My company has recently started to carry a new product – breast pumps. I will admit that it is sometimes a little awkward when I first walk walk into an OB/GYN office unaccompanied. All the eyes in the room turn to me as if to say, “did you mean to come in here?”.
Anyway, the main point of this post is that I absolutely love to prospect for new business! I love it, love it, love it!
The old saying in sales is that a prospect is only a suspect until you qualify them. Well, that’s what I love to do. I love to ask them questions to, 1) get them comfortable talking to me, (do not just vomit product/service information on your prospect) 2) build rapport, and 3) get valuable information. Asking questions is so very key to find out valuable information. When you’re asking them questions and they’re answering they will give you cues via body language and via what they actually say for what is important to them. Watch for these cues and once you pick up on what’s important to them stay on that and find out more information for why it’s important. Later on in the sales process you can wax poetic for why your product or service fills their need. One of the most important things is to ask them questions that require them to think – do not ask yes or no questions. Ask pointed, probing questions that get you the answers that you need. Sometimes it helps to start with general questions and whittle it down progressively to specific questions; but ask questions that get you the answers you need.
I liken my prospecting to fixing a flat tire, I have to find where the hole is in the tire to be able to fix the problem. Once I locate the hole then I can figure out what materials and tools I’ll need to fix the tire. Well, just like in prospecting for breast pumps, I have to find the main source in a town where the breast pump referrals are coming from. Are they coming from the hospital, the OB/GYN offices, the pediatric offices, or some other source? Once I’ve found where they’re coming from then I’ll have an idea of how to approach the source because they all have different call points – office managers, charge nurses, lactation specialists, the Obstetrician, etc. Then I’ll go in and start with my golden questions.
Another key thing to remember is to not waste the prospect’s time. I’m now calling on charge nurses on labor and delivery floors in hospitals. I could have a nurse get called into a delivery at any point in our conversation and need to be very economical with her time and my time. They’re time is very valuable to the hospital they work for and most importantly to the patients they take care of.
Second to last thing; shut up! Stop talking. If you think back to college lecture classes how boring was it to hear the professor drone on and on about something…not very. Silence is not your enemy – sometimes your prospect will need time to process the information you are relaying to them – which requires them to pause and think. I like to play an inner game and see how long I can go without saying a single word to my prospect. If they’re thinking or talking more than me that’s a good sign that they’re keyed in on your product or service. Watch for their buying cues!
Oh…and above all, don’t forget to close the sale…ask for their business…sign on the dotted line…whatever your business does to secure business you have to ask for it. Very seldom do people just offer their business to you – go after it!
Good luck in turning your prospects into customers!
This was a quick and dirty post that hit me as I was walking out of a labor and delivery floor in a hospital. Forgive any typos or run-on sentences. In the future I’ll go more in-depth on some of these points to elaborate, further explain and give some tips that I’ve learned in my sales career.