B2B Sales

14 Sales Prospecting Tips to Grow Your Client Base Faster

Growing your client base depends on your ability to step out into the often thankless world of prospecting where failure is part of the game. 

Still, don’t let it discourage you. Failure is a step towards success. 

Hitting the snooze button means you are one dream closer to hoisting your legs over the side of your bed. 

Getting denied by a crush allows you to set your sights and heart elsewhere, which means you are one person closer to finding true love. 

It’s the same with prospecting.

What matters most is that you put yourself out there, again and again, using time-tested techniques that help you make connections and build rapport with your potential buyers. 

So, here are 14 sales prospecting tips to grow your client base faster. 

Let’s dive in!

Send Personalized Emails 

To sing through the noise of your prospect’s inbox, you need to personalize your prospecting emails. Personalized emails receive more replies. The data backs it up. 

Woodpecker’s recent analysis has shown that the response rate of personalized emails is 10% greater than that of those emails that lacked personalization.

So, how do you do it?

To grab your prospect’s attention early, mention something about them within the first few lines. Consider any of the following: 

  • Their job responsibilities (who they manage and what they do day to day). 
  • Recent news about their company.
  • A piece of content of theirs that you read. 
  • Something you two have in common (a place of residence, a school, an interest). 
  • Their recent promotion. 
  • Someone you both know. 
  • A past interaction they had with your brand (their past objections). 

The options are endless. To gather material and inspiration for this personalization, you can go through their LinkedIn profile or their page on the company website. 

When they see that you took the time to do some digging, they will be more likely to give you their time in return.
Earlier research by Salesloft, conducted on over six million sales emails, has indicated that personalizing between 0 and 20 percent of the messages is the most effective.

Pro Tip: Don’t spend more than five minutes writing your cold email. Personalization certainly helps, but it sees diminishing returns once you personalize more than 20% of the email.

Therefore, put in the effort to personalize your emails, but be prudent about it.

Treat Follow-up Emails as Vessels for Value

A follow-up email should be more than a simple reminder about your previous attempts to make contact. Each follow-up email, whether it’s number one or six, should deliver value to the recipient. 

The best way to bring value is to share relevant content, including the following: 

  • Blog posts that solve a common problem. 
  • Case studies that give them ideas. 
  • Industry articles that entertain them. 

Prioritize sending content that answers your clients’ common questions, solves some of their common problems, or gives them useful ideas, insights, and tips. 

Sharing it is as simple as this: 

Hi {Name}, 
I wanted to follow-up on my last email. Also, I thought you might like this article about {something relevant to their job}. Let me know what you think.

This is more effective for sparking interest within your prospect than content about your product or service. Save those for later in the sales cycle. 

Ask for the Meeting More Than Once

Mike Weinberg, B2B sales consultant and author, says that you should ask the prospect for a meeting 3 times during prospecting calls. That does a couple of things: 

  • Shows you are confident in your ability to help them: If you ask them 3 times they are going to assume that you find them to be a great fit. 
  • Demonstrates persistence: People respect those who are persistent. 
  • Cuts past any instinctual objections: Prospects often say no on reflex the first time you ask for a meeting. 

All of this raises your chances of actually booking a meeting with a prospect.

To phrase your third ask effectively, and without seeming too pushy, try Weinberg’s template from his book New Sales Simplified

“{Name}, I understand that you’re {their stated objection}.Let’s talk anyway. I promise you’ll get value and ideas from our conversation, even if we end up not being a fit to help you.” 

This works well because you show the prospect that they will receive value from your conversation even if you two are not a good fit. 

It also suggests that you are not going to force your product or service on them. 

Listen Using the 2-Second Rule 

One goal of prospecting is to learn about your prospect and their desires, pains, and goals. To do this effectively, you have to be a great listener. 

Now, no matter how good of listeners we think we are, we salespeople still make mistakes. 

Sometimes in the heat of a sales call, we mistake the prospect’s pause for an end to their statement, causing us to accidentally interrupt their unfinished thought. 

This is no good. Sometimes a lot of information resides in an afterthought, such as a subtle need they might have or an explanation for their objection. 

So, to make sure you let your prospects finish their thoughts, try this conversation hack: the 2-Second Rule.

When you think your prospect is finished speaking, count to two seconds, then give your response. 

To illustrate, perhaps your prospect said this about the type of software you sell. 

Prospect:These kinds of software are just another thing to worry about.

You: [Silence for two seconds.] 

Prospect:Last time we tried to use {Competitor B} and they gave us no support during implementation, so we scrapped the venture.

That 2-second wait just informed you of their key objection. Now, you can overcome it. 

Besides gaining those tidbits of intel hidden in an afterthought, you will also: 

  • Better formulate your own response. 
  • Become a better listener. 
  • Make prospects feel heard and unrushed. 
  • Control the pace of the conversation. 

Simply giving your prospect the space to speak can be valuable.

