Prospecting for sales is hard enough, but it’s made even harder when the strategy being used is either based on hope — or worse yet something like spraying and praying.
I talk a lot about the need to have a very clear sales prospecting process.
Just as important the need to be focused in following it.
Too many salespeople at the first sign of something not going right get scared and change direction. No wonder so many salespeople cave to the demands of the customer when it comes to price. (We’ll save that issue for another day.)
The problem is you have to realize there will be obstacles. Things will arise that may give an indication of something not working correctly, but that doesn’t mean you should abandon the process.
- Can you imagine Bill Gates in the early days of Microsoft stopping work just because he encountered a small problem?
- I wonder if Steve Jobs would have stopped all work on the iPad just because somebody said something he didn’t like.
In both cases, we know that they did not stop.
Why then should you stop everything, go into panic mode or haphazardly come up with a new process just because a small issue arises?
Once you have your sales process established, then stick to it. You have to give it time. The amount of time needs to be at least 3x the length of the normal customer acquisition process.
If it normally takes you two months to prospect a customer and close the sale, then you want to use your process for at least six months before evaluating it. You can make tweaks along the way. That’s fine, but don’t go abandoning the ship half way across the ocean.
You’ll only be in a position to evaluate the effectiveness of a sale process after you’ve been doing it for an extended period of time. Don’t cop out on yourself. I find the reason salespeople are quick to throw up their hands about their prospecting system not working is because they want to have an excuse to not have to prospect.
Far more prospecting systems fail due to user than due to the system.
This message applies not only to salespeople, but also to sales managers, the marketing department and anyone else involved in the sales process. Things take time and the biggest reason is due to repetition. A new customer is not going to suddenly pop out of thin air based on one phone call or one email.
Sorry, but if it was that easy, we wouldn’t need salespeople.
Now, get out there and execute your plan. Stay focused and when you begin to waver, remember two words: stay focused.
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.