Prospecting 101


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Prospecting is the at the core of every successful sales career.

Without consistent and effective prospecting, pipelines are empty as are commission checks, and eventually sales positions.

And before you get your hopes up, there is no perfect prospecting method. There is no one trick that will take you from rookie to superstar.

I'm sorry. That's just not how the world works.

However there are best practices and activities you can do that will dramatically help you be successful finding and closing new clients

What you'll find below are some very simple concepts that will help you in your prospecting efforts.

If you're willing to put the work into it.

1. Be Willing To Put Yourself Out There

Sales prospecting is not for the shy.

It involves a lot of calculated risk, a lot of calls that will never be returned, people slamming doors in your face, hanging up on you, and strongly insisting you never call them again.

But as a sales person you have to be ok with hearing the word NO...a lot! In fact you have to move past those feelings and keep pushing on.

You can't let your feelings be hurt.

Additionally you have to try multiple avenues to engage with customers. Calls and emails aren't enough anymore. You need to throw in handwritten letters, foot prospecting, social selling, sending gifts, blogging, and anything else you can think of that make them want to talk with you.

And if any one activity is not working as well as you think it should be, you have to be quick to recognize that and make a change immediately.

2. Have A Plan

You should absolutely have a plan of attack when prospecting.

  • Who are you going to target?
  • How are you going to reach out to them?
  • When are you going to reach out?

These are the most basic questions you need to ask yourself when prospecting.

Planning serves two purposes. The first is so that there is some sort of consistency in your outreach. You aren't just haphazardly calling people who are not ideal prospects and have no idea who you are.

The second purpose is so that you can track your results...

3. Track Your Results

You can't change what you don't measure.

Normally your Sales Manager is on top of your prospecting numbers but this is absolutely something you should be focusing on too.

  • How many calls did you make this week?
  • How many emails did you send this week?
  • What days did you get the most responses?
  • What scripts got the highest response rates?
  • How many touches did it take before you received a response?
  • What is the most common response of no (e.g. price, timing, functionality, etc)?

If you measure these metrics during your day you will begin to see patterns in what works and what doesn't. From there you can take those results and adjust your prospecting method appropriately.

4. Keep Your Momentum Up

Momentum is important when you've set aside time to prospect. And it's a lot easier to control then you might think.

Lets say you've already made 22 cold calls and have only gotten 20 voicemails and two answers that said "no thanks".

You might be feeling a little down at this point which is completely understandable. Especially for a new sales rep who's not yet use to the grind. When this happens remember that it is OK to take a break.

If you work from home like I do then go for a walk or run. If the weather is permitting go sit outside and people watch for a bit at Starbucks or read a book. Anything that will flush the bad feelings from your mind and help you get back to the task at hand.

And on the flip side, if you just got a prospect to invite you in for a demonstration make sure to keep going. Keep the momentum moving forward and call some more prospects. Keep yourself lucky. The smile on your face from the last call will sound in your voice with the next calls.

5. Actually Do It

The last tip for better sales prospecting is that you have to actually do it.

Prospecting and using these tips require you to actually get out there in the trenches.

Your clients and prospects are your best teachers. You'll be able to take these tips and adjust them and change them to fit their needs and yours. Then you will be unstoppable.

Don't be afraid of a little hard work. Most things in life actually worth something require hard work. If you want to be successful in sales follow these tips, work hard, and you'll do fine.

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