If you want to find new clients – and who doesn’t,  you need to do 3 things:


  • Intimately understand your target market
  • Articulate the benefits that you provide
  • Overcome meeting rejection with a well-crafted question

Using and mastering these techniques will fill your pipeline with new prospects and clients.

It was back many years ago and my first day on the job in my new sales career. Nervous?  Absolutely! I was driving up to the Knoxville office of the old Digital Equipment Corporation where I spent 15 years of my career. I had just completed the Internal Sales Development Program and was excited to see what it was like to sell computers to people I have never met.

My first assignment was to prospect. So I asked my sales manager, “what do I do?”  He smiles, sits me down at one of the many cubicles in the office and says, “start smiling and dialing”.

But what number would I dial? He then hands me the yellow pages, asks me to turn to the letter “C” and look under computers. Then what?

Well Stu, start calling the companies and see if they would be interested in carrying our computer line as a reseller – finding resellers was my first assignment.

Call #1: Hi my name is Stu Schlackman with Digital Equipment Corporation and I wanted to see if you would be interested in carrying our line of computers? Digital who-says the prospect? Click!

Call #2: Same opening. “No thanks we carry IBM.”

Call #3: Next call was a company by the name of Four Phase Computer Systems. Response?  “Son, do you realize we compete against Digital? How embarrassing and yes that’s what many of us in sales are afraid of, embarrassment, rejection and the final outcome-futility!

I made a lot of mistakes in those early years until I learned the real keys to engaging new prospects:

Know Your Target Market

First, you have to know what your target market looks like. What is your company known for and what does the ideal prospect look like? Where have you had the best success where the client saw the value and the sales cycle was minimal? If you’ve had repeat business in this market, most likely this would be a good target market to pursue.

Define the characteristics of your market and use your existing clients as references and to ask for referrals. This turns a cold call into a warm call. If you have happy clients they are normally willing to help open a few doors with their network of business colleagues. It’s much easier to focus on a target than to have a shot gun approach where you can’t send the same consistent message.

Offer a Compelling Reason to Meet

You have to offer a compelling reason to meet. What would the client/prospect gain from meeting with you? Can you communicate that message?

Again, one of the best approaches is to let them know how you’ve helped other clients, which demonstrates the value you deliver. Can you articulate your value in a brief amount of time?  That’s what they need to hear in the first 20 seconds.

Overcome Objections

You are going to get objections. Lots of them. Therefore, you need to know how to handle them in order to engage new prospects. Consider the common objections you are getting. Think about the ones you have handled successfully. Ask your sales leader and peers about their best practices. Then build and test scripts that you can use successfully each time you get a common objection.

So, there you have it. Three steps to engaging new prospects. Now go pick up the phone and call a targeted prospect.

Want to take your prospecting to the next level? Download our free sales training guide on how to build more effective prospecting sequences HERE

About the author

Stu Schlackman

Stu has spent over 25 years in sales management, sales and sales training with…

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