Sales are the lifeblood of any business.
And to get more sales, you need to get more leads.
So how can you convert more potential customers into leads?
That’s exactly what we are going to discuss today:
- What is sales prospecting?
- How to create a sales prospecting process that works?
- How can you go beyond sales prospecting to grow your business explosively?
We will also share how our co-founder Russel Brunson took ClickFunnels from zero to $10 million in annual revenue in just ONE YEAR.
What Is a Sales Prospect?
There’s a difference between a sales prospect and a lead:
- A sales prospect is someone who meets the criteria for being your dream customer. That’s all.
- A lead is someone who has expressed an interest in your product and has given you their contact details or it is someone who hasn’t given you their contact details but has expressed an interest in your product once you contacted them.
This is an important distinction. People often use the terms “sales prospect” and “lead” interchangeably. However, that is inaccurate, which is why it can lead to confusion.
What Is Sales Prospecting?
Sales prospecting is the process of turning a potential customer into a lead by getting them interested in your product.
Here’s the basic idea:
- You identify a potential customer.
- You find their contact information.
- You reach out to them via email, social media, or phone.
- You explain how your product will make their life better.
- You convert them into a lead by getting them to take the next step in your sales funnel (e.g. agreeing on a sales call).
Meanwhile, lead generation is the process of converting potential customers into leads by persuading them to give you their contact information.
It’s done by implementing the lead generation funnel:
- You create a lead magnet.
- You create a landing page for that lead magnet.
- You drive traffic to that landing page.
There are two other key differences between sales prospecting and lead generation:
- Sales prospecting is done manually, lead generation is automated.
- Sales prospecting is done by salespeople, lead generation is done by marketers.
Sales prospecting and lead generation have the same goal: to convert potential customers into leads.
However, they are not the same thing, which is why it’s important to understand the differences between them.
How To Create a Sales Prospecting Process That Works
So now you know what sales prospecting is.
But how can you create a sales prospecting process that works?
#1 Choose Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
In theory, you could keep track of everything with a spreadsheet, but in practice, that would quickly turn into a nightmare.
You would forget to follow up with both prospects and new leads, miss appointments with them, mix them up with someone else, etc.
That’s why you should start by choosing a customer relationship management (CRM) software that meets your company’s needs best.
Keap, formerly known as Infusionsoft, is one of the leading CRM solutions on the market.
Its customer relationship management functionality allows you to keep track of your entire sales pipeline. You can see prospects, leads, customers, etc.
Moreover, you can instantly pull the data on a particular individual, including the emails that you have exchanged, payment history, relevant documents, and so on.
All this is super helpful if you want to stay on top of things at all times. And it pays to be organized!
Read our Keap review:
And here are three more CRM software options that you might want to consider:
Don’t know which tool to choose? Then just pick the one that you like the best. What’s important is that you have a customer relationship management system in place.
#2 Define Your Dream Customers
One of the most common mistakes that entrepreneurs make is going after a target audience that is way too broad.
You see, if you try to appeal to everyone, you will end up appealing to no one. That’s why it’s so important to know who your dream customers are.
This is straightforward if you are already generating sales:
- Look at your sales data.
- Identify what traits your existing customers have in common.
- Use those shared traits to create a definition of your dream customers.
Alternatively, if you haven’t made any sales yet, then you need to make an educated guess. Who is most likely to benefit from your product?
Create a definition of your dream customers based on that educated guess, then adjust it once you have more data.
Note that you need to develop concrete criteria for what qualifies someone as your dream customer.
Also, if you are selling B2B products as opposed to B2C ones, you need to think about not one but two types of dream customers:
- The company.
- The decision-maker.
A company might be your dream customer, but it is not a sentient being, so it can’t buy anything from you.
So your “real” dream customer is the decision-maker who has the power to make that purchase. That’s who you will need to reach out to and persuade to buy your product.
#3 Make a List of 100 Dream Customers That You Want to Contact
Okay, so now that you know who your dream customers are, make a list of 100 of them that you want to contact.
As our co-founder Russell Brunson writes in his book “Traffic Secrets” (get it for FREE!):
“When you have a perfect vision of who your dream customer is, it becomes easy to find where they are congregating. On the contrary, if you don’t have perfect clarity on who that person is, it’s really hard to find them.”
So go where your dream customers hang out online, then make a list of the 100 most promising prospects.
#4 Determine the Best Way to Contact Your Dream Customers
Have your list of 100 dream customers?
Now you need to figure what is the best way to contact them:
- Cold email.
- Cold social media outreach.
- Cold calling.
Here are three factors that you should consider:
- Will you reach them? Your dream customers are busy people. They probably already have way too many emails, social media messages, and calls coming in. But you need to figure out which channel they pay attention to the most. Picking the right one is not a guarantee that they will notice your contact attempt, but it increases the likelihood of that happening.
Note that the most obvious channel may not be the best option. Say, an Instagram influencer might check their messages there regularly, but it is likely that they get so many of them that yours would go unnoticed.
Meanwhile, if you see that the same influencer is active on Twitter, but has a much smaller following there, sending them a tweet or a DM might make more sense.
