Sales prospecting is all about finding potential customers.

The problem is too many salespeople spend time doing things they think are going to bring them prospects, when in reality all they’re doing is wasting time.

What I’m talking about is the amount of time salespeople can spend networking with people who have zero potential of ever being a customer.   They may even know there is zero potential, but they still network with them, thinking somehow these people are going to magically give them amazing referrals.

Calling friends or associates with whom you enjoy talking is not prospecting.

I’m not saying you can’t talk with friends or associates. I’m simply suggesting that you talk to these people after you’ve done your prospecting.

A simple rule is this — unless someone has given you a solid referral in the last 12 months, don’t go thinking they’re suddenly going to do it now if you spend more time with them.

Prospecting is about reaching out to people who have the potential to do business with you or  can refer to you people who can.  Anything else is not prospecting.

Take a look at your calendar.

Make a list of the phone calls you make.  How much time are you spending each week talking with people who aren’t helping you achieve your sales prospecting goals?

When I ask this question of salespeople, I always get a response that implies this is certainly not a problem they have.  What is interesting is when I start probing and challenging them on their time, it’s amazing how they begin to realize they do spend time with those people who are anything but a sales prospect.

Keep a log of all of the time you spend either meeting in person, making phone calls, or trading emails with people who are non-prospects.

You’ll be surprised at what you find after a week.  Your objective is to merely reduce that time by 50%, knowing it’s impossible to eliminate all conversations of this type.

Use the time you save by turning it into additional sales prospecting time. If you were to add one hour a week to the amount of time you could be prospecting, in one year it would equal an additional week.

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

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