Be Less Salesy and More Human 

These days, people dislike being sold to. When a prospect picks up your call and realizes it is a cold call, their defenses immediately prepare for battle.

In seconds they are armed with anti-persuasion missiles that will seek out and shoot down any lofty claims or overly enthusiastic sales pitches. 

So, more than ever, it’s critical to be less salesly and more human.

The first objective of any cold call should be to get prospects to lower their defenses.

One of the best ways to do that is by coming across as someone whose intention is to learn about and help them. 

You can do this in many ways: 

  • Bring up common pain points within the industry. 
  • Be less calculating in your speech – just say what comes to your mind.
  • Ask questions about their goals, problems, and responsibilities. 
  • Bring up any information you found about them during research. 

Also, don’t be afraid to let the conversation stray from business. If you connect with a prospect and they mention their son’s baseball game, don’t just bulldoze past it to your elevator pitch. 

Instead, ask about the game, and follow the random avenues of conversation that present themselves, even if it means listening to a 2-minute rant about a mischievous umpire. 

At the end of the call, if you have spent 5 minutes talking about youth baseball and only 1 minute on your service, the call will still have been a success. 

Whether they took the meeting or not, they will remember you as the personable sales rep, and that memory will raise your chances of a future meeting. 

Pro Tip: Another way to be more human — this sounds like advice for a robot — is to admit when you do not know the answer to one of your prospect’s questions. If they inquire about some functionality you have never heard of, admit your knowledge gap, and promise to get back to them with the answer. Humans aren’t expected to know everything.

Remember, it’s about building relationships above all.

Exude Confidence

Without body language or attire to signal your assurance to prospects, your voice and tone are what make the first impression on a cold call. 

So, it’s critical to exude confidence in your demeanor.

Confidence is contagious. It makes your prospects more trusting of your ability to help them. It also makes you sound like an expert. 

Here are some techniques to help you sound more confident on the phone. 

Body Positioning 

The way we hold ourselves affects how we come across in a conversation, even if that conversation is conducted over the phone.

If you can, try standing tall, with your chest out, chin up, and shoulders back. 

This makes you feel more confident, and this feeling carries over into your voice. 

If in a chair, sit up straight and avoid hunching over. Or, if you feel confident leaning back with your feet on the desk, go ahead. 

Lead With “I head up…”

When you introduce yourself during a cold call, Mike Weinberg recommends saying, “I head up new business for the {Region}.” 

Even if you are a first-year rep, say it anyway. 

The statement not only makes you seem more important in the prospects’ eyes, but it also makes you feel more important, thereby boosting your confidence. 

Think of Yourself as a Teacher 

Think of yourself as someone who knows something the prospect does not: a solution to a common problem in the industry. 

That way, when you enter the conversation, you are already confident that you can help them. 

Show Persistence

Meetings are rarely booked on the first cold call or cold email. 

It is through consistent follow-ups that prospects become interested and comfortable enough to have a conversation with you about your product or service. 

The previously cited research by Woodpecker shows that not giving up pays off: while the second and third email in a sequence get replies only 9 percent of the time, for the subsequent ones the reply rate skyrockets to 27 percent.

These follow-ups will demonstrate your persistence, determination, and resolve, all of which will make prospects believe that you actually have something valuable to offer and that you are a person deserving of respect. 

If you follow-up on your sales email, you stand out from the crowd of other salespeople competing for your prospect’s attention.

Open Cold Calls by Mentioning Pain Points 

If you come across as a problem-solver from the outset of a cold call, your prospect is more likely to engage in conversation with you. This is especially true if you solve problems that they in fact suffer. 

To show you are a problem-solver, begin the conversation by naming a few prevalent problems and pain points of your typical clients, like so: 

The reason for my call today is because a lot of {their company type or their title} have been coming to us lately because they are suffering from {problem 1} and keep losing money due to {problem 2}.

Then, wait and see if you hit a nerve. Sometimes, a pain point you mentioned will be one that is on your prospect’s mind. 

When that happens, you will hear it in their voice, as they go from detached to curious. 

Once you note that this problem is one they are having, you can begin to ask them about the problem, like a physician:

  • How long has it plagued them?
  • How have they been dealing with it?
  • Have the attempts to solve it worked?

By the end of the call, you should have a firm understanding of their main problem. They should have a good grasp of how your business can help them with that problem. 

Research Your Prospect Before Calling

It is important to have context about your prospect and their company before you begin a conversation. 

When you are able to bring information about them and their business into the conversation, you will sound more interesting and credible, thereby raising your chances of booking an appointment. 

When researching, try to find these three pieces of intel:

  • Their responsibilities at the company: Find this on their website’s “team” page or on their LinkedIn profile. 
  • Their history with your brand: Check your CRM to see if there is any history between your team and the contact. Are there past email conversations or previous objections? 
  • Their company basics: Quickly scan over the company website to find the size of the company, their mission statement, any news, and their industry vertical.

