Sales teams that want to drive exponential growth need to focus on high-profit prospects. Mark Hunter has created a practical guidebook to help outbound sales teams do just that.
At the beginning of High-Profit Prospecting, he clearly makes the case that while communication methods have changed (email, social, instant message, chat…) the real change that sales to which reps should pay attention is who has the knowledge. “The evolution of prospecting is not due to the number of communication methods available, but rather to the shift in who has the knowledge.” The knowledge has shifted away from sales reps to prospects.
With this shift in knowledge, Mark agrees with me and Larry Levine, my co-host on the Selling From the Heart Podcast: “[Since] the customer has access to more knowledge, so the only way to counterbalance that is by convincing the customer to have confidence in you.” This confidence begins during the prospecting process. “A prospect who does not have confidence in you is not a prospect.”
This book is practical, full of real-world examples. It also includes frameworks for prospecting fundamentals like emails and call scripts. This is the kind of book a sales professional will want to keep on their desk, dog-eared and with post it notes.
Focus Your Prospecting Efforts On Ideal Clients
A kindred spirit to the core philosophy of the Revenue Growth Engine, Mark believes in focusing prospecting activity around ideal clients. In the book, he quotes Anthony Iannarino:
“Not all clients are created equal. Neither are all prospects. It’s easy to spend your time with prospects who are receptive, who are willing to meet with you. But the real results you need in sales only come from pursuing your “dream clients,” those prospects for whom you can create breath-taking, jaw-dropping, earth-shattering value.”
A few weeks ago, at the Sales 3.0 conference, I heard Mark talking about the importance of identifying your ideal client profile. I couldn’t agree more. All great prospecting begins with the ideal client.
Lead With Value Not Price
He believes that the way you start the sales process is the way the process will end. Begin with price, and you’ll get swept to the bottom. “If anything in your sales prospecting strategy is price-oriented, then guess what? You’re naturally going to attract low-value prospects.” Instead, he recommends that you begin with one of two objectives: overcoming a problem or helping them achieve a gain.” In Revenue Growth Engine, the parallel is “outcomes” since buyers don’t buy products, they buy the outcomes the products deliver.
Mark advises: “Don’t overcomplicate things. Keep your focus on the customer’s wants and needs and you’ll avoid having to go down the price trap road.”
Multi-Channel Prospecting Processes
I often cite the Salesforce.com study that says it takes 6-8 touches to get a viable appointment. Mark agrees. Salespeople need to have a plan that includes multiple touches across multiple channels. In the book, he asks a series of excellent questions that can guide a sales rep or team through creating their own prospecting plan that incorporates multiple touches over the phone, email, and social networks.
Mark makes an important correction to many of today’s reps regarding email prospecting. “It’s not that email is a terrible prospecting tool. It’s a fantastic tool when used for the right reasons, and I do use it all the time. Just remember it’s only one of your prospecting tools. Unfortunately, because it’s so easy to use, too many salespeople use it too much.”
Prospecting Must Be The Priority
“Prospecting is not something you do when you don’t have anything else to do. It’s not something you do when you suddenly find yourself without enough customers. Prospecting must be something you do on a regular basis.” Sadly, prospecting has become an “end of the day” priority for many reps and does not get done consistently.
Mark advocates for prospecting to be the first thing a sales rep does each day. He also encourages reps to have discipline: “Motivated people exhibit discipline in what they do and how they do it. With regard to prospecting, that means they have established times to prospect in their day and they do it.”
At the beginning of the book, Mark dispels six myths about prospecting. Here they are:
- One and Done
- I’ll Prospect When I’m Done Taking Care of My Customers
- It’s Impossible To Have a Dedicated Time to Prospect
- We’ve Made It This Long Without Having to Prospect
- If We Provide Great Customer Service We Won’t Have To Prospect
- Only Born Salespeople Can Prospect
There are so many good things in this book. I would say High-Profit Prospecting is a must-read for today’s sales professional.
Originally Published on Revenue Growth Engine.