Several things plagued me when I started my first company. I worried about how to find new prospects. I didn’t know how to control my time. And I would oversell on the call and eventually talk myself out of the opportunity. There were three skills I had to learn, and fast. In the second part of our four-part series on The Sales Process, we discuss those three skills.

Prospecting

With the plethora of platforms that exist, there is no excuse for failing to generate a prospect list. Some lists can be purchased, and others can be built organically or free of charge. This means searching for referrals through existing connections to find new prospects that fit the target buyer or ideal customer profile. Existing connections could be current clients, networking groups, past clients, investors, and others. Use free platforms such as LinkedIn, Jigsaw, Opportunity, and others to create a prospect list. Add to it as you move through life and meet new people.

Setting Expectations Early

Before you start to dial a prospect or walk into an office, know what you want to achieve on the call or meeting. Jot down these goals to keep yourself on track. Knowing what you want to achieve makes it easier to set the tone for all calls and meetings. Express verbal agreements at the beginning of the interaction that outline expectations for both sides.

For example, a sales rep can ask a prospect, “Is it OK to ask a few questions about your business, and then I will show you a demo of our product to see if there is a potential fit for both of us?” It allows the prospect to feel comfortable and understand what is coming next, so no one feels ambushed by the next step. It also allows the sales rep to open up a two-way street in the selling process so that both parties arrive at a win-win conclusion.

Time Management

The most effective sales reps are able to make the most of their time, with more dials and more connects than other reps. The key to being highly productive is using good time management skills. Every rep should sort through leads to find the most promising ones, and not waste too much time on a deal that isn’t going anywhere. You can use analytics to identify the industry, business size, and other characteristics of ideal leads, and share the information with your team. It’s vital to make the most of the hours in the day to bring in more deals.

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