For a lot of people, especially those who are new to sales, prospecting can be a scary process. The risk of rejection can be a lot to handle, especially during times (like now), when virtual interactions are the only real way to reach out. If you’ve found yourself struggling with virtual prospecting, take a look at our list of the top 10 things to avoid.
1. Go into it cold. This is especially important if you’re prospecting via social media--avoid turning every interaction into a sales pitch. You’re much more likely to create impactful relationships with your prospect if you establish rapport first and create a meaningful relationship. That means you need to take your time. Learn about their interests, find commonality, and slowly introduce your pitch over a series of interactions. If this is something you struggle with, you can always try using the FORM method. Ask questions about their Family, Occupation, Recreation, and either Motivation until you start to understand them and their needs better. In the best-case scenario, you’ll eventually have a new customer. However, if they’re not ready to take advantage of your opportunity right now, at least you’ll have a new friend.
2. Get too focused on your checklist. You may have a prospecting quota or suggested number of “touches” to fill, but getting too caught up in a checklist can derail your efforts. Instead of methodically going through the motions (call, text, email, check, check, check), take the time to work on building real relationships. Your prospects probably won’t be thrilled if you’re solely focused on marking their name off a list, rather than assisting them in finding products that will better their lives. Use your time to focus on qualified prospects who are likely to say yes instead of blindly spraying invitations to everyone in your circle. This is especially critical when virtually prospecting, as some of the human-to-human connection that is essential to the sales process can be hard to mimic over technology.
3. Be too apologetic. You believe in your product or you wouldn’t sell it. A common mistake made by new sales professionals is to repeatedly apologize before introducing a product or opportunity pitch. Focusing on phrases like, “I apologize for bothering you, I’m so sorry for taking up your time, I’ll get through this fast so you can get your day back,” doesn’t exude confidence. Instead, try saying something like, “I know you’re really busy and I wouldn’t take up any of your valuable time if this wasn’t something I believe could change your life/business/etc.” Be genuinely enthusiastic, and that authenticity will shine through.
4. Give up. Overcoming objections is a crucial part of selling something, and if you give up every time someone has a concern, you probably won’t be very successful. While you should definitely avoid being overly pushy, you should be taking the time to truly listen to any objections and try to establish a solution before dropping your prospect. The “Feel, Felt, Found” method is a popular way to do this. It works like this: “I understand how you feel--I had a client who felt the same way. But then she found that this was hugely beneficial because of these reasons…”
5. Do all the talking. When you’re excited to share something, it can be easy to suffer from “verbal vomit” and forget to let your prospect get in a word. Be sure to take time to sit back and listen. If you give them the chance, your prospect will probably tell you exactly what they’re looking for and how you can help them get it. Listen to their story and then decide how your product fits into their life. If you’re interacting via video chat, you may find it worthwhile to actually mute yourself during this listening period.
6. Forget to follow up. Every time you have a conversation about your product or opportunity, you need to follow up within a reasonable amount of time. For best results, try to arrange a follow-up conversation or appointment within 48 hours of your initial pitch. This is your opportunity to effectively respond to any concerns and decide what steps you need to take to get them fully on board with what you’re offering.
7. Waste time. Your time is precious, and so is your prospect’s. Before you sit down to have a conversation about what you’re selling, make sure you’re organized and prepared. Take some time to come up with any answers to potential questions or objections, organize your sales materials, and be ready to jot down any information you’ll want to refer to later. The verbCRM app is a great way to organize, manage, and share your marketing content. (And, bonus: it features automatic follow-up capabilities. Click here to learn more.) Check out the full comprehensive walk through video of verbCRM below.
8. Come off as uneducated about your offering. Nobody expects you to be an expert on everything, but you should know enough about what you’re selling to exude confidence and answer most questions. If you’re still a little shaky about details, create a cheat sheet (this is one-time virtual prospecting can be beneficial--it’s easy to keep a cheat sheet off-camera) or have someone you can call on to provide support if necessary.
9. Be too forceful. Be conscious of social cues so you know when to keep pushing and when to back off. If you’re texting and your conversation starts to drift into one-word responses (or you’re getting totally ghosted), it may be time to take a break from the hard sell. Remember that it’s better to keep your relationships intact than to force a one-sided conversation.
10. Forget to provide value. This is where creating a customized interaction with every prospect is key. If you’re trying to force everyone into the same mold, chances are good that they won’t be able to see what value you can provide to their individual situation. Be sure to develop personalized solutions for every prospect before you give your pitch so they know exactly how your product can benefit them.
Featuring livestream e-commerce, interactive video tools, a centralized content hub, and more, Verb offers myriad ways to improve your sales processes. To learn more, reach out for a demo today!
About the author:
Wife, supermom, foodie and talented critic, Heather Hanson, is a skilled veteran in copy writing, editing, creative writing, and social media outreach. She brings a lot to the table with Verb, and has been recognized by our company as our National Treasure.