- Is it appropriate? Some channels are more appropriate than others. Say, Facebook is generally seen as a “friends and family” social network, whereas LinkedIn is for professional connections. Consequently, cold outreach is more acceptable on the latter.
- Are you good at it? Some people are great at communicating via text but terrible on the phone. Meanwhile, others are great at selling on the phone but their emails look like they were written by a toddler. Play to your strengths.
#5 Find Contact Details of Your Dream Customers
Messaging dream customers on social media is easy.
You know what their handle is. So go ahead and reach out to them if you have determined that social media is the best channel for that.
However, if you have decided to go with cold email or cold calling, then you will need to find out either their email address or their phone number. And that might take some detective work.
You can start by:
- Checking their LinkedIn profile.
- Checking their personal website.
- Checking their company’s website
Then it’s time to use hunter.io.
It’s a search engine for emails. Type in the company name and you will see a list of emails addresses.
(Note that if you are contacting an independent individual, you can use the domain name of their personal website as the company name.)
And if you can’t find what you need that way, at least you’ll know the email address structure that the company in question is using.
You can then add the person’s name to that structure.
If people in that company tend to use a “firstname.lastname@example.org” template for their work email, then your dream customer’s email address might follow the same template. Send a cold email to that address.
Alternatively, once you see the list of email addresses, you can use LinkedIn to figure out who is who in that company.
Then you can email someone who knows your dream customer and ask them to forward your email.
#6 Start Doing Cold Outreach
Now you know how to reach your dream customers. But how can you do it effectively?
Here are three tips that can help you with cold email:
- Make your cold emails relevant.
- Use the QVC formula.
- Follow up!
Let’s take a closer look at each of them…
Make Your Cold Emails Relevant
Copywriter Laura Lopuch used cold email to launch and then 14x her freelance copywriting business.
She sent a total of 328 cold emails over the period of four months. This campaign had a 56% open rate and a 9% positive reply rate.
One of the reasons why her cold outreach was so effective was the fact that she made each and every email relevant to the recipient. What does that mean?
According to Laura, relevance isn’t the same as personalization (customizing the email by using the person’s name, company name, etc.).
“Relevance is about connecting the dots between “hey, I know your name” (personalized cold email) to “I can help you meet your biz goals” (smokin’ hot email),” she explains.
Here’s a screenshot of a cold email that was sent to her that she uses as an example of a message that is not relevant to the recipient:
As you can see, this company might be offering a valuable service, but the email comes off as a copy-paste.
Moreover, the sender discusses SEO but doesn’t tie it to the recipient’s business aka $$$.
Now check out Laura’s rewrite of that same email:
See how in this version, the sender is offering the same service, but they make it relevant to the recipient by connecting it to their bottom line?
Here’s how Laura explains it:
“Look at that hook! “Did you know your website isn’t visible on Google’s first page of search results?”
That’s relevant to the reader.
And so is the line that follows.
And the next line.
The whole thing uses the same information that the control cold email used – but this rewrite feels relevant to the reader because it takes place in their context.”
So how can you make your emails relevant to your dream customers?
Laura advises connecting your offer to their business goal.
She points out that typically that business goal is one of these:
- Make more money
- Get more clients
- Reduce expenses
- Grow their business (reach, market share)
- Look awesome to their boss/clients
She also advises tailoring your message to the goal of the person you are writing to.
“That goal depends on their job and seniority level.
A CEO or founder cares about the big picture and getting more clients (aka long-term growth).
A marketing manager who desires to become marketing director cares about looking awesome to her boss.”
So put yourself in the shoes of the decision maker. What do they want to achieve?
Use the QVC Formula
Everyone who does cold email outreach eventually develops their own go-to cold email template based on their experience.
However, when you are just starting out, you might want to use someone else’s template that has been proven to work (at least for them).
Justin McGill, the founder of LeadFuze, used cold email to grow his company to $30,000 in monthly recurring revenue in just one year
That’s how he developed the QVC formula:
- Q = Question. “Most people try to lead in with some sort of introduction and this just tips off the prospect that they don’t know you. Instead, try to lead in with a question that pertains to your business.”
- V = Value Prop. “Instead of going on and on about how great your service is and ALL that you offer, try to get the core message out and highlight what makes you unique.”
- C = Closing Call-to-Action (CTA). “Don’t end the email weakly, with a “Look forward to hearing from you” type closing. Instead, ask directly if they can speak in the next few days OR give them some sort of closing question that begs an answer in order to elicit some sort of response.”
Here’s an example of a cold email that follows this formula:
Sam Parr, the founder of The Hustle and HustleCon, used cold email to get successful entrepreneurs to speak at his conference.
When he cold emailed Tim Westergren, the founder of Pandora, he didn’t just send one message and leave it at that, he kept sending follow-up messages.
And he received a reply after three messages:
“Here’s where winners emerge. Big shots get 100’s of emails a day, so they’ll most likely ignore you. Don’t take it personally. You must follow up. When I was a noob, I thought this was nagging. It’s not. Just make sure to add an easy out,” explains Sam.
