prospectingHere’s what you might have missed from No More Cold Calling this month.

Think winning is acknowledging a prospect’s pain? Think winning is focusing on a prospect’s desired outcome and then demonstrating how your solution gets results they can bank on? That’s not winning. That’s just playing the game—the same game every other salesperson is playing.

Prospects are bored, and salespeople have become a commodity. We all look the same to our buyers, and that’s a problem. If they can’t distinguish one company from the next, they won’t choose any of us. The status quo looks really good in comparison.

How do we win? By sharing a vision of the future and clearly articulating a prospect’s unconsidered needs.

Not buying it? I wasn’t either … until I sat with Corporate Visions at their Executive Insights World Tour and heard Tim Riesterer explain the concept. He said the most important questions salespeople need to answer for their buyers are: “Why Change and Why Us?”

What are prospects not doing well? What problems do they not know they have, and what opportunities do they not realize they’re missing? Answer those questions, and you’ve created the buyer’s vision for the future. According to research by Corporate Visions, salespeople who create that buying vision win deals 76 percent of the time.

Sales teams who adopt referral selling have an advantage: Their referral sources generate enough value for prospects to agree to a meeting. Then it’s up to the referred sales reps to create the buying vision.

For more on the power of referral selling, check out this month’s blog posts from No More Cold Calling:

Why Reps Hate Asking for Referrals Just as Much as Cold Calling

Let’s set the record straight: Most everyone on your sales team has call reluctance—whether they’re cold calling or asking for referrals. Surprised? I was. What’s to fear about prospecting? After all, I only talk to people who want to talk to me. I use the referral system I developed 20 years ago. It works. But then I remembered the first time I managed a sales team. I decided that cold calling was not the way to generate qualified sales leads. I recalled that my best business had always come from asking for referrals, so why shouldn’t my team adopt a referral system? They all agreed that referrals were the best way to work. As I quickly learned, it was one thing to get people to agree to referral selling in principle and another to actually implement. I tried coaching, I tried demonstrating, and I tried setting goals and incentives. In the end, committing to a referral system as our primary outbound prospecting strategy met the same reluctance as cold calling. (Read “Why Reps Hate Asking for Referrals Just as Much as Cold Calling.”)

3 Ways to Guarantee Referral Prospecting Success

All things being equal, we work with friends. All things not being equal, we work with friends. And when we need a specialist, we ask a friend. That’s why referral selling is the only prospecting strategy that ensures qualified lead generation, but it only works if you have a referral system in place to ensure sales reps ask for referrals every day. The business case for referral selling is loud and clear. When sales reps receive referral introductions, they score meetings with decision-makers, reduce the time it takes to close deals, spend more time with customers and less time prospecting, get in before buyers know they have a need, and convert prospects into clients at least 50 percent of the time. Yet, fewer than 5 percent of companies have a disciplined, measurable, proactive referral system. (Read “3 Ways to Guarantee Referral Prospecting Success.”)

What Millennials Can Teach Us About Lead Generation

I’m not a millennial—not even close—but I love the way they think, act, and react … mostly. I don’t love seeing a table of millennials glued to their phones. Gathering for meals used to mean we talked to each other. How are they ever going to build a referral network or connect with clients if they’d rather type than talk? But they certainly have one thing going for them in sales: They question everything. In today’s ever-evolving business landscape, lead generation is tougher than it’s ever been. Prospecting strategies that once worked don’t work anymore, and cold calling—which never worked so great in the first place—is now a complete waste of time. In this environment, sales leaders would be wise to take a cue from millennials and start asking, “Why are we working this way?” If there’s not a good answer, it might be time for a change. (Read “What Millennials Can Teach Us About Lead Generation.”)

How to Identify Strategic Accounts for Your Account-Based Sellers

How should sales leaders segment accounts for their account-based sellers? The solution seems simple: Decide which companies to target based on predictive analytics and client history with your company. In other words, which companies bring in the most revenue? But the answer isn’t always that simple. Savvy sales leaders also consider their expertise in specific verticals, geography, and most importantly, relationship strength. (Read “How to Identify Strategic Accounts for Your Account-Based Sellers.”)

Test Your Referral Savvy

I’m conducting a study on referrals, and I need your help. Please take my 14-question Referral I.Q. Quiz. The questions are mostly “Yes/No,” and it should take less than four minutes to complete. Rest assured, it’s completely anonymous, with no forms to fill out.

Once you’ve finished, you’ll be bounced over to a results page, where you can see the aggregated answers from everyone who has participated.

Take the Referral I.Q. Quiz now.

My goal is to get a 1,000-person sample, so please invite your network to take the quiz as well. Participation is anonymous, and I promise you won’t be added to any lists. Thanks in advance for your support!


Copyright: sindlera / 123RF Stock Photo