, and close more effectively. Keep in mind expertise comes from proven experience, not trying and trying to get a result with minimal results. It has to be part of an iterative learning experience.
That said the essential process that is being referred to here have been called pre-call planning, positioning, and prospecting; also called the three (3) P’s . Without the ability to invest sufficient time in pre-call planning, positioning, and prospecting effectively, you will have your chances for success neutralized at best and destroyed at worst.
P1= Pre-call planning involves customizing prospect activities to specific verticals and prospect types. You must learn key industry PAINS, not the features. These PAINS have to be linked to the prospects title and responsibilities, so your approach has a sense of urgency. It is the value your solution brings that creates interest on a cold call, not a product set of unique features, as promising as that sounds.
P2= Positioning involves being seen as an expert, a specialist, who can have a positive impact (create revenues: lower costs) on the prospect’s business and job responsibilities. Generalists cannot do this and the prospect rapidly will see that; especially in a crowded media field. By positioning your title, message, references, call to actions…in unison, you are a problem fixer. At best, you want to fix a problem that the prospect is not readily aware of, bringing to the surface a latent problem.
P3= Prospecting, the third in the process is simply picking up the phone. This means having goals, scripts, objection handling, call reluctance exercises, and eliminating distractions, so you can do what is not commonly enjoyed, often loathed, but critical to your success. The disciplined seller prospers most. If you lack it, seek out a coach, internal or external, to help stay focused and positive. Reward your self for a job well done each time you prospect.