So don’t hesitate to send follow-up emails until you get a response (whether that response is a “Yes” or a “No”).
Cold Social Media Outreach
What about cold social media outreach?
Here are three tips that can help you with that:
Get a Mutual Connection
Go through the dream customer’s list of contacts and see if it includes anyone you know.
- Yes? Send a contact request to that person.
- No? Start sending contact requests to the people on the list even if you don’t know them.
Once you have that mutual connection, the prospect will be more inclined to trust you and pay attention to what you have to say.
Lead With the Value That You Offer
How will your product make the prospect’s life better?
Just like with cold email, you should make the message relevant to the recipient, so make a connection between your product and their business goal.
Keep Your Message Super Short
Social media is an extremely distracting environment, so make sure that your message is super short.
Get straight to the point.
End the Message With a Call to Action
Don’t be like “Here’s how my product can help you achieve your business goal” and leave it at that.
Make it clear what you want the dream customer to do next.
Cold calling is the most nerve-racking cold outreach method. But it can work well once you master it.
Here are some tips:
Prepare Your Pitch in Advance
You want to prepare as much as possible before you pick up the phone, so think about the various directions the conversation might take.
Create a script that outlines what you are going to say. Jot down your product’s unique selling proposition, answers to the frequently asked questions, answers to common objections, etc. It doesn’t have to be word-for-word, though.
Practice Your Pitch Before the Call
Ask a colleague or a friend to help you practice your pitch. Do as many mock cold calls as you can with them. Record those calls and analyze them. What can you do to make your pitch better?
End With a Call to Action
Did the call go well?
Then you want to end it with a call to action.
Tell the prospect what you want them to do next.
#7 Make It Easy for the Prospect To Say Yes
We have already discussed that every cold email, cold social media message, and cold call should end with a call to action.
But that alone isn’t enough. You need to make it easy for the prospect to say yes. Think about potential obstacles that might make them hesitant, then take measures to remove those obstacles.
Scheduling meetings via email is a nightmare.
It often leads to seemingly endless back-and-forth until the parties involved work out a date and time that works well for both of them.
And while you are exchanging all these back-and-forth messages with the prospect, the chances of them losing interest increase with every email.
So why not use appointment scheduling software to eliminate this problem?
Look for an app that allows you to:
- Create a calendar that shows your availability.
- Share it with prospects so that they could book a time that’s most convenient for them.
Using an app like that will help you schedule the sales call quickly and reduce the risk of the prospect losing interest.
Go Beyond Sales Prospecting: The Value Ladder Sales Funnel
Sales prospecting can help you get your business off the ground.
That being said, manually converting potential customers into leads is not scalable, which means that you will have to put a lead generation system in place at some point.
And that’s where the Value Ladder sales funnel comes in…
The Value Ladder Sales Funnel: The Most Effective Way To Sell Online
Our co-founder Russell Brunson has developed a sales funnel model called the Value Ladder.
Here’s how it looks like:
There are four stages:
- Bait. You offer the potential customer a lead magnet in exchange for their email address.
- Frontend. You offer the potential customer your least expensive and least valuable product.
- Middle. You offer the customer a more expensive and more valuable product.
- Backend. You offer the customer your most expensive and most valuable product.
Here’s the Value Ladder sales funnel that we used for Russell’s “DotCom Secrets” book launch (click here to get a free copy).
It has five stages, but the principle is the same:
As the person is progressing through the sales funnel, they are getting more value at each step. They are climbing the “value ladder” so to speak.
The reason why this sales funnel model is so effective is that it allows you to gradually build trust by providing value.
Here’s how Russel explains it:
So if you are serious about growing your online business, start building your own Value Ladder sales funnel.
How Clickfunnels Went From Zero to $10 Million in Annual Revenue in One Year
When our co-founders Todd Dickerson and Russell Brunson launched ClickFunnels, they knew that they had the best funnel builder software on the market.
So they assumed that the product would speak for itself. Build it and they will come, right? Wrong.
They quickly realized that if they wanted to grow their company, they needed to get out there and start promoting their app.
Russell could have picked up the phone and started cold calling companies that he thought would benefit from ClickFunnels…
But he didn’t.
Instead, he set up webinar funnels and started doing webinars, with the aim of doing 5-7 of them each week. Sometimes he would do 2-3 webinars a day!
And it paid off.
One year after the launch the company was generating approximately $10 million in annual revenue.
And we would have never gotten there in such a short period of time had Russel decided to sit in his office making cold calls all day.
Because here’s the truth:
Want to grow your company at a reasonable pace? You can do that with sales prospecting.
But if you want to grow your company explosively, then you need sales funnels. There’s just no way around it.
Want Russell To Teach You How To Build Your First Sales Funnel?
Let’s keep it real:
Building a Value Ladder sales funnel from scratch can feel overwhelming.
That’s why we created our 5 Day challenge where Russel walks you through building your first sales funnel.
You will learn how to:
- Generate unlimited leads.
- Create your first lead magnet.
- Build your first sales funnel.
- Create a simple 6-email follow-up sequence.
- And launch your funnel!
…in just five days.
So don’t hesitate.