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Focusing your Sales Efforts – A 4-Part Series

Part 2: Build Your Avatars

(See Part 1 HERE). 

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Contributed by Kim Jennings-Eckert

At the age of 8 years old, my mother signed me up for Brownies (Level 2, based on age). I remember being so excited – this meant uniforms and badges and sleepovers! What I didn’t understand is I had to earn some of those badges through selling. This was an intimidating task! Where does one start? There’s 10 girls in the same school, with the same people, offering the same product. How can we all reach success? This is the first time I learned about prospecting and creating a prospect list. Of course, we didn’t call it that nor did I even comprehend that was precisely what I was learning at the age of 8.

Who is your audience – where to start?

If you’re new to sales or it’s been awhile since you’ve had to prospect, the very first thing you need to do is know your target. I’m not talking about specific people; rather, what similar characteristics do your targets share that would find value in the product / service you are offering to them.  You want to define the following qualities:

  • What is their title – who’s the most likely to want to listen to your pitch?
  • What are the tasks they perform – how does my product / service relate or fit with their tasks?
  • What are their pain points? How will my service or product help them / solve a problem?
  • Are they the decision maker?

Referring to my stint in Brownies, I had to figure out who to hit up so I could have the glory of winning! In this scenario, my avatar might have looked like this:

  • Title: Parents of school-aged children
  • Tasks: Teaching kids rules / responsibilities
  • Pain Point: Utilize as part of a reward system (i.e. child completes chores or exhibits good behavior)
  • Decision maker: YES!

Obviously, the above scenario is all in good fun, but you get the idea. A salesperson needs a well-defined list of their avatars, which will generally consist of more than one kind.  Once you break it down, you will most likely find variations in tasks or pain points, thus driving the need for key messaging centered around those differences.

Avatars Created – Now What?

Once you have defined your target – who they truly are – you can now build a compiled list for tracking & reporting. If you are not using a CRM (Hubspot, Zoho, similar) then I recommend at least implementing a basic spreadsheet. For simplicity sake, I would track the company, contact name, title, dates contacted (initial & follow up) and a comment section for any pertinent information as a refresher when you review your list later. This is your database of prospects so make sure you set it up to easily query or sort results.

Next – you must fill your spreadsheet. With today’s technology, there are many ways to hunt your prospects. This topic is almost a book in itself so I’ll just touch on various ways to build your list. In my day-to-day, I utilize the following tools. Please note, it’s inclusive but not exclusive to these 5 items.

  • Referrals – referrals can come from family, friends, former colleagues, past/current clients, whomever within your network that is appropriate to ask. Side note: do not let fear of feeling like you are potentially pressuring someone keep you from asking. If you have a good relationship, offer a sound product / service and conduct yourself respectfully then your network will be happy to share referrals.
  • LinkedIn – this is a GREAT platform for building relationships, networking and asking for a meeting. Your prospect can immediately read your bio, your company information, references and business-related activity, in advance. This is a softer cold call than the traditional calling or door-to-door cold call.
  • Google – We all Google anything we want to learn, find or to obtain directions. It is a great resource for learning about your prospects. You can utilize Google to locate prospects – but it is much more cumbersome as your search will return many results and some that don’t fit your criteria.
  • Chamber of Commerce – The Chamber of Commerce offers a business directory to their local community. What a great resource for scouting prospects! The only caveat is they strictly list paid members so there may be many prospects not listed in the directory. For those listed; however, you can obtain their contact information – including a name / email!
  • Other Organizations and Associations – Depending on the prospect’s industry, you may be able to find associations they are members of or support. Like the Chamber of Commerce, many will have business information. However, for many associations, your company must also be a member in order to obtain information to protect their company member list.

Based on determining the profile of your target and learning a few ways to reach them, you are ready to begin outreach!  This is your moment to present them with a strong and compelling message sharing your objective or how you can provide relief to their pain points. Be sure to check my next article on how to create a compelling message.  Unlike the Brownies example, salespersons must present more than an adorable face armed with irresistible goodies – or do they? Stay tuned!