Your time is valuable.  You know this, but still you find that your time is evaporating quickly on prospecting efforts that aren’t yielding the results you want. Quotas still loom. The days tick by. You want more customers, but you begin to wonder how many of your so-called “prospects” are going to develop into actual paying customers.  And that is what you need and want: Actual paying customers!

Here is what I suggest:  Strengthen your discernment skills.  What does that mean? you may be asking.  You have to develop the skills to determine if a prospect is actually a prospect or if they are just a suspect.  The number one way to tell if someone is a true prospect is this — will they share with you proprietary information?  In other words, will this potential customer tell you something about their business or company that you can’t find someplace else?

Sure, they may volunteer bits of this information, but more than likely, you will have to ask some questions to get them talking.  Then be quiet and truly listen.  Then — and this is key — after they have answered an initial question, ask some follow-up questions based on what they have just told you.  The follow-up questions often lead to greater insights than you would get if you just stopped at their initial answers.

When you take this approach early in your prospecting efforts, you will soon learn if this so-called prospect is going to share with you information that you can’t get elsewhere.  If they aren’t willing to do this of if they constantly ask you for quotes without any apparent intention to buy, then you will see they are much more of a suspect than a genuine prospect.

Like I said at the beginning of this post — your time is valuable.  Spend such a precious commodity on prospects, not on suspects. Your sales motivation will rise when you refine your prospecting efforts to reveal those customers who really are going to buy.

 Copyright 2010, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.

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