In this episode of the Selling in Asia Podcast, Tom Abbott sits down with Jason Bay, Chief Prospecting Officer at Blissful Prospecting, to discuss why prospecting is still so important in today’s sales landscape. So get ready for an episode dedicated to discussing everything and anything related to cold outreach, whether that’s cold emails, cold calling, sequencing, mindset, or objection handling – Tom and Jason cover it all.
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What is prospecting?
Well, let’s start with what prospecting isn’t. First of all, many people look at prospecting and selling like they’re the same thing, and in fact, those are two completely different skills. So, for instance, if you’re good at selling, that can help you a lot with the prospect. And if you’re good at prospecting, that can help you sell.
Prospecting is a process of identifying possible customers by finding them and creating a base of leads to further interact and convert them into paying customers. For this reason, prospecting is also sometimes known as lead generation. However, the critical difference between the two is that lead generation focuses on both inbound and outbound approaches, whereas prospecting focuses on outbound only.
Ultimately, prospecting is everything up to the point of that first meeting. So it’s critical to remember when prospecting that we’re not selling stuff. If you sell when you prospect, you’re going to get thrown into people’s junk folders, and you’re going to be that person.
Why prospecting is SO important
So you’re probably thinking, “why is prospecting important? Why can’t I rely on attracting inbound leads?” Because prospecting is actively searching for and engaging potential leads, this opens up new possibilities compared to attracting leads. For example, better targeting capabilities, improved conversion rates, quicker replacement of your churned customers and obviously, a higher return on investment.
However, prospecting for most salespeople is something that they dread. Probably because when it comes to prospecting, most of the training that people get accompanies, it’s like, “Hey, here’s a list. And a script, go pick up the phone and write emails.”
This approach is like going to the gym and trying to lose weight, and you do something completely random. Every single time you go, there’s no consistency to anything. There’s no methodology behind it. Unfortunately, that’s how most people approach prospecting and end up essentially winging it!
How to blissfully prospect
Well, as Jason explains, it doesn’t have to be like this. In fact, prospecting can be simple and follow a proven methodology. Check out Jason’s approach to blissful prospecting below:
The first stage is identifying and targeting customers based on their ability to buy. So it would be best if you aimed to build a target list of a couple of hundred people who you’re sure will fit your ideal target customer or buyer persona. While it’s important to remember you shouldn’t be selling anything in the prospecting phase – if you sell anything – sell the idea of having a conversation with you.
Jason advises that he looks for several specific things when identifying target customers:
- What do they brag about on their website or LinkedIn?
- What do they educate their customers about?
- Where are they investing?
- Are they opening up new offices, closing offices?
The next stage is to, of course, engage your prospect. So the engagement stage is your ability to start a conversation with someone, which involves a combination of messaging and sequencing. As Jason explained, there are two parts to it – for the sequencing, he has a framework called K.I.S.S or “keep it simple sequencing”, because as he says, people overthink this part.
Overall, Jason advises that your engagement sequence be as streamlined as possible; however, it all depends on how many touches you have and how many different angles you’re taking. Usually, though, the prospecting sequence can last anywhere between two weeks to a month. Although he suggests that he wouldn’t recommend it if you’re considering spreading it out over a month because engagement will dither.
Lastly, once we’ve started these conversations, how do we get people into a meeting? Unfortunately, at this stage, objections are common. However, they’re usually pretty different in prospecting than in selling in the sense that most of them are not going to be real objections.
They’re what people refer to as shallow objections or stalls. For example:
- We don’t need this.
- We’re good.
- We’ve got it handled.
More so, Jason advises that people automatically have it ingrained into them just to say no, or reject anything they perceive as being sold to them – regardless of what it is or how useful it may seem.
So the fundamental key with objection handling is not to take away the person’s autonomy by telling the prospect why they need or should consider your solution. Why? Because they’ll feel as if you’re trying to control them – and this will repel them more. So there’s a fine line between pushing and also giving the other person their autonomy.
More about Jason Bay
Jason Bay is Chief Prospecting Officer at Blissful Prospecting. He helps reps and sales teams who love landing big meetings with prospects—but hate not getting responses to their cold emails or feeling confident making cold calls. A few of his clients have included reps and sales teams from companies like Zoom, CBRE, Databricks, Bolton & Company, Fortinet, and many more.
SOCO’s Prospecting Training equips your business development professionals with the skills and techniques needed to hunt for new leads, manage their pipeline, and tap existing customers as prospects. Achieved through a combination of strong content, group discussions, case studies, and Q&A so participants will learn how to generate leads using a modern prospecting method effectively.