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These bleak times are right period to prospect despite uncertainties

buyer

Buyers are holding their cards tightly to their chests because of the prevailing uncertainty. FILE PHOTO | NMG

If you don’t prospect you “die”. If there was ever a time prospecting was key, it is now. But how do you prospect in these uncertain times? This is the discussion in our on-going weekly webinars from where we will draw some insights. Prospecting, the primary activity in selling, is looking for people to buy your product. If there is no-one to sell to, you are professionally dead.

Sadly, as foundational to selling as prospecting is, few sellers give it the gravity it deserves; before the pandemic the vast majority of sellers could get by with hand-me-down prospects (potential buyers), walk-ins, ‘call-ins’ and occasional unsolicited referrals. These sellers in particular are adversely affected now. They are the ones that are most likely to say, “We aren’t selling because people are not buying.”

They have never been deliberate about prospecting, so they don’t know how to; further, all their hope-to-luck prospecting methods have suddenly dried up. In their eyes, they are not the problem, the pandemic is. For them the climb will be steeper.

For the few that were deliberate about prospecting their mind-set is right and they could possibly be asking how to do it in these uncertain times. This article is for both.

First off, we need to separate the various sales activities. “People aren’t buying because of uncertainty” is a debilitating blanket statement. Selling is a process that starts with prospecting, followed by interviewing, demonstrating, validating, negotiating and closing. In these times of uncertainty unless you are selling data, loans, on-line movies, masks and food, pushing out your product may be counterproductive. Focusing on-prospecting however may bring you the sales you seek.

And when it comes to prospecting at this time, it is useful to find out where the prospect is and what state he is in. From what statistics show, most likely he has gone online and we don’t need statistics to tell us that he is uncertain, even fearful .How we reach and sell to him cannot be in the same manner we did pre-pandemic.

The pandemic has disrupted everything including how we sell. Online selling is different from offline. The seller has comparatively more control in the latter, and the buyer, the former. And borrowing from businesses that sell online and are currently thriving, we can learn a few things on how to prospect.

“People aren’t buying’ (your product) may be true, but asking why are they not would be more useful. Unless, like the travel industry, it’s because of business shutdown, buyers are holding their cards tightly to their chests because of the prevailing uncertainty. This doesn’t mean that they are not willing to buy. It does mean, however, that we are better placed alleviating their fear first, by our approach, and pulling them in, as opposed to pushing our products to them as we used to.

Let’s meet here next Thursday to find out how.