Though marketing methods have advanced over time, often through the arrival of new technologies, prospecting seems to have a timelessness associated with it. That is, techniques practiced hundreds of years ago, still have a fundamental place in today’s fast paced markets and sales processes. As a factoring broker / consultant, you should understand that….
- Success in sales is always fueled by effective prospecting. Failure as a salesperson is usually the result of an insufficient supply of qualified prospects which, of course, usually relates back to an insufficient amount of leads. That you must consistently prospect as an industry consultant / broker is simply a given. Though accruing industry knowledge is vitally important, the prospecting skills and lead generating abilities you develop will ultimately define the level of success you attain in your new career.
- Time is money. As a consultant, time is your primary asset. You simply cannot afford to irresponsibly waste valuable time on business owners (suspects) with little or no interest in your services. You must learn to identify those individuals early that promise to be the best prospects and eliminate others that are not or cannot be qualified. Only invest your valuable time in those show an interest in your services immediately or perhaps at some time in the future.
- Professionalism is Critical. The business of consulting in commercial finance is one of prestige and importance. For most, it is very much a suit and tie business. When you are scheduling your appointments, be prompt and well prepared. Professionalism is a must in your appearance and in your knowledge of the industry. Learn how to relate to those business owners that are your prospects and impart your knowledge of factoring, asset-based lending and other areas of alternative commercial finance in a direct and understandable way.
- Build trust and credibility. Relationship building is a primary goal in prospecting. Build your relationships with prospects on trust and credibility, not simply on being a “nice guy”. When making presentations, be attentive and a good listener. Remember, you’re there to provide solutions to the business owner’s problems, not yours.
- Establish the value of your service. In the absence of value, price (factoring fees / interest) will be the topic of conversation. Do not presume that an average business owner can perceive all of the benefits of factoring. Price is typically a dominate factor in most sales today. The benefits and problem solving capabilities of factoring, for example, must be so clear in the prospect’s mind that associated costs become a secondary issue.
- Prospecting is all in the questions…Selling is all in the solutions. When prospecting, you are determining the needs of the business owner and whether or not those needs can be satisfied through factoring or some form of alternative commercial finance. A question such as…
“Are you turning down business when a customer asks for 30 day terms of payment?”
or one such as…
“I see you have over $100,000 tied up in your accounts receivable, couldn’t you put that money to some better use?”
are designed to make the prospect more aware of an existing problem or opportunity. In the business of commercial finance consulting, selling, is really just making the business owner more aware of your solution. In most cases, your work will be complete when you have exposed an existing problem or opportunity for more business. The selling will take care of itself.
Closing is overblown. The value of using clever closing phrases, tricks, or techniques is overrated in general and especially so in our industry. The reality is that your prospect either has working capital or cash flow problems or he doesn’t. In “deal closing” you really need do little more than point out the power and benefits of factoring, asset-based finance, trade finance, etc. and their ability to address and remedy certain business finance problems. Providing a ready solution to the owner’s money problems is all the close you need.