Ask salespeople what their number one issue is and you’ll probably hear, “getting good prospects.” Here’s a simple fact: you can’t close a sale until you have someone to sell to.
So what does it take to successfully prospect? As I’ve worked with thousands of salespeople and written the book, High-Profit Prospecting, I have narrowed it down to what I like to call the “10 Keys to Prospecting”:
Check out the video where I discuss these 10 keys:
1. Have a dedicated time on your calendar to prospect. Don’t allow interruptions! This is absolutely essential! The most successful salespeople are those who commit their time to prospect and stick to it. Saying that you’ll start prospecting as soon as you’ve taken care of everything else is not a strategy but an escape tactic to avoid prospecting!
2. Never start what you can’t finish. Prospecting is about following up. Reaching out to a bunch of people without following up with repeat contacts will never result in any type of success.
3. Believe 110% that you can help others. If you don’t believe in you, why should anyone else believe in you? Top performing salespeople are successful regardless of what they sell, because they know their objective is to help others; what they sell is merely the means in which they do that.
4. Qualify quickly. There’s nothing worse than having “prospects” in your pipeline just taking up your time but never becoming your customers. I’m a firm believer in having a fast moving prospecting pipeline that allows you to spend more time with fewer prospects. Yes, I know that is the exact opposite of what many sales managers say. We have to think quality, not quantity!
5. Have a prospecting process and stick to it. You won’t know if your process works unless you’ve executed it for a period of time that is twice the length of your average buying cycle. This is my rule. Here’s an example: if it takes 3 months to move someone from a lead to a customer, then you need to run your process for at least 6 months before you’ll know if it is working. Too many salespeople give up on their plan far too soon.
6. Don’t rely on social media as your primary means to generate leads. Social media is great, but not 100% reliable all of the time. Use it as one of your sources. Social media has a long lead-time. Too often, salespeople starve to death because they’ve put such a strong emphasis on social media, thinking it’s all they have to do. Use it to create awareness and confidence. The leads you get are purely a bonus.
7. Follow up promptly. This sounds simple, but more opportunities are lost merely due to the salesperson failing to follow up quickly when leads/prospects indicate that they want to move forward. Countless opportunities are lost because the salesperson is afraid that they’ll be seen as a stalker. If stalking helps me close more deals, sign me up!
8. Use the telephone. Don’t fall for the myth: “the telephone doesn’t work because nobody answers it.” Sure, the telephone isn’t as effective as it used to be, but don’t give up on it. The telephone allows you to have conversations with leads and prospects which in turn allows you to qualify them faster and ultimately help them far beyond what they initially expected.
9. Do not only rely on the Marketing Department for leads. It’s always great to have leads supplied, but top performers know they have an obligation to get leads and prospects. Relying on the Marketing Department is merely an excuse for not taking control of yourself.
10. Make the prospecting process about the other person. It’s not what you sell, it’s the outcome that you can help the prospect reach. That is what will get you the high-value prospects you need. If all you do is tell others what you do and what your product features are, you’re destined to fail.
Copyright 2019, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results