This question ranks right up there with: which came first, the chicken or the egg? Prospecting has many components. It’s no different than a great recipe with a certain mix of seasonings that makes it taste exceptional. If you add the seasoning at the wrong time, it changes the taste, or if you leave something out, it changes the taste. The same things apply to prospecting.

Check out my video on this issue:

When prospecting is done right and each activity is completed in the right order, it works and works well. The key is knowing each activity and then doing each one correctly. Below you’ll see the 10 things you need to look out for. I’ve also written an eBook that builds on each one of the 10 – here’s the link:

10 Reasons Most Prospecting Plans Fail eBook

1. Using the same prospecting process for all your prospects.

This is a huge mistake, and it happens when we get lazy. Unfortunately, being lazy only results in one thing: poor results.

2. Having too many prospects in your pipeline

I’m surprised at how frequently this is an issue, because all it does is prevent your from focusing on your best prospects. The result is failure to achieve the critical level of engagement with any single prospect, because you’re too busy trying to keep up with all of your prospects.

3. Not following up

This builds on my last point in #2. Following up is the number one way you turn a prospect into a customer. I bet your expectation is that it will take one or two contacts to turn the prospect into a customer, and that’s delusional thinking! It will take many, many more.

4. Not segmenting your prospects based on who they are and what their needs are

Every customer buys for a different reason. The faster you know the customer’s reason for buying, the faster you can tailor your process. Don’t wait until the prospect is ready to buy to find out what their needs are. Always make discovering their needs part of the prospecting process.

5. Relying on email as your primary prospecting tool

Just because email is easy to use and you can send out a lot of emails very fast does not mean it should be your “go to” prospecting tool. Email is one tool in your tool box, but not THE tool!

6. Thinking social media is your answer

I’m not sure where you bank, but my bank only takes money and it will never accept “clicks” or “likes.” This is what makes social media such an issue. Quickly, it becomes a game of where the object is to get your content shared. Think about this for a second- the first word is “social.” What does that mean? It’s all about conversations. Believe me, there is nothing wrong with social media. Just don’t ever assume that the time you spend on social media is prospecting time.

7. Not allocating the proper commitment of your time.

If you think you can relegate prospecting as an activity that you do after you take care of everything else, you’ll never be successful. Prospecting is not something you do when you’re all caught up or sitting around with nothing else to do. To make prospecting work effectively, it must be a priority and you must schedule time to do it.

8. Failing to realize your prospects don’t care about you and your company

Why would a prospect want to read your message when all it talks about is you? Your prospect only cares about one thing: their problems. The era of the “capabilities presentation” is long gone; that died along with network television and the daily newspaper. If the prospect is so bored that they want to know about you, they’ll look you and your company up on the internet.

9. Not making your messages about the prospect’s needs

From the first second in your phone call to the first word in your message, it must be about the prospect’s needs. So, you say you don’t know what their needs are? That’s why you’re asking questions and not sitting there dumping information. There’s no way you will ever know what to share until you first know their needs. This is why I am a firm believer in only asking questions in the prospecting phase.

10. Failing to realize the telephone is still a great prospecting tool

The people who say the telephone does not work for prospecting are the ones afraid to talk on the phone. I agree that most phone calls don’t get answered, but hey, is that any different than email or any other form of communication? No! Give me one two-minute phone call with somebody and more will be learned than during an email exchange over the course of two weeks.


When figuring out why most prospecting plans fail, this one ranks high on the list. Many salespeople have this general attitude. They think prospecting is a waste of time! Extraordinary salespeople, however, know that keeping their pipeline full of viable prospects means viewing prospecting as a vital part of selling.

Be sure to download the ebook where I go into each of these 10 things much deeper: https://thesaleshunter.com/10-reasons-most-prospecting-plans-fail-ebook/

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 Result

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