Having this information will help you find ways that your solution can help the business. Plus, your prospects will respect you for doing some homework. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Disqualify A Lead 

A lot of newer sales reps feel wasteful when they disqualify a lead. However, there is nothing wasteful about it. 

In fact, the opposite is true. 

Disqualifying is an act of frugality, as it allows you to spend more time talking with prospects who really need your solution and are more likely to buy.

o, when you have called someone 9 times, emailed them 10 times, and then heard nothing back, it might be time to put them into an automated nurture campaign

This is especially true if they don’t match your ideal customer profile: a set of attributes of your happiest customers. 

Sometimes you can also disqualify a lead during your conversation with the prospect. 

Maybe their business is just too small to need your service — or maybe they work with a competitor and are happy with them. 

Instead of forcing the issue, it might be a good idea to focus on other potential buyers. 

For tips on qualifying, check out the pocket guide for qualifying sales leads.

Know Your Competition

When making cold calls you will often encounter mentions of your competition. Your prospect will either ask, “Aren’t you the same as {competitor x}?” or “How are you better than {competitor x}?” 

It is important to be able to answer both of those questions with responses that spark interest in your prospect and make them consider your product or service. 

To be able to do that, study your competitors and figure out your key differentiators and what makes your solution better. 

Here are some things to know about your competitors:

  • Their pricing. 
  • Their target market. 
  • How they position themselves in the market.
  • A few reasons why your solution is better for your ideal customer. 
  • Their strengths and weaknesses. 

Also, in the SaaS world, where solutions tend to be complex, buyers might conflate your software type with another. 

For instance, they might loop a pipeline analysis tool in with customer relationship management systems. 

This can be a real nightmare for point solutions because now they are competing against all-encompassing tools, like Salesforce and Hubspot, when in truth those are very different types of tools. 

So, take note of common misconceptions about your product. Then, craft easy-to-understand explanations of how your product type is different from or goes alongside the other product type. 

For instance, you could say: “Our solution is actually meant to work with a CRM because it gives you extra ways to analyze your sales. It does not replace a CRM.” 

Discuss Industry News and Trends 

On a cold call, discussing industry news and trends is one of the best ways to build rapport with your prospect while also presenting yourself as an expert. 

If your prospect brings up some dramatic change in the industry, and you are able to add your thoughts about it, you are a large step closer to building a connection with the prospect. 

They will feel you are one of them. 

For instance, if you worked in NYC real estate, your prospects’ might mention a new rent law going into effect. 

If you can show you are knowledgeable about that law, the conversation is going to be a lot more interesting. 

Even better, when a prospect brings up a piece of industry news, throw it back at them and ask for their thoughts. “I’m curious, how do you think the rent law is going to affect realtors’ ability to sign new residents?” 

Besides demonstrating expertise, you will also show the prospect that you have an interest in their field of work, which will heighten their confidence in your ability to consult and help them.

If you can also entertain them with stimulating conversation, that is always a bonus. 

Ask Relevant Questions

It is difficult to inspire a recipient of a cold call to speak with you. However, if they aren’t talking, you have a microscopic chance of booking a meeting. 

So, to pull words out of them, try asking some relevant questions, especially questions about them, their work, and their business. These will hit the closest to their hearts. 

Some questions to ask on a cold call could be: 

  • I noticed you switched from finance to marketing. What inspired you to make that switch? 
  • How long have you worked here? 
  • Tell me about how you are handling your {a business activity your company assists with}. 
  • A lot of {their title} are struggling with {problem}. Is that a problem for you? 
  • What are your responsibilities at the company? 

Sometimes all you need is one question that gets the juices of conversation flowing. 

Once they are engaged, you can ask follow-up questions about their processes to see if your product or service might be a good fit for them. 

Use a Dynamic Company Database

A dynamic company database can help you find qualified B2B leads for your prospecting. 

These databases differ from run-of-the-mill, static prospecting lists, which give you a list of leads chosen based on a limited number of listed qualifications (such as size, revenue, and industry) after a one-time payment. 

Instead, dynamic company databases take into account that prospecting is continuous work.

They also know you use more than revenue and size to find your ideal customers. 

So, these databases enable you to use a bunch of criteria to filter out the companies that best fit your ideal customer profile based on static data and insights from open data. 

Soleadify's advanced filtering feature

Static prospecting lists usually get their data from a company’s revenue report, so the data points are scarce. 

Meanwhile, a dynamic database uses web indexing technology to collect hundreds of data points, from the basic like their revenue and size to the complex like their buying signals, organizational changes, or even technologies used. 

If you are interested in a dynamic company database for finding highly qualified B2B leads based on a wide array of criteria, check out Soleadify

Consistency and Persistence 

Sales reps often fail at prospecting because they just give up. For all they know, they could be giving up on an account right when the decision-maker started feeling comfortable with them.

So, going forward, try your best to remain consistent and persistent with your outreach. 

Even if you never get a response from some of your targets, put them into a nurture campaign and send them useful content once a month. 

You never know when they will need your service or product, so it’s prudent to float at least on the edges of their awareness.