Secrets to Getting in Front of Your Best Prospects

As a salesperson, your ultimate goal, of course, is to make that sale. But the process begins with selecting your best prospect. The objective is to spend more time with your best prospects and less time with suspects.

In order to do that, there are three 'secrets' or keys to getting in front of your best prospects:

? Define or identify who your best prospect is.

? Be active. The primary reason sales people fail is lack of activity and/or focus.

? Be persistant. Follow up with clients. Be there when they need you.

Who, then, is your best or ideal prospect? The obvious answer is anyone who has a need, can write a check or make a decision. If you were to pursue that avenue, however, you would be reaching out to nearly everyone. Remember, you're not interested in any prospect, you need to identify your best prospect.

For example, if you asked a successful realty agent who their best clients are, they would say someone who is renting but looking to buy, or a homeowner who wants to sell. That makes sense, but it's too ambiguous. The next logical question would be "What is your primary source of income?" The answer: Listings ? a realty agent's best prospect is someone who wants to sell their home, because that's where the money is.

You have narrowed the field, but need to take it a step further. Your next question, then, is "Who is most likely to sell their home?" We posed this question to Paradigm Associate real estate clients.

After careful thought, consideration and research, they identified three target groups who would be most likely to sell their home in the Metro New York area. They include households that no longer have children in the school system, therefore, they do not want to pay exorbitant property taxes associated with large single family homes; households impacted by consolidations and layoffs in banking, finance and advertising ? many have decided they no longer can afford or need the proximity to New York City; and homeowners employed by international companies where employees are likely to be transferred every few years, because often, they are responsible for buying/selling their own homes.

Based on that information, it would make sense to devise a selling strategy that focuses on reaching out to these three specific market segments as opposed to reaching out to everyone who may or may not move in the next two years.

Therefore, when defining who your best prospect is:

? Review your prior sales records and activity logs and compile a list of why your customers purchased from you in the past.

? Next, confirm that these are, in fact, the reasons they selected your firm. The most effective way to do this is to call your customers.

? Ask your clients the following questions ? What was the major benefit you received by working with our organization? Why did you select us and not our competition? What advice do you have for us? That is, what should we be doing more/less of? What should we be doing differently?

The first two questions remind both you and your clients about your strengths, your capabilities and they reaffirm the things you do well. It's much easier to reach your best prospects when you are clear about what distinguishes you from your competition. The third question allows you to develop a close relationship with your customer. Not only will you discover future needs, but it presents an opportunity to become a trusted advisor. More often than not, the best prospects in your market will buy from those they trust.

Once you have identified your best prospect, remain active. Ask yourself the following questions:

? Do I have a list of 25 decision makers I can contact each day?

? Do I see at least one key decision maker each day and have an agenda prepared for them?

? Do I have a clear picture of how my product or service can benefit my future client?

? Do I have goals in place for each of my customers?

? Do I have a follow-up system in place?

That last question leads to my final point ? You need to be persistant. In my more than 18 years of sales training, what I have found in tracking results is that our clients work with us not because of our good looks, best jokes or tee times, but because we follow up.

The best and most successful firms are those whose sales people are persistant. I recently had a discussion with Lew Hoff, Founder and CEO of Bartizan Data Systems. He told me about his firm's first client which he signed on in 1970 and who remains with him today. Through the years, this client has provided Bartizan with more than $1.5 million in revenue. After all these years, Lew asked his customer why they chose Bartizan over the four more experienced providers. His client's response was, "Because you were the only one who followed up."

Michael W. O'Reilly is a Senior Business Development Director for Paradigm Associates, LLC, an executive leadership development firm based in Cranford, NJ. He specializes in working with privately held companies that are focused on succession planning or assuring optimal value as a takeover target. His primary focus is helping organizations implement strategies to double their business, strengthen systems and gain easier access to capital. Recognized as a former salesperson, trainer and franchisee for Dale Carnegie Training, O'Reilly and his instructional and sales teams have worked with more than 3,000 business people from 200 different companies. He is a recognized speaker on the subjects of sales strategies and business development.

Visit http://www.ParadigmAssociates.US

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