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"Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search but a conversation with Rob Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled me to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!"

David Burgess, Candidate

Brilliant Selling

Sales training experts Jeremy Cassell and Tom Bird have just published their new book, ‘Brilliant Selling’. Based on their research into what consistently successful sales people do, it is packed with practical tips and advice to guarantee your success in any market. Here is a brief overview of the prospecting process which we hope you will find useful. More free resources, and information about the book are available from www.brilliant-selling.com

The Prospecting Process

We all know that prospecting can be tough at times. But we believe there are two key things that will determine your success - attitude and action. If you need to prospect as part of your sales role, remember to:

  • Forget the myths – they are just excuses for not taking action

  • Adopt a great attitude

  • Focus on the activity on a regular basis

  • Create and follow a tried and tested process.

We hope that by following our process below it will make it easier for you to succeed in your prospecting - and get more meetings in your diary!

1. Identify your prospects

It is not always obvious who your prospects are. If you sell wine or gym equipment, it’s a pretty good bet to contact off-licences or local sports centres. But what if your potential end-user is not crystal clear? Well, you may have to start by identifying your prospecting criteria. What does your ideal customer look like – it could be an individual or an organisation?

Organisation                                              Individual

What market?                                            What demographic?

What turnover?                                         What income?

What geographical area?                          What geographical area?

What specific businesses?                        What job roles?

Existing or new users?                              What pastimes?

Once you have identified your prospect it is critical to do some research before you make first contact.

2. Plan and research your prospects

Lets assume you are working in business-to-business sales. In order to make a good first impression, you need to identify some of the following about your prospect:

  • Culture

  • Obvious problems/challenges

  • Areas of business that would benefit from your product/service

  • Business issues – is it growing or stagnating, cutting costs or laying off staff?

  • What are the market trends?

  • What factors will make your product/service a ‘must have’ rather than a ‘nice to have’?

Think about what you want to say to them on the phone – focus on these questions:

Can you help?

How?

Have you done this before?

What value did you bring?

Do you have a case study/testimonial to support this?

What is there likely spend with you?

Who is the right person to contact?

Identify a number of valid business reasons for the call eg. a new structuring initiative, a new purchase, redundancies or a new opening

3. Plan the initial telephone call

Identify your call structure and ideally rehearse what you are going to say. Create a basic script so that instead of thinking about what you are going to say, you can focus on the response. Think in advance about possible objections and how you might deal with them. 

Remember, when you call a company, you should call about them and their business, not you and your company.

4. Get into a resourceful state

It is so important to be in a resourceful state to make the initial telephone call. Try to:

  • Say positive things about yourself (the prospect will like me/the company will benefit from my services/ the PA is a gate-opener rather than a gate-keeper

  • Stretch and feel physically relaxed

  • Stand up – you will feel better and more in control

  • Smile – it relaxes you and your voice

  • Use music – play a favourite energising tune

  • Take a stroll

  • Speak to someone you like.

5. Make the initial call to organisation

Your initial call structure with a PA or gatekeeper might look like this:

  • Greet – your name, position and company

  • State your Valid Business Reason(s) for call

  • Check he/she is right person

  • Request a brief telephone call when it is convenient and book

  • Thank them.

Treat gate-keepers and PAs with immense respect. Explain the proposition to them as though they are the decision-maker - it is surprising how many bosses trust the opinions of their PA. Treat them as a potential ally – if you treat them as an obstacle it will become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Try to build rapport with whomever you speak to. You can do this easily by remembering that it is not what you say but how you say it that will have the most impact. So, focus on how the person you are influencing speaks: the speed, volume and tone of the voice as well as how they breathe. Also, listen for what they say – and match language.  Remember that on the telephone we only have the voice and the words on which to focus.

6. Make the initial call to prospective buyer

All of the above is also relevant when you make the initial call to the prospect. Remember that here your key objective is to get an appointment with the prospect. Ideally call in the morning, and not on a Monday or Friday.

Your Call structure might look like this:

  • Greet – your name, position, and company

  • State your valid business reason(s) for call – reiterate what worked with the initial call

  • Make the link with PA or other person in their business

  • Identify what some of the key challenges are for the prospect

  • Use qualification questions to test the level of interest

  • Define one key benefit for meeting with you, from the perspective of the prospect – use their language and include benefit statements so you make it compelling!

  • Give one case study/testimonial to support above if required

  • Request a meeting – give a couple of alternatives and confirm time and date

  • Thank them.

7. Follow up all calls

Always follow up telephone conversations with emails confirming what was said and agreed. This will improve your credibility and will be good for people who like to reflect on conversations. If the prospect has agreed to meet you then we have momentum and can focus on the first face-to-face meeting.

