By: Chris Bakos, Vice President, Business Development, Univest Capital, Inc.
Vendor prospecting is a key element to the long-term success of a business. In today’s ever-changing market it seems that vendor loyalty is hard to come by because competition is consistently dropping rates to win business. Industry changes and emerging product trends make prospecting more important than ever before. Here are five key points to remember when prospecting new business:
- Personalize Your Calling – Research the company you are calling. Know what their top products are as well as the new products coming to market. Find out who the decision maker is before calling and do your research on that person. Finding out the decision maker’s name and background is a great starting point.
- Online Research & Targeting – Use technology to your advantage. Social media is a great way to find new account opportunities. Sites such as LinkedIn often list the name and title of the decision maker for the accounts you are prospecting. Another good place to find business contacts is on trade show websites.
- Practice Makes Perfect – Before calling you should gather your thoughts and practice your value proposition. Role playing with members of your sales team is a great way to get comfortable with your pitch.
- Make the Correct Offer – Timing is very important, but presenting the correct offer is priceless. Many sales reps just throw several options to their vendors instead of listening to them and structuring what is best for their needs. Practice the 80/20 rule: listen 80 percent of the time and talk 20 percent. You will find out that the customer will tell you everything you need to know. Many times you can even gain insight into how to overcome their objections and problem areas.
- Follow-up – Cold calling does work, but it isn’t as effective as a warm lead. In order to create that warm lead, you need to follow-up with your customer. It doesn’t always have to be with another phone call. Some other great ways to follow-up with your clients could be email, sending promotional materials, connecting on social media or including them in direct mail campaigns.
Landing new business doesn’t have to be a game of chance, with the right preparation and a focused approach your likelihood for success can be greatly increased. Happy dialing!
Univest Capital Inc. is a subsidiary of Univest Bank and Trust Co. Equal Opportunity Lender.