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Friday, March 24, 2006

Prospecting for new business
Frank Furness
Wherever I speak in the World, one of the areas that sparks most interest is where and how to find new clients and prospect for new business. In the next few issues I will be addressing many ideas and techniques on how to find new business. Whether you are in sales, speaking, training, coaching and have a large or small business, you need to analyse where your new business is being found and how much activity and effort is being channeled into this area. If you are not constantly marketing, prospecting and introducing new clients, your business will be going backwards.
There are so many areas of finding new business: cold and warm calling, referrals, social and business networking, the internet, exhibitions, speaking engagements (most of my conference speaking engagements now come from speaking to decision makers groups), periodicals and magazines, centres of influence, observation and marketing yourself. Right now, take a pen and paper and make a list of where you can prospect more.
Let’s start with warm and cold calling. To me cold calling on the telephone is still as daunting now as it was 25 years ago, but it is the price I have to pay for not doing all the other activities and having a diary with gaps. The only difference now is that if the occasion ever now arises for me to make those cold calls, I do so with passion because I know they will result in engagements or sales. Most of the time these are as a result of obtaining referrals and this makes calling so much easier. On my sales programmes I tell people to phone when their energy levels are highest, but the truth is that I will phone anytime of the day now because I have the confidence and attitude that the call will have a positive result.
If you face a phoning session with a bad attitude and body language, you are throwing away potential new clients. All great sports people warm up before they start; we need to do the same in phoning. Make your first couple of calls to existing clients who you have a great relationship with. This will do three things: keep you in touch, put you in a positive frame of mind and warm up your voice. Have an objective for every call: is it to sell an appointment, or to follow up with a prospect. If you try to start selling your product or service over the phone, you will meet with many objections. If this is totally a cold call, they don’t know you, might not trust you and may dislike a pushy person on the other side of the phone. You need to develop rapport, trust and credibility and I find that this can be done far more easily when I am face to face with a prospective client. All I try to do on the phone is sell the appointment.
I was fortunate enough early in my career to hear possibly the best speaker on telephone technique in the world. Many of you may now own his books as Alan and Barbara Pease are best selling authors. After hearing Alan speaking 20 years ago, I bought his telephone programme and my ratios and sales increased dramatically. Alan has analysed the exact words and the psychology of the call and this resulted in him making 954 appointments out of 1,000 cold calls, pretty impressive!! His script for overcoming objections helped me to use only this technique and even now I use it to overcome any objection. Over the years I met Alan and got to know him and Barbara and have asked him a big favour for all my subscribers.
Click here to order 'How to make appointments by telephone

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