If you have found this useful, please visit www.brilliant-selling.com for more helpful tips. Prospecting is just one of many topics covered in our book ‘Brilliant Selling: what the best salespeople know do and say’, available online and from all leading booksellers.

Published: 26th March 2021

Date published: 26th Feb 2024

A photo of Sam Childerley, Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment

About the author

Sam Childerley

Sam Childerley is a Business & Marketing professional who started his recruitment career in 2021. He is a specialist recruitment consultant, who operates across in the UK and is based out of our Milton Keynes Office. Sam is dedicated to helping job seekers and employers find the right fit for each other and believes that the best decisions within recruitment are made when both sides are happy. He is passionate about developing the best possible recruitment experience for everyone involved and is committed to providing the best advice and support to employers and job seekers alike.

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Our employers say...

I just wanted to thank you for your help with our recruitment process which went very smoothly and has – we hope – found us just the person for the job!

Managing Director, Citrefine International Ltd

I have always found Rob to be very knowledgeable about our industry sector, and it is refreshing to see after all of these years that Rob continues to quickly and accurately understand my requirements.

HR and General Manager, THK

Understood the type of person we were looking for and good follow ups - not too frequent.

Managing Director, bigHead Bonding Fasteners Ltd

Really good service. Just the right amount of contact and easy to deal with.

HR Manager, Zircon Software Ltd

Very professional service and will certainly be in contact for future recruitment.

Director, Blakedown Sport & Play Ltd

George is a rare find in the world of recruitment - communicative without being pushy or over-bearing. He listens and understands what the customer needs as gets to know the business to ensure he provides fully competent candidates who fit.

HR Manager, Big Dug

Giles is highly professional and was a pleasure to work with. He achieves excellent results through his personable skills and tenacity. I have no hesitation in recommending Giles to anyone who considers employing his services.

Commercial Director, G4S Government & Outsourcing Solutions

George is a joy to work with, and I'd recommend him to anyone seeking that unicorn hire - he found me mine, and I'm delighted!

Director, Education Support

Thank you for your dedicated help during the recruitment process - we came to you after unsuccessfully searching elsewhere, and hired, not one, but two! Quick response times, and a really personal approach, without being pushy.

Managing Director, Accora Ltd

We were impressed not only by the quality of candidates you found for us but also the level of information, preparation and qualification you put into the process. You continually kept us informed of each person’s feelings about the process, which is very important but often overlooked. I am looking forward to working with your company again in the future.

Commercial Director, Incentive Facilities Management

Aaron Wallis has continuously provided us with suitable candidates that have been proactively sourced. Having used countless recruitment companies, Aaron Wallis are the only company that I can count on to deliver.

Managing Director, JARK Healthcare Recruitment

I have used Aaron Wallis to fill a number of our Sales Development Manager roles and I have found them to provide a very professional service. I will use their services again in future recruitment campaigns.

HR Business Partner, Greene King

I could not suggest anything I would like you to do better. The service you provided materially exceeded my expectations. I would especially like to commend Simon Bonner; he is easily the best recruitment consultant I have ever dealt with. I particularly valued his advice and guidance throughout the recruitment process. 

UK Sales Manager, BTS Holdings Limited 

Giles Phillips is a rare find in the minefield of sales recruitment; an honest and thoughtful recruiter who considers the needs of both the client AND the candidate to create perfect role matches. I look forward to working with him again in the future.

Marketing Director, City of London Police

Thanks for all your help during the recruitment process. I have been extremely impressed with Aaron Wallis especially when compared to other agencies we have dealt with. I really felt you grasped the type of person we required and found strong candidates.

UK Sales Manager, Nexcom

Since joining DSGi, Rob has been a supplier of permanent staff and has performed to an extremely high standard, successfully filling 98% of roles he has worked on. If anyone is looking for a good sales and marketing based consultancy with an informal yet professional approach, I would recommend Rob.

Senior Recruitment Consultant, DSG International

Sophie did a great job at understanding our business and our needs, she is extremely professional and we hugely benefitted from her experience and expertise.

HR Manager, The Data Privacy Group Ltd

In an industry where people over promise and under deliver, Rob and his teams have consistently provided a high-quality service. It is great to deal with someone that has an excellent understanding of UK industry, and a passion for sales.

Sales Manager, TR Fasteners

Rob’s knowledge of the recruitment industry and his thoughts and how to make it better for his clients have always been eye opening. I would recommend Rob to anybody who is looking for a professional, knowledgeable and flexible recruitment specialist.

