What is Prospecting in Sales? Strategies, Examples, and Tips

Discover what prospecting in sales is, master the art of the cold call, and learn how to personalise your outreach.

Rory Sadler
August 3, 2023
February 24, 2024
Discover what prospecting in sales is, master the art of the cold call, and learn how to personalise your outreach.
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Everyone wants to be a boss in some way or another, and prospecting like a boss is a critical skill to create never-ending client lists that yield great results.

Mastering the skills of a master prospector is like becoming the next great fisherperson- sure, we could catch you a fish, but teaching you how to do it means you’ll eat for the rest of your days all on your own.

First, A Clarification on Prospecting

Put away your hip waders and pickaxe; we're not looking for gold by panning in rivers with this kind of prospecting. When we talk about prospecting in a business environment, we’re talking about the process of identifying and connecting with potential customers as a way of generating new business.

B2B prospecting is the same but different. It's more specialised, more focused, and (some say) trickier. It's an involved process of outreach, research, and (sometimes) rejection, all leading to that coveted moment of landing a big fish to reel into your boat. In our fishing analogy, prospecting is casting your fishing line out to try to land the fish of your dreams.

This definition and metaphor are helpful because it helps remind us that prospecting is a widespread effort best practised and refined, honed over one-hundred-thousand casts of the lines and tries to find the best lure, strategy, and technique to get to your next big client. Understanding this philosophy will help with a variety of approaches to win at prospecting.

Know Your Enemy

Prospects are not your enemy; let's just get that out of the way. However, researching them so that you know them inside and out and can anticipate how they think (much like you would an enemy) is a crucial aspect of prospecting because it gives you an informational advantage.

The first step of research is to identify potential prospects and ensure that your product will actually be a good fit for them. Don’t try to force this fit, either. You’ll be doing yourself a favour by finding companies that will be excited by the awesome features you have to offer them.

Now, do a deep dive into that prospect. Researching your butt off about your potential prospects will help you identify possible pain points up front, offering insights and solutions from the beginning for more value-added faster. This lets you show how your company can be the perfect solution for their business. You’ll resonate with your prospects, sliding in as more of a wise and knowledgeable friend than a salesperson.

Research you can use, consult, and accumulate includes:

  • Their public-facing websites
  • About Us
  • Blog (check out their tone and focus to see what's important to them and how you can tailor your approach)
  • Reviews- customer pain points can be a great resource for offering meaningful solutions to your prospect.
  • Relevant financial information from outside sources about how the company is performing.
  • Industry contacts- talking to people who work inside or have worked with the company before can give you crucial insights into pain points that the general public might not see (sometimes the company themselves doesn’t even notice it)

Master the Cold Call

They’re called cold calls for several reasons, not only because your relationship with the person on the other end isn't warm and familiar, but also because it can leave a lot of us with a feeling of cold dread (LinkedIn even reports that 63% of people say cold calling is the worst part of their job). Becoming an expert at cold calls, calm, cool and collected no matter what prospect is on the other end of the phone, will give you the ability to weather any prospect interaction like a pro. And since cold calling is still one of the most effective B2B prospecting methods, it’s the kind of tool you can’t afford not to use.

The Cold Call Hack Sheet

Understanding the most crucial parts of the cold call will help you master it, feeling comfortable and confident enough to do it as persistently as necessary. The steps to an effective cold call include:

  • Research first.
  • Memorise and personalise a script.
  • Learn to take rejection in stride.
  • Know when to call during the day to be most effective.
  • Start with a proactive opener.
  • Educate and inform your buyer.

Personalise Your Outreach

Even though cold calls are cold, they mustn't be icy freezing. Canned responses and scripts would make even your mother less inclined to work with you. Although those scripts are specifically formulated to support effective conversions, they fail to create effective connections between actual humans.

Scripts are still important, don’t get us wrong. They give you something to fall back on that’s still in line with your goals, so you don’t accidentally go off-roading and say something totally crazy. But reading off a script like a robot won’t endear you to anyone.

Taking your script and tweaking it to sound like something you would actually say in a conversation is a crucial part of prospecting because it makes the script work for you. Firstly read your writing and then try saying it again as you would if you were talking to your mother. What different words would you use and would you say it in another order? How would you say the script if you were talking to a friend or colleague instead?

Playing around with how you speak your script will help you get the points across that you need to but in a natural way that allows prospects to sympathise with you.

What does this look like? Below is a canned prospecting script from Zendesk, one of the many they have. As we said, scripts are good, but personalising them is better, so below that, we have a more personalised version that gets the same information across, but it sounds like a human being would say it in a casual conversation.


Hi, Bob. My name is Sheryl from Annie’s Apples. I was hoping to speak with you about becoming partners. Do you have a minute to spare?

[Prospect’s response: Yes]

Thank you. I always speak with companies like yours who share the same pain points.

May I ask how you have been managing your distribution?

[Prospect’s response]

It sounds like we could be a good fit to help you. Can we schedule a time next week to speak more in-depth about a solution?

Specialised Script:

Hi, is this Bob? Hi Bob, how are you today? That's great to hear; I'm fine, thank you for asking.

My name is Sheryl; I'm calling from Annie's Apples. Do you have a few minutes to talk?

[Prospect’s response: Yes]

Awesome, thanks! I was hoping to talk to you about becoming partners. I have spoken with many companies like yours, and many of them have issues with their distribution. Is it okay if I ask how you manage your distribution?

[Prospect’s response]

You know what, hearing that I think we might be able to help you because we have a solution for just that issue. Can we find a time next week to talk more in-depth about that solution, maybe Monday or Tuesday?

Already, that conversation is sounding more like a conversation than a mad lib. This will make Bob feel like Sheryl is interested in helping with their distribution issues instead of just cold-calling him.

Connect with Prospects on a Whole New Level

Your prospects want you to connect with them and give them everything they want to set themselves apart from other companies. This makes them want to work with you. That’s the true trick of prospecting; showing your worth and making people want to work with you.

Trumpet offers a sleek and customer-oriented platform that makes connecting personally with prospects easier than ever before.

The micro-sites you can create on Trumpet make for an easy place for candidates to get all the information they want on their terms, streamlining the whole sales process. For more tips and tricks on getting the most out of your sales process, from prospect to a done deal, visit our website.