What is Prospecting?

Prospecting is the first step in the sales process, which consists of identifying potential customers, aka prospects.

The goal of prospecting is to develop a database of likely customers and then systematically communicate with them for converting them from potential customer to current customer.

What a Customer wants

  1. Just give me the facts – No long-drawn answers
  2. Tell me the truth—(and don’t use the word “honestly”—it makes me nervous about your offering)
  3. I want an ethical Sales person
  4. Give me a good reason why your offering is perfect for me and better than other available options
  5. Show me some proof of what you say
  6. Show me I am not alone. Tell me about a similar situation where someone like me succeeded
  7. Ask me the right questions. It gives me the confidence that your care for my business
  8. Tell me and show me how you will serve after you sell to me
  9. Tell me and show me your price is fair via-a-vis the benefits that I am getting
  10. Show me the best way to pay – a few alternatives

Effective Prospecting Practices

5-Point Preparation for a Customer meeting / Call

How to achieve exponential Sales growth: SaleX approach

SaleX: Power of Multiplier effect

Cold Calling tips


  1. Earn Right & Respect to carry on the conversation.
  2. Create interest for further discussion….engage the prospect
  3. Obtain a specific next step (a conference call, a date, a demo etc.). Specify the agenda

Be Prepared (in the fewest words)

What do I sell? How do my customers benefit (functional, commercial, emotional) when they buy my products /services?

Keep in mind

  • Speak slowly. In short sentences
  • Maximize every word, syllable and pause
  • The opening statement is not meant to close a prospect
  • Never use industry jargon or unnecessary thousand dollar words
  • Avoid vagueness

Power Statement (Elevator pitch)

A statement that makes your offering outstanding (differentiated), relevant, credible, understandable and buyable

Example 1

ABC is an employee-centric digital platform for all People Operations that can reduce the time spent on Operations by 50%.
You can say Goodbye to tracking work through emails and have all the required information in one place to take business decisions and get impactful analytics.

No other platform brings operations, collaboration and analytics together like we do.

Example 2

Hi, I am Bob Smith from XYZ Company. We manufacture WaterLite, a commercial grade water purification system that dramatically reduces the content of impurities in drinking water by 99.5%
Our clients like GE, Coca Cola and Infosys appreciate our patented osmotic process that uses one-third the power of a traditional water purifier, while reducing the installation space to half.

Words to consider using in your Conversation and Voicemail

  • Maximize, increase, grow (sales, customer retention, productivity etc.)
  • Minimize, reduce, decrease, eliminate (expenses, customer service challenges, diversions etc.)
  • Profit from
  • Specific, specifically
  • Save, conserve
  • Accumulate, acquire
  • Prevent
  • Fully
  • Immediate, now

Questions / Phrases to avoid in your Opening statement

  • How are you today?
  • I would like to learn a little more about your business to determine……………
  • We are the leading provider of………………
  • We work with several of your competitors………..
  • I would like to see if there are some ways we might work together……
  • Is now a good time to talk?
  • Did I catch you in a wrong time?

RISK : Hi [first name]… This is [your name] from [ company name].. We provide [product/service] to help people [minimize, maximize, prevent etc.] [something of importance]…. I am calling to see if this might be helpful to [you / your clients]

EFFICIENCY: Hi [first name]…This is [your name] from [ company name].. We help companies fully profit from their existing resources through our [product / service] that [does/has/have whatever differentiating point or feature]…. I am calling to see if you would be interested in discussing how it might help you [whatever] efforts/ initiatives…

SAVINGS: Hi [first name]…This is [your name] from [ company name].. We deliver [product/ service] which might be able to save you more than x % on your [whatever] expenses. Would you be interested in discussing how it might benefit you?

In B2B scenario, on an average — a Sales person makes 52 dials, has 8 conversations, has an option to leave 44 voicemails — every day

  • 80% of calls go to voicemail, and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned.
  • The average voicemail response rate is 4.8%.
  • The average sales rep makes 1.7 and 2.1 attempts to reach a prospect by phone, before giving up
  • 8-12 contact attempts over a 10-14 day period is the optimal strategy to maximize the value of every lead.
  • A well-crafted voicemail can improve response rates by 3% to 20%

Voicemail tips

Objectives of Voicemail:

  • Get a call back AND advance the sales call
  • Make the prospect more likely to take your next call

A Sales person may blow the Voicemail in 2 ways:

  1. He / she may not leave a message at all
  2. He / she may leave a message that kills sales

Why Voicemails fail:

Unprepared Salesperson, Unclear Objective articulation, Unrehearsed message

Should I leave a Voice message ?

YES — But don’t be a pest. Twice in a week is fine.
The message must be Clear, Creative, Concise (20 to 30 seconds)

DIRECT: Hi {Prospect’s Name} this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.
I’m calling because I have an idea on how to possibly help you avoid {specifics of common pain}. Just wanted to see if it would make sense for us to have a quick conversation to find out more. I can be reached at {Your Number}.
Again, my name is {Your Name}, with {Your Company} at {Your Number}. Thanks {Prospect’s Name}

COMPETITION: Hi {Prospect’s Name} this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.
We recently helped {Competitor 1}, {Competitor 2} and {Competitor 3} avoid{common pain} while at the same time improved{desired benefit}. Just wanted to see if this might be something you would possibly be interested in knowing more.
Again, my name is {Your Name}, with {Your Company} at {Your Number}.Thanks {Prospect’s Name}

REFERENCE: Hi {Prospect’s Name} this is {Your Name} with {Your Company}.
I was speaking with {Referral Name} over at {Referral’s Company Name} regarding how we helped him/her reduce {common pain/concern} and he/she mentioned that I should give you a call to get your opinion on this strategy.
Again, my name is {Your Name}, with {Your Company} at {Your Number}.Thanks {Prospect’s Name}

After leaving a Voicemail, send a follow-up mail the next day Hi {Prospect’s Name},

Subject : Voicemail
Decision-makers are more likely to open an email with the subject line “Voicemail” because they want to be sure they didn’t miss anything.

SAMPLE E-MAIL (Competition): Hi {Prospect’s Name},

Hi {Prospect’s Name},
Yesterday, I left you a voice message regarding how we recently helped competitor 1, 2, and 3 eliminate {common pain} and gain {desired benefit}. Just wanted to see if it made sense for us to have a quick conversation. I can be reached at {your number}.
Your Name}

Keep in mind:Hi {Prospect’s Name},

  • 92% of all customer interactions happen over the phone, according to The Brevet Group.
  • 80% of sales require 5 follow-up calls after a first meeting. 44% of sales reps give up after one follow-up.

E-Mail campaign tips

Prospecting emails vs. marketing emails. There is a huge difference between marketing emails and prospecting emails. Marketing emails are emails that are sent out to large email lists—that is, one communication going to many.
Prospecting email is a communication from a human being going to another individual human being. Personalization is the key.

  1. Target audience & Right database: Be clear about your target audience and compile the right database
  2. E-mail cadence: Depending on your target audience, think and decide on your E-mail cadence
  3. Subject line: Must be short, relevant and compelling. Else your mail will remain un-opened
  4. Be clear. If your prospect does not understand what you are talking about, that prospect will simply delete your email.
  5. Craft your message. It is far too easy to type something quickly and then hit ‘send.’ Take time to craft your email and focus it on how you help your customers, challenges you resolve for customers and/or outcomes you’re able to achieve for customers.

For more details and implementation guidance, you may please contact the author.

Aurijit Ganguli (aurijit@bizwinconsulting.com)