It’s the start of a new year and as much as you feel good, you also feel a sense of concern about the numbers you need to hit for this year.

The solution is NOT merely doing more of what you did last year and thinking that alone is going to do the trick.

Success is not in the number of hours you work; it’s in how you spend the hours you work.  (Yes, you can go ahead and tweet that!) Your answers are in what you’re doing and, more specifically, why are you doing it. To help you get the year set, here is how I suggest you break down your prospecting process:

1. Look at your existing customer base and be brutally honest by asking yourself which customers are wasting your time.

Your time is your most valuable asset, and if you’re going to be successful, there are things you’ve been doing that need to come off your plate. Start with the customers that suck up too much of your time relative to what they bring to the party.

2. Lock into your calendar now dedicated time to prospect.

This isn’t time you spend preparing to prospect. It’s time you spend engaging one way or another with prospects.   You determine the amount of time, but I recommend nothing shorter than 2-hour segments and minimally 6 hours per week.

3. Purge your sales pipeline of everything that doesn’t fit one of the two following criteria:

A large enough opportunity that despite the level of time necessary (assuming you can close them), they will represent a key piece of your business.

An opportunity that is moving fast enough to allow you to close in no more than 30-45 days. These can be small or large. The key is you’re making good progress with them and you know what their timeline is for making a decision.

Everything else needs to be flushed out of your pipeline. Too much time is spent by salespeople chasing prospects with zero potential. Just because a prospect will meet with us or take our phone calls doesn’t mean we should. Your time is sacred!

4. With every existing customer you speak with in January, make it a priority to get from them the key reason they like buying from you and specifically why.

You need this information to help tell you the type of prospects you need to be going after. You also need this information to help motivate you as to the reason you do what you do.

5. Revise how you qualify prospects.

More than ever, you need to be qualifying prospects fast to ensure you’re spending time with those who have potential. My motto again this year is, “Your goal is to have fewer prospects you can spend more time with.” I’ve been saying this for several years, and each year it becomes that much more important.

I’m not saying to drop people. No, you can keep them around on your marketing email lists, etc., but you don’t want your high-value time being spent on low-value conversations.

6. Simplify your selling process by focusing more on the questions you ask.

Your goal when prospecting is to have the prospect say, “Great question!” When the prospect says that, it means they’re having to think.  You show value when you get the prospect to think. It’s only at that state will you ever have the opportunity to move to a full-profit opportunity.

7. Make it easy for the customer to do business with you.

Make your close so simple it becomes a no-brainer.  We lose too many quick opportunities by complicating the closing process with legal documents, credit forms, and the like.

Make it easy and the customer will do business with you again. If this means making the initial sale small, fine; just get it done. Once a customer buys from you, they are far more likely to buy from you again. Remember, the sale is not the end of the relationship. It’s the beginning.

8. Focus on yourself and the outcomes you know you deliver.

If you can’t believe in how you can help others and you can’t believe in yourself, then pack it in and find a different job. Sales is not for slackers. It’s for people who want to transform customers, and to do this, anything less than believing in yourself 100% will result in failure.

For another great article on this issue check out “10 Questions to Challenge Yourself Next Year.”

Yes, I had to stay broad in sharing these as there is only so much space, but you get the message. If we want different results, we have to be willing to think differently.

Join me January 12 for a webinar on Building Your Prospecting Plan for 2017!  I will be digging into this issue of developing your prospecting/sales growth plan for 2017.   Sign up even if you can’t make it, as I’ll be sure to get you the replay of the event.   Most of all, let’s make 2017 an absolutely fantastic year!

For more on prospecting, be sure to check out my new book, High-Profit Prospecting.

High Profit Prospecting
Copyright 2017, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter.” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Selling: Win the Sale Without Compromising on Price and High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Results.


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