CEO, Friday Ad Online Services

We appointed Aaron Wallis in February and the successful candidate, out of the six which Aaron Wallis introduced, was able to join Alphametrics before the end of April. The whole process took less than three months. I would recommend Aaron Wallis' services to others without hesitation.

Chief Financial Officer, Alphametrics

As always we were extremely impressed with Rob's understanding of the role and our specific needs.

Managing Director, Speck & Burke

Rob is a true recruitment professional that goes the extra mile that I have never experienced from any other recruitment agency before. If you need sales people call Rob or someone in his team, as they really are experts in sales recruitment.

Sales Director, Inside Business

I can't fault Sam or AW! Sam was a pleasure to work with and provided great support from the start. Sam always provided me with timely updates when required and provided outstanding candidates!

Director, Waste Managed Ltd

George came recommended by a colleague and has been a pleasure to work with. He was great at updating us on his progress and ensured a great experience for both client and candidate.

HR Manager, Annapurna Recruitment Ltd

I really liked the YouTube presentations which made the service seem both simple and accessible. The company came to see me, and my management team, at short notice to present their service and I liked the support and advice that I received about maximising the results from the applicant.

Managing Director, Leisuresec plc

Generally good standard of candidates. Especially liked the personality profile. Overall good value for money and will certainly use you again.

Managing Director, Medicash

I found Aaron Wallis to be very professional and efficient, taking time to understand the role and the type of candidate we were looking for. The candidates they put forward met our criteria and were of a high standard. The service they provided was exemplary and I would have no hesitation in recommending them, and will certainly consider using them again in the future.

HR Assistant, Fischer Connectors Ltd

Our candidates say...

Fantastic customer service, communication was brilliant, happy polite people to talk to, made everything a lot easier and smoother. Thank you for all your help getting me back in the work force, Keep up the good work :-)

K. Everitt, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

The service provided by Aaron Wallis has been just great. I was constantly informed about what was going on with the process interview and the agent has always been supportive and kind to me.

L. Colagrossi, Candidate

I can honestly say that the time and expertise you gave me was way beyond any other recruitment consultant I dealt with. You are a rarity in your industry.

S. Akers, Candidate

I had the absolute pleasure of working with George Humphries on finding a placement best suitable for me.

A. Van Der Mescht, Candidate

Wanted to say a huge thank you to Simon Bonner who has just helped me secure my new role. He was one of the most professional recruiters I have ever worked with he was supportive really quick at replying and really put me at ease.

J. Marcinkiewicz, Candidate

Perfect from start to finish. Simon deserves a shout out. Best recruiter there is. If you need a job, this guy will get you one. He's like the super man of recruiters. Top man, can't recommend him enough.

M. Crisp, Candidate

Sophie helped me secure a new role I have been searching for. She took her time to explain clear and concisely all I needed to succeed at the interview stage. Thanks again Sophie!

O. Oladejo, Candidate

The detail put into the preparation for interviews and the detail of the job description was first class. Rob and Simon in particular are amongst the best I've ever dealt with.

K. Peacock, Candidate

The most professional recruitment agency I've ever worked with. Robert Scott was extremely proactive and send me a detailed briefing before each interview, ensuring I was well prepared.

D. Bermant, Candidate

Sophie contacted me about a role explained the details clearly and made sure I was ready for the interview. She kept in touch every step of the way till I started the job. Thank you Sophie for a great experience.

S. Powell, Candidate

Professional and responsive from start to finish. I would highly recommend. Special thanks to Sophie J for her help and support throughout.

N. Leney, Candidate

George Humphries was a complete professional at every point, from our first phone conversation to his “good luck tomorrow” text on Sunday before I started in my new role.

E. Fry, Candidate

Very good advice and support was given during the course of the interviewing process. Potential job seekers would be well advised to use this company whilst looking for their new career.

R. Speakman, Candidate

Friendly, proactive, communicative. Overall a really positive experience.

R. Houston, Candidate

I had a great experience. Helped me every step of the way to get my new job. Sophie was very polite, kind and helpful!

J. Parnham, Candidate

Managed to get me placed within a week! Really friendly and easy to deal with. Always available for a call and my biggest challenge was I was in work at the time I was looking for my next opportunity (which is stressful) but Sam made that easy.

P. Fitzsimons, Candidate

Sam was by far the most professional and helpful of any individual I've ever dealt with through a recruitment agency. He was supportive and thorough throughout the process. He definitely goes the extra mile for you. A pleasure to deal with. I would highly recommend him. An asset to Aaron Wallis

M. Wyer, Candidate

Excellent experience. Knowledgeable staff and really went the extra mile. Found my ideal position and I couldn't be happier. Special shout out to Sam and George: who made the process smooth and easy for me. Highly recommend.

