How to go about Outbound Prospecting

Written by: James White

If business isn’t coming to you then you have two choices. You either sink or you swim.

What do I mean by swimming? Simple. We get out to our market by doing some outbound prospecting.

If you are not sure how to do outbound prospecting, or where to start, then keep reading. This blog will give you 8 key elements to put in place to become a prospecting rockstar.

Prospecting is one of these things that sometimes fills people with dread.

I often hear, “The thought of being able to go out to someone I don’t know and talk about who I am and what our company does, just doesn’t work.”

They then go on to say they will just wait for the leads to come in. A couple of months will go by and, guess what? Nothing has happened! The leads aren’t coming in the way you expected.

If your ship doesn’t come in to you, then you have to swim out to it.

If you want to hit targets and get your business booming, then you’ve got to have a focused outline and prospecting approach.

What are the key things that you need to put in place?

WHO IS YOUR TARGET PERSONA?

You have to know the target persona of the client you are trying to engage with. This doesn’t mean you decline other potential customers, but instead that you have an ideal customer in mind that we can target and work with.

Go ahead and give your ideal customer a name. Mine’s Sarah Smith.

When doing outbound prospecting, you must look at who you’re focusing on. You must have an idea of the common demographics and psychographics of that person.

If you go after everyone and anyone when outbound prospecting, you will waste time and be ignored. But, if you identify a persona of someone that’s a perfect prospect you, then you’re able then to start talking about the problems they have and in a good position to make an impact upon them.

WHAT PROBLEMS DO THEY HAVE?

What problems does “Sarah Smith” have? Start to get into their mind and identify the problems your persona has.

In outbound prospecting, it’s important to understand what’s going on in their world. By knowing what’s happening in their life, it shows that you understand their problems. Take an interest and know what’s happening around them. If you show that you want to understand them and who they are, they in turn will want to find about more about who you are and how you can help them.

Great things happen when we focus on our audience and the problems that are relevant to them. A key task you should do is write down the top 10 problems that your “Sarah Smith” has.

• What are the issues they’ve got?
• What are the things that cause them headaches?
• What’s causing them frustration right now?

Write down those problems and use them as the initial building blocks of a brilliant outbound prospecting campaign.

WHAT’S YOUR METHOD FOR ENGAGING?

This is a typical conversation I usually have when I’m training a new sales team:

“Well, I have done some prospecting but it didn’t work.”
“Tell me more about what you did?”
“I tried to make phone calls but they didn’t answer.”
“Did you try calling just once?”
“Yes.”
“Did you try anything else?”
“No.”

The reality in outbound prospecting is not going to be instant click your fingers and they buy from you. You have got to have a method that maybe lasts two, three, four months to engage you’re your audience.

The most effective method is to have a prospecting framework that says:

1. on day one of week one, I’m going to do this.
2. on day four I will do this.
3. etc.

It is important to have a method in place so you and your team know what is happening on certain days, and to make sure you are consistently engaging with your audience.

Don’t expect outbound prospecting to work if you just try one phone call, or one email or social media connection. It won’t happen automatically. You have to build a method over a time period that can add value to the people that you’re trying to work with. Focus on doing that and focus on being able to create value to support your prospects.

MULTIPLE MEDIA

There is a brilliant research article called Google Zero moments of truth and it highlights something that Google found out years ago.

Simply summarised, it takes seven hours of content across 11 interactions over four different mediums before someone feels comfortable to want to work with you.

Seven eleven four.

You need to be visible across multiple media, and there are four main ones you can use in outbound prospecting.

EMAIL

Sending people emails (the right way) is one method. Don’t focus on you and what you do, instead, use the words ‘you’ and ‘your’ as must as possible. Be selfless in your communication.

SOCIAL MEDIA

Direct messaging people on LinkedIn, or engaging via Instagram, Twitter of Facebook is another strategy. Social media is a great method to engage with our audience.

