Where Sales Trainers and Selling Experts share advice, tips, and techniques on how to become a sales champion!

Cool Sales Tools to Make Prospecting Easier By Kendra Lee

Prospecting has never been harder – or easier. Yes, it’s hard to get responses, but you have all the tools at your finger tips to increase your odds of grabbing the attention of your top contacts and getting a reply.

Gone is the dialing for dollars mentality. You can do better than that.

You can use these tools to do everything from identifying who your best-odds prospects are to deducing why they’d want to speak with you, writing a powerful email, and ultimately attracting them to you. Here are some of my favorites.

1. Identify the who. Once you know the profile of the types of contacts and companies you want to approach, use Zoominfo.com, NetProspex.com, Insideview.com or Hoovers.com to search and get the names of the best contacts to talk to.

2. Delve in. Go a step further and do some research for the contacts you’ve uncovered on those same sites. What have they written? Where have they been quoted? You can quickly get a feel for what’s top of mind with them and where their passions lie.

Use this information to craft your grabber value proposition for phone calls and emails. Use it to write blogs or articles that’ll attract their attention and peak their interest. Comment about your ideas on social networks.

3. Secure contact info. Start with these same sites to find the most current contact information for your target prospects. Jigsaw and NetProspex are maintained by people like you and me, so they’ve often got very current information.

While you’re there, add a few contacts of your own and earn points for free contact information downloads. You can also use LinkedIn, Facebook and other social networks as a tool.

4. Find elusive email addresses. If you still can’t find an email address here’s a trick to try. From your search engine type “@their website domain” and it’ll pull up anywhere on the web where email addresses for that domain appear. Now you’ll have the email protocol for that company and can more effectively guess your contact’s email address.

5. Watch your prospects. No, we aren’t talking stalking. Watch what your top prospects are doing using alert services like Google Alerts for free.

Set up a daily alert and see all the tweets and comments they’ve made and where they’re mentioned. You’ll know what to talk about when you call and more importantly, when they need you to call.

6. Make your emails stand out. Use Gobbledygook.grader.com to pick out trite or hype-filled words and phrases you don’t even know you’re using. It’s a great tool to increase the impact of your brochures and online copy, too.

7. Know if they’re listening. One of the biggest challenges with email prospecting is knowing if anyone has read what you sent. Use ReadNotify.com to trace email opens and forwards, numbers of times read, and URL clicks.

Use Bit.ly to shorten long links for social network comments and emails. You can track how many times the links are opened, forwarded and by whom.

8. Increase your own productivity. If you’re a Microsoft Outlook user Xobni.com is a plugin that makes searching your inbox and finding information about your contacts fast and easy. You can even search social networks for information about your contacts.

Getting people to reply is the most difficult aspect of prospecting. These tools give you new levels of information and insight to increase your odds of success.
Kendra Lee is author of “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Ms. Lee is a frequent speaker at national sales meetings and association events. To find out more about the author, as well as subscribe to her newsletter visit www.klagroup.com or call +1 303.773.1285.

-Perhaps you have used some other tools that are helpful for sales prospecting. Feel free to share them in the comments below — don’t forget to include a brief explanation of them, and what makes them useful. Make sure they are resources which would be helpful in the prospecting & of value to other sales professionals.

Sponsor Message: Secrets of Closing The Sale By Zig Ziglar … Zig shares tips and techniques from his vast wealth of sales experience. His insights will prove to you over and over why this is the definitive how to sales program. This powerful series of timeless sales messages will help you close more sales today as you build a career for tomorrow! … Learn more about Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing The Sale.