The number one issue salespeople struggle with the most is sales prospecting.
I get at least one call or email a day with a salesperson asking me to help them with this issue. Sales prospecting is not easy — I’ll admit it. It takes dedication and a process.
The problem is far too many salespeople are quick to say they don’t have a good source of prospects or they don’t have a good process. When I probe them on this and get them to really look at the job they’re doing, the issue 90% of the time comes down to they do not truly dedicate any specific amount of time to sales prospecting.
Think about this — if you wanted to become a real expert in anything, do you think it would happen if you never dedicated any time to it? That’s the issue.
Prospecting and ultimately closing customers takes dedication.
What I’ve found is that the person who is the most dedicated in the time they reserve for prospecting is the person who is most likely to succeed long-term.
What is dedicated time do you block out each day or each week for prospecting? Do you hold yourself to it?
I’m not talking about the total number of hours — what I’m talking about is the focus and commitment to using the time you have reserved for prospecting. I’m talking about actually doing it; not just noting the time on your calendar.
My recommendation is this: Break your prospecting time into 3 categories:
- First category is the time you’re going to spend researching and identifying who you’re going to prospect.
- Second category is the time you’re actually going to be calling prospects.
- Third category is the time you’re going to be doing the follow-up work once you have a good prospect — and they’ve moved into the phase of where you’re trying to qualify them.
Three categories, each with a dedicated objective. The most important one is the second one. This is the one where you’re on the phone making calls — not thinking about making calls, not updating your CRM system — but actually making calls.
Your homework assignment is to look at your calendar and begin tracking the actual amount of time you spend on each category. After a few weeks, then schedule yourself a dedicated time each day or each week to do category two — making the calls. Be 100% committed to this part of the process.
I’ve shared this with hundreds of salespeople, and every person who has followed through has come back to me later with one response — it works!
Copyright 2012, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog.
It’s all about a workable, reliable, process, isn’t it Mark?
And the 3-point plan you laid out is all most salespeople will need. They can add a little customization to suit their particulars and be making more sales because of it.
The only thing I might add is for Sales Hunters to measure the results of their efforts and experiment with, and test the variables (time of call, length of call, the introduction, the offer, and on and on) to improve their effectiveness.