We all need better sales prospects.

Rarely do I run into a salesperson who is not looking for more sales prospects.

But I’ll argue it’s not good enough just to have more sales prospects. It’s more important to have “better” sales prospects.

Too many salespeople waste time with people who they think going to be a good prospect, but in reality, they are nothing more than a suspect. Worse yet, they’re using the salesperson to accomplish something else.

Here are 4 things you can do start doing right now to get better sales prospects:

1. Don’t consider someone a sales prospect until they have shared with you a piece of proprietary information.

If a customer is not willing to reveal to you something about them or their company that is not known by the general public, then run!

Chances are if they won’t share with you something of proprietary nature, then there is either a lack of trust between the two of you or they’re merely planning on using your information to validate some other decision they’re making.  Either way it means the customer is a waste of your time, as they’re merely a sales suspect.

2. Find out quickly the prospect’s timeline for making a decision.

I may have a sales prospect, but if for an extended period of time they’re not planning on making a decision for one reason or another, then I would hardly call them a “better” sales prospect.

This is why I tell salespeople in all of my programs that it is necessary during the probing phase to find out and validate what their timeline is for making a decision.

3. Have them call you.

Sounds strange but I’ve always said a prospect who calls you is a “full-profit prospect.”

When a prospect calls you, this means they have a pain and are ready to enter into the decision making phase.  To get the customer to call you does require you to have a strong marketing / awareness campaign, but when you do have it in place, the results can and will be impactful.

If you’re reading this and you work for a large company, you might be saying that it’s impossible for you to do that.  My response is, “No, it’s not hard. Regardless of who you are and who you sell for, you can still create that personal awareness via your network.”

4. Expand your prospecting funnel.

The best way to do this is by developing a very tight profile of who your existing customers are and then capitalizing on finding others that match that exact same profile.  Yes, this means asking your current customers for referrals, but it means going way beyond that.

Best way to do this is by focusing your prospecting efforts by segment.  I’m a big proponent of not simply calling randomly, but rather call by industry segment or personal profile. Calling using this approach allows you to be more informed and engaged with the segment and thus ready to be able to handle specific questions that might arise.

Don’t settle for average sales prospects. Whatever you do, focus on better sales prospects.

In the end, the most valuable item you have is your time.

Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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