5 Ways to Reach Out to a Prospect for the First Time

Outreach is necessary to keep a B2B business growing and thriving. Plenty of sales teams do have an aggressive outreach strategy to keep the sales pipeline full. However, approaching a prospect successfully for the first time requires careful consideration.

Who is your prospect? What is their business like? What value can you offer them? Those are some of the standard questions you need to answer before outreaching. But they’re not the only ones. Your prospects will have communication preferences – email, call, social media connection – that you need to know.

There are also different ways of approaching prospects that will vary based on their preferences. Some prospects may appreciate suggestive selling techniques, while others would prefer sales teams to be more direct. Let’s have a look at five ways to reach out to a prospect for the first time.

Email Outreach

Emailing your prospects first ensures an obligation-free start to the conversation. Email doesn’t require your prospects to answer right away, which gives them time to look for more information about you. You’re supposed to have already done your research before you reached out. Keep in mind that according to MailChimp, the best time to send an email is between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.

You can use that first email to schedule a call later if that’s what your prospects prefer. Emails are great when you’re trying to get prospects acquainted with your value proposition. You need to be sure you’ve communicated it clearly and that the overall message is strong enough to make them interested. Once they become receptive to your message, it’s time to make the first call.

However, there is an exception to the email-first rule. If your prospects already know about your company and your product, calling them first might be more effective. In all other situations when you need to introduce yourself and explain what you do, an email is probably a better option than a call.

Giving them a Call

Whether the conversation has moved past the value proposition or it’s still in the early stage, calls are an essential part of the sales process. However, you need to prepare well for the call. There’s a clear benefit to calling over email, and that is building trust. Another is saving time since you can give your prospects more information and perhaps move the deal faster over the phone.

Calling first can prove to be an excellent method of outreach if you have an established brand. That way you don’t have to spend too much time explaining what you do, as you would over email. When your value proposition is apparent to a prospect, you can focus on their business and what they need from you.

Be aware of the fact that it takes more than one call to close a sale. In 80% of cases, you will need to follow up multiple times before you make a deal happen. Don’t be among the 44% of salespeople who give up after one follow-up.

Social Media Outreach

Cold outreach through social media is not the same thing as being introduced to a prospect through Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. In that regard, a warm introduction via social media could be a powerful sales tool.

If you use your network to get an introduction, it shows your business and social savvy. That makes it more likely that the prospect will do business with you. When you have a referral, the odds of a prospect buying from you increase by five times. Additionally, the mutual connection could fill in some of the information about the prospect that you’ve been missing. You could ask them which communication method they prefer, for example.

If you and your prospect don’t have any shared connections, don’t despair. Take a look at their social media presence and draw information from there. Referencing their recent post could still be a good enough ice-breaker for the conversation.

Forget Cold Outreach

The days of cold outreach are over. Whatever you do, never reach out to any prospect if you haven’t done your research. You’ve probably been on the receiving end of spam emails, LinkedIn messages and calls, so you know how well that works. It doesn’t!

To have any results from reaching out to a prospect, you need background information on them. Going in blind only makes it more difficult for you to tailor your message appropriately to the prospect. How will you know how you can add value to that prospect or their company? You won’t unless you put in the effort to avoid cold outreach.

More Conversation, Less Selling

Whether you reach out through email, social media or give the prospect a call, it’s crucial to keep the conversation going. Don’t go in with a sales approach right off the bat, because that will lose your prospects. Instead, assume that they aren’t aware of the scope of the problem your solution can help with. Try to be educational and keep track of where the prospect is in their buyer’s journey. Connecting with them and providing the right information and encouragement as they progress through each stage will help you close the deal.

Excellent communication skills are critical when converting prospects into sales. A change in approach might yield a better result. For example, if your candidate is pretty closed off on details about their company, you could get them to open up and trust you by sharing. Let them know what your vision is, or inquire about the latest trend, or ask open-ended questions about their business. Eventually, you’ll strike gold and gain enough experience to get a better feel for each prospect.

If you don’t reach out to your leads, your business will stagnate and go dormant. Whichever way of reaching out you choose, your goal should be the same: getting that prospect to convert. With our tips, you’ll find it easier to move them through your sales funnel.