K. Pearce, Candidate

I have to say coming across and having dealings with Aaron Wallis proved to be very successful. Being highly experienced did not seem to count for much during my job search bit a conversation with Robert Scott gave me a real confidence boost and enabled to get a position at the age of 63. Great service!!!

D. Burgess, Candidate

I would highly recommend thank you to Darren for helping me secure my new job role! Excellent service all round!

G. Thompson, Candidate

George above and beyond to make sure I had everything I need to secure my new role. Outstanding Professional.

A. Kirkland, Candidate

Darren at Aaron Wallis was really encouraging and helpful. He was very responsive and regularly made phone calls to explain the job opportunities available, and guided me through the application process.

A. Brown, Candidate

For anyone looking for work, I can't recommend Aaron Wallis highly enough.

C. Rockliffe, Candidate

Aaron Wallis (and in particular Rob Scott) have been fantastic throughout the recruitment process, and even a few months down the line, still continues to care. Rob clearly cares about each individual and has a wealth of knowledge and expertise, which shows in the work he does. Each candidate is not just a number, and the support received from Aaron Wallis has helped me get a career which I truly enjoy.

M. White, Candidate 

Simon was knowledgeable on his clients history, background and what their requirements were and he worked around time zones, holidays and a pandemic to get the right result.

J. Tooze, Candidate

Less than two weeks after joining Aaron Wallis I was offered my new job. I got a £10,000 rise in my basic salary, car allowance, a laptop and many other perks, which will help to further my career. I definitely would not have found my dream job without the help of Aaron Wallis.

C. Hoy, Candidate

Fantastic service, helped me find my ideal job quickly and smoothly. Would highly recommend them.

C. Caine, Candidate

Rob was really helpful when I was putting together a presentation for the second stage interview. Overall their communication was great and kept me updated of any progress

J. McGrattan, Candidate

When talking with Simon you felt relaxed cared to help you find a position that suited your needs

D. Pinder, Candidate

Sophie has been fantastic and always so attentive, highly recommend.

T. Ashbourne, Candidate

George is a fantastic recruitment agent and provides a great service. It was a pleasure I thoroughly recommend George to anyone.

C. Beaugie, Candidate

The staff at Aaron Wallis were fantastic. Throughout the process, they maintained excellent communication and I always knew where I stood.

M. Owusu, Candidate

I would highly recommend Aaron Wallis Recruitment, Darren was extremely helpful and provided me with plenty of advice and support throughout the whole process.

D. Bretherton, Candidate

A great recruitment company to work with. Excellent experience with Aaron Wallis through the entire recruitment process. The team was really professional and extremely helpful. Darren was a pleasure to work with. He was friendly, supportive and gave me great advice. Thank you very much!

A. Bauchet, Candidate

Aaron Wallis Sales Recruitment are a very friendly and professional recruitment organisation who listen to your needs, work with you and act on your behalf which sets them apart from many of their competitors who in my experience are willing to throw anything at you. We discussed my history, my preferences and my wishes - one opportunity was introduced. It was perfect. I start at the end of June.

R. Buckley, Candidate

I have to say using Aaron Wallis Recruitment has been nothing but an absolute pleasure. I've used many agencies over the years as the client and the candidate and its not always been a pleasurable experience!

L. Knowles, Candidate

The Recruitment agent I used, Simon, was extremely helpful and really went the extra mile to ensure all of my questions were answered, and that I felt as comfortable and prepared as possible. Very professional company and would definitely recommend to others. Thank you Aaron Wallis!

A. Callaby, Candidate

Excellent service, very professional and friendly, would and have, recommended Aaron Wallis.

E. Heley, Candidate

Good swift process with Aaron Wallis, informative regarding the role and the process was moved at a good pace with healthy interaction. Would recommend them to anyone pursuing a change.

S. Bartlett, Candidate

Very polite and friendly and was very helpful finding me my next new role.

K. Craggs, Candidate

I had a very good experience with Aaron Wallis. The company itself is offering great content for all things related to the hiring process. I definitely recommend.

J. Ostermeier, Candidate

Aaron Wallis is an outstanding recruitment agency specialising in high calibre sales positions. I was working directly with Darren Dewrance who went above and beyond my expectations in sourcing me my perfect role. I was kept in regular communication with Darren and he worked extremely hard to secure my dream job. Highly recommended and Thanks Darren for all your expertise and hard work.

R. Sealy, Candidate