DIRECT MAIL

This method has sadly been lost a little bit in the marketplace, but I believe it is still incredibly powerful. Sending a card or a specific resource can quickly make them aware of you. It’s a great way of reaching out to people.

PHONE

Nothing beats speaking to someone directly.

We have to use all four if we want to create the right method with the right media to gain access to our target audience. origins. If you continue to provide value and insights and share ideas with your audience (based upon the problems they’ve got, and try to help them), people will then start to resonate with what you do and hopefully be encouraged to have a meeting with you.

Multiple media is really essential! Build a plan around this and how you can make those four methods work for you (over a period of time).

PREPARE

I found prospecting campaigns that fail are the ones that haven’t had any preparation. You have to prepare and know what the campaign is going to look like from start to finish.

You have to put the right infrastructure in place to get the results you want. Preparation will help you to be more successful in taking the right actions at the right time. Prepare an approach plan that can get you the right results.

I helped one of my clients who sold commercial laundry equipment achieve significant success over a two-year period by:
• building a persona;
• identifying the problems of the persona;
• building a sales method; and
• preparing a plan to get them where they wanted to be.

Your business can do it too if you take the time to prepare.

Benjamin Franklin said if you fail to prepare, then you’re preparing to fail. No one wants to put all their time and effort into doing great outbound work and then not get the right results! Make sure you’re preparing the right way and put some metrics in place to know what success is.

PRACTICE

The best way to get better at outbound prospecting is to practice. I love my golf, but do you think Tiger Woods got the results he did by just doing it once? No. He had to practice.

Outbound prospecting is no different. Practice, practice, practice! Practice within your team, do a role play activity, practice responding to objections that you may face from prospects.

When we practice it makes our brains feel comfortable. Then, when it comes to the real thing, you will come across incredibly confident when you respond to an objection you’ve practiced before.

If you want to be successful at outbound prospecting then make time to practice.Keep practicing!

MINDSET IS KEY

So many people’s mindset around prospecting is that they are worried about disturbing someone, or that the prospect won’t want to talk. They get all these emotions whirring round and that then effects their mindset.

I am not saying we want to feel happy about possibly being rejected, but it’s about being able to say that if we do get rejected, it’s not personal. They don’t personally dislike us. They just (at that moment) don’t want to buy your service.

The mindset of anyone doing outbound prospecting is critical. You have to accept that you’re going to have to kiss a few sales frogs to get a sales prince or princess. It does take a bit of work and it does take time, but results come when you do the work.

You don’t get the six pack without doing the repetitions. Keep your mindset focused on not seeing rejection as personal. I guarantee you if you keep focused on a positive mindset and send that next email or make that next phone call, you’re one stop closer to increasing your chances of success.

GET IT IN THE DIARY

Simple. Put outbound prospecting in your diary. And when it’s in your diary, you have to do it.

It’s much easier to make a coffee or wander through your social media, rather than saying “from 10 to 11, I’m going to do outbound prospecting”.

Put a timer on your phone. Remove distractions. Do not do anything else until that hour is over.

If you get into this habit of outbound prospecting daily for an hour, then you will start to see the results. You may not see them after two or three days, but in 30 days, you’ll start to see the impact of the work you’re doing.

Things will start to flow. It will take time, but keep persevering and putting the effort in. The results will come. Prioritise your prospecting time and eventually results will happen.

The method of knowing your audience knowing, their problems having a method to follow, reaching out across multiple media, preparing to get success through practicing, getting the right mindset in place and then putting time slots in your diary will get you success.

If you try all this and think James this doesn’t work for me, then feel free to reach out and let’s discuss reach out to me at james@thebsba.com.

If you take all of these points onboard then you stand a great chance of getting incredible results and taking you and your company, your business and your career to where you want it to go. Outbound prospecting is still alive it’s a great method to get people that don’t know about you, aware of who you are. Remember if leads aren’t coming through you have two choices you either fail or you go and make the targets happen through outbound prospecting. Plan the action and you’re going to get incredible results!

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