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Five Biggest Sales Prospecting Mistakes Sellers Make (And How to Avoid Them)

Posted in:  Buyer Engagement, Sales and Marketing Management

In life, first impressions are everything. As the saying goes, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.

And yet, many sellers are wasting their opportunities to connect with potential buyers and lead them into the sales process. It’s even harder to win back the interest of a buyer once you’ve lost it than it is to attract it in the first place.

So, how do you get the attention of a buyer and create conversations with them?

You need to create an Attraction Campaign — an organized sequence of customized outreach messages sent to buyers over a specific period of time for the specific purpose of generating a meeting and getting buyers to act.

Or at least, that’s what it’s supposed to be.

Unfortunately, there are some common prospecting mistakes that get in the way.

Let’s look at five of these mistakes and what you should be doing instead.

Mistake One: Targeting the Wrong People

The first step of an Attraction Campaign is identifying the people and businesses you want to secure a meeting with. But too many sellers go into a campaign blind, not using the tools at their disposal to identify decision makers or the companies where their product or service would be a good fit.

Instead, they reach out to people who are lower on the company hierarchy, companies that are the wrong size, or people they already know, even if they’re not the most relevant ones to be speaking with.

What works better is creating a targeted list of people and businesses that include existing buyers and accounts, past buyers, past opportunities, members of your network, and high-value targets. Then, organize them (by industry, size, geography, or relationship), so you can reach out appropriately.

Mistake Two: An Irrelevant Offer

Similarly, you may know who you’re targeting, but you’ll lose interest if you offer them something that’s not relevant or that’s too generic. Offers aren’t one size fits all.

For example, sharing content that’s about one industry when you’re contacting someone in a different industry would be bad. You also wouldn’t want to offer a white paper that’s too general to apply to your buyer’s unique challenges.

Instead, you need to create an offer that’s tailored to each buyer, their industry, and their business situation. You can make content more relevant and compelling by adding context that shows your buyer what’s in it for them and sharing key takeaways.

Mistake Three: Giving Up Too Soon

We’ve all heard that you shouldn’t take no for an answer. Well, many sellers do exactly that.

The thing is, maybe you just caught the buyer at the wrong time or place, or they weren’t interested in that particular offer. Changing the channel or message  could make all the difference.

Devise a sequence that uses multiple touchpoints, including email, LinkedIn, and the phone. And don’t worry about overdoing it: According to RAIN Group’s research, 43% of buyers who accept meetings say it’s okay for sellers to contact them five or more times before getting through.

Mistake Four: Impersonal Communications

With so much information at our fingertips, it’s a wonder that so many sellers don’t take advantage of it to personalize their outreach.Generic outreach will lead a buyer to close the door even quicker.

It’s important to look for things you have in common with a buyer.An analysis of InMail messages sent by LinkedIn Sales Navigator users revealed that sellers saw a 46% lift in InMail acceptance rates when they indicated at least one commonality with a prospect. Of the commonalities mentioned, shared connections and attending the same school drove InMail acceptance most in this study.

Mistake Five: Not Being Prepared for Your Meeting

If you’ve gotten your buyer to the meeting stage — congratulations! Unfortunately, too many sellers think their job is done and the sale is a fait accompli.

If a buyer perceives a lack of preparation as sellers jump from one Zoom call to the next, or that the seller hasn’t done their homework to learn a little about them, they’ll deem the meeting a waste of time. And this happens all too often. In fact, buyers say that an astounding 58% of sales meetings aren’t valuable to them.

Delivering on the promise of your offer — and delivering convincingly — will make your meeting a success. Research your buyer  on LinkedIn and incorporate what you find into your meeting to build rapport and make the call more relevant. Knowledge is power, and any information you can arm yourself with in advance will benefit you later.

Attract Buyers the Right Way

An organized sequence of outreach deployed across multiple media will engage your buyer and compel them to act. Identifying the right people, engaging them with a relevant offer, reaching out an appropriate number of times in appropriate places, and then adding value when you do make a connection can make all the difference.