Prospecting is an important part of selling process
Steps in selling process
2. Call planning
3. The visit – preliminaries
5. Trial close
6. Listening to the objections
7. Objection handling
8. Trial close
10. Follow-up and service
Prospecting identifies potential customers. Lead generation is a step prior to prospecting. A lead is also referred to as suspect. The term suspect indicates that a person is suspected of being a prospect. For every lead (or suspect), a salesman has to ask some questions and satisfy himself that there is chance that he may become a customer. Then that lead is categorized as qualified prospect.
The questions used in qualifying a lead as a prospect are:
1. Does the person need the products or services that I am offering?
2. Does the person perceive the need?
3. Does the person have sincere desire to fulfill his need?
4. Can this person’s need be converted into a want for the products that I am offering?
5. Does the individual have the ability to pay?
6. Will the transaction with this person be profitable?
The sales person will generate a list of prospects or qualified prospects for each period say for each day and make sales visits. Every salesman needs adequate list of prospects to earn his daily bread through sales.
How to generate leads and prospects?
The sources which provide leads can be categorized as follows:
· Cold calls
· Personal acquaintances
· Bird dogs
· People with influence in a locality
· Exhibitions and public events
· News paper and other media
· Lists and directories (telephone directory)
· Old accounts
Cold calling is door-to-door visit by the salesman to each house in a neighborhood to locate people with a need for the product he is offering.
Personal acquaintances can be the leads. They can also suggest their neighbors as leads.
Bird dogs are people, who know residents well such as real estate sales person, gas station attendant, medical shop person, etc. who can give some information.
People with influence in a locality like social workers, political leaders can be approached to get suggestions regarding persons who are likely to have the need for the product.
Exhibitions and public events can be used to attract leads. The salesman can distribution some literature or pamphlet or exhibit the product and the persons who approach him become the leads.
Newspapers and other media like internet can be gleaned to locate persons.
Telephone directory provides scope for cold calling through phone. Similarly other directories of various professionals etc. are a useful source for leads.
Old customers can be requested to suggest their friends who may have a need for the product.