Timing is everything, and it is particularly true when prospecting for new clients. Anyone who has ever done sales/prospecting of any kind knows that making a sale sometimes simply comes down to being at the right place at the right time.
But what exactly does that mean when prospecting, especially for female clients, and how can you ensure that you are at the right place (figuratively speaking) at the right time?
Know Your Prospect
Years ago when I was in sales I made a point of researching prospective clients, in the news, online, from associate. I wanted to know as much as possible about them and their needs before I attempted to “sell” them. We’re not suggesting you “stalk” your prospects, but chances are you met them at an event or they’ve been to your office at least once to interview you. If that is the case, understand that these first contacts are opportunities for you to learn everything you can about them, not for you to show off your skills.
You can also get to know more about your prospects through other people or by following their careers or by keeping in touch with what their company is doing. However you do it – the point is – the more you know about them the better the chances that when you do reach out to them – you can connect at “the right place” in their lives.
If you didn’t know that her husband was terminally ill and you call to discuss planning for retirement – you will have lost all hope of turning her into a client. But if you know and remember that her mother has Alzheimer’s, a call could go like this:
Hi Joan, it’s James Doe. How are you? You know I was reading the paper this morning and I ran across an excellent article about a senior’s program for people with early onset Alzheimer’s and I thought about your situation with your mother…. The Centre is having an open house next week and invited a prominent researcher who has done promising work in the field. I thought you might like to attend. They’ve made accommodations for relatives to bring their loved ones too. It might be a good chance for you and your mom. I’m going with a client of mine whose husband has Alzheimer’s. I’d be happy to introduce the two of you.”
You can conclude by saying “don’t hesitate to reach out if I can be of help.” Or if you have an event coming up that you know she’d be interested in, by all means bring it up. “We’re hosting an event on the financial implications of Alzheimer’s in the family, if you are interested we’d be pleased to see you there.”
Use a good CRM tool
In every situation, make sure you are actively listening. Why? Because, when you do follow-up, the more you know about your prospective client, the more reason you will have to call them, and the better chance your timing will be right and the easier it will be to make a meaningful connection and have a real conversation.
As you reach out to people, you must keep track of what you’ve learned about them or discussed and agreed to. Remember, you’re supposed to be building a relationship, even in early contact days. It doesn’t bode well if you forget your conversations from one call to the next. Which is why it is absolutely imperative that you write everything down and use a good CRM tool – no one can remember everything. Refer to your CRM before you contact her to refresh your memory.
Last words – be patient
You’d think saying “stay in touch” would be obvious, but sales people give up way too early – in fact on average at the third contact. The reality is that most sales, especially to women, take up to seven touch points. This could mean that you have them in your contact list for a few years. That may sound daunting but a call need not take more than a few minutes. And if you have something to talk about, it can and should be a pleasure.
A special word about Women as prospects
If you are targeting women, building a relationship with them through regular contact is the best approach. Women will tell you pretty much all you want to know about their lives, if you avoid trying to sell them something and listen to what is important to them in their lives.
Learning how to relate to women on their terms is the key to successful prospecting.