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How to Improve Your Outside Sales Efforts

The Hardest Part of Selling

If you're in outside sales, what do you suppose the hardest part of selling really is? What takes your job from merely difficult to downright impossible? Bad information, or a lack of it. Whether you're in real estate or business-to-business selling, you need to have all the facts in order to close large deals with a lengthy sales cycle and collect your commission. After all, closing is what it's all about, unless you want Alec Baldwin to come and call you names and take your coffee.

Assemble Better Leads Lists

Using the basic functionality of 411Locate and similar person search sites, you can find confirm that you have the right information for your leads-see how to use these facts to qualify leads:

  • Full Name: This is a basic tool that helps you make sure you've got the right person, and is up to date to account for any marriages and name changes you might not be aware of. Nothing loses the deal faster than calling on someone by the wrong name.
  • Age & Date of Birth: This can help you make key assumptions about your lead-will they have a decent understanding of technology and the value of advertising, or will they be more old-school? Will they be more interested in a house, or an apartment, and in what area? Pull out all of your company's demographic data to cross-reference, and don't make absolute assumptions.
  • Phone Number: This one is key. You can't call someone whose number you don't have, and if you need to generate leads that the higher ups aren't giving you, this will get you ahead in the game.
  • Address: This can give you a sense of what kind of life they lead by telling you what sort of property value they own and what sort of people they choose to surround themselves with. Do they value family? Fast-paced life? Figure out if they're right for your product, service or property with this key information.

Improve Your Prospecting

So you've narrowed down to a few seemingly qualified leads. I bet you're pretty pumped, junior-but hold on! This is when you make the real investment into you best few leads who become your real prospects. You need the comprehensive background report that gives you everything you need to build rapport with your target audience. Anything you can use to have something in common with them is provided:

  • Relatives: Do they have a sweet old grandma who's still alive? Talk about yours. They have a younger brother? Ask about siblings after discussing your annoying younger brother. Tread cautiously and you may form a real bond.
  • Address History: If you've lived in similar areas, this is great since you can discuss the neighborhood and how it's been since they moved. Just slip it into the conversation. If you're in real estate, compare the home that they're considering buying to homes similar to the ones they lived in, making the benefits really stand out.
  • Property: This can be a good indicator of wealth, if you're trying to see what the prospect has to spend.
  • Criminal Check: If they've had many grievances with the justice system, you can add small problems of your own to the conversation to help them relax a bit. Just don't mention white-collar crimes in the middle of a large B2B sale...
  • Bankruptcies: This might be more useful for determining if you want to drop the prospect altogether-they could be dangerous to do business with, and you might not get your commission.
  • Liens: If they have dealt many times with people who owe them something, you can help allay their fears and annoyances by assuring your quick service and delivery, as well as swift after-sales service. Always address potential pain points with your prospects.
  • Aliases: You could call them by their alias in conversation-if it's a name bestowed in childhood, it could serve to disarm them, but don't be too familiar too early on.
  • Lawsuits: Again, this could be a signal that you need to add a few more clauses to the contract you have them sign. Just be careful when dealing with litigious people.
  • Marriage & Divorce: Relate to them on either front for an easy way to build rapport with them. Nothing hits home like thoughts of home life.

Keeping Your Foot in the Door

If you use the above information carefully, you can build a strong and near-instant common ground with your prospects, and get them to consider your proposal long enough to actually make a move. You can discover their pain points before you even make the first phone call. If you're a sales manager, you can implement this for your whole team. If you're an individual rep, maybe you keep this resource a secret and win some sales contests. Hey, it's up to you. Just make sure you close.

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