As a new year is upon us it is important to focus on keeping your sales pipeline filled with prospects.  This is one of the most challenging aspects of the sales process. Today, most business professionals are bombarded via email and voicemail.  Convincing a prospect to spend time with you can take a colossal effort.

Sales executives are busier than ever. The last thing you want to do is waste your time chasing a prospect where the end result is the prospect not purchasing from you or worse yet, no decision at all.

The key is to accurately target potential customers and then qualify their likelihood of doing business with you and your company. The ValueSelling Framework™ provides you with a consistent formula for prospect qualification and will increase your productivity by keeping your pipeline free of prospects who will never buy from you.

Follow these steps to help you successfully identify prospects most likely to buy from you as opposed to those that will not:

1. Create the Profile 

  • Invest the time to profile what your ideal customer looks like. Think about who is most likely to do business with you and why.
  • Consider the make-up of the organization.
    • What size business most benefits from your product or solution?
    • From a technology standpoint, what would be the optimal infrastructure?
    • Do you cater to business-to-business or business-to-consumer organizations?

Keep in mind a key principle is: People need a reason to change. Can you predict the potential reason that a prospect would change their current state and do business with you?

Once you have created this profile, you will begin to map the universe of prospects to it. Identify which companies are likely to meet the key criteria of your prospect profile.

By establishing these criteria, you are better equipped to search for prospects who will find value in your offering.

2. Identifying the Prospect

  • Investigate within your potential prospect list the best individual by title or role to have interest in your    offering.
  • Leverage your existing client base.
    • Ask them whom else you should be talking to.
    • Referrals often come from within existing clients, for example another business unit, or from your prospect’s personal network. Never underestimate the power of simply asking for referrals and introductions.   This request can raise your credibility and also provide your client with a sense you respect their opinion.
    • Whenever possible, establish a relationship with more than one person in an organization.

3. Qualify

The best sales people make the buying process easy for their prospects. If you begin thinking like your prospects, you realize the four key questions anyone must answer, either consciously or unconsciously, to justify a purchase are:

    • Should I buy this? (Is their something in this product, service, or solution that resolves issues and problems that I acknowledge?)
    • Is it worth it? (Do I expect the value or impact of this solution to outweigh its cost and contribute to me personally?)
    • Can I do this? (Do I have the authority and financial fortitude to execute this decision?)
    • Am I convinced? (Have I gone through the appropriate steps, both within my organization and with the sales person, to be fully convinced in the capabilities proposed?)

It takes discipline and commitment to find new prospects. Make the commitment by calendaring time for this critical process and the associated activities. You will be pleased by the success you achieve.

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As Founder and CEO of Visualize, Scott spearheads the company’s overall strategic direction, planning and execution. Scott has over 25 years of experience in sales and sales leadership, building profitable companies.