When I am working with private coaching clients I note that ninety-nine times out of a hundred,
a lack of consistent revenues is caused by a lack of consistent prospecting. A failure to
prospect on a regular basis will inevitably result in irregular revenues, and inconsistent
commissions. It’s that simple.
This is especially true when we’re doing well. It can be so easy to forget about prospecting
when we’re wrapped up with following a dozen (or so) hot leads, who are demanding lengthy
proposals and multiple meetings, conference calls, demonstrations and references. But this
is precisely the time when we need to be prospecting, to ensure that steady sales flow
doesn’t suddenly dry up.
Napoleon Hill once remarked that your ship can not come in unless you first send it out.
Nothing could be truer for sales professionals. Let me paraphrase: Your sales can not come
in (close) unless you first send out (engage with) some prospects. Sales people that actively
prospect every day (i.e. send out their ships) will always outperform those who just sit
and wait. In fact, if you are waiting at your desk for the phone to ring and sales to come
in, you are simply an order taker. And you will wait a long, long time to be successful.
I have never met a wealthy order taker. I have met plenty of wealthy
The best prospectors hedge their bets. They use multiple prospecting techniques to send their
"ships out to sea". Some will return with a big bounty, some with a little and some not at
all. You can
never count on a "one size fits all" approach to sales, nor a 100% close rate in sales – even Christopher
Columbus was smart enough to send 4 ships out to sea!
Yes, prospecting can be a difficult and, for many people, daunting task. The
simple fact is, not everyone likes doing it. And let’s face it, prospects don’t fall from
the sky. We have to work at getting them consistently, so we can close sales consistently.
After all, even if you’ve mastered all the questioning, closing and objection handling techniques
in the world, you’ll still almost certainly fail if you don’t have any prospects to use them
The truth is this, top professional know that prospecting is the key to selling. I have
never met a top 10% performer for whom prospecting isn’t central to their daily sales activity.
So let me help you make prospecting central to your day too.
Below I have compiled 18 ways to send your ships out. I am sure that you can add to this list to
create at least 31 prospecting ideas. One for every day of the month! Just imagine how many sales you
can make each and every month if you commit to prospecting every day!
- Cold calling
- Direct mail
- Regular email newsletter
- Monthly hard copy newsletter
- Customer reactivation calls – call customers you have not heard from in 6 months or more
- Networking events
- Trade shows and conferences
- Face-to-face door knocking
- Asking for referrals
- Sending a catalogue of your complete product listing by mail to your existing customer
- Offering a free white paper or eBook on your website
- Offering a free trial of your product
- Radio / TV / Newspaper / Online / magazine advertising
- Association marketing
- Involvement in charity work
- Fax blast
- Voice mails
Drop me a line or visit this article on our blog at www.EngageSelling.com/blog to
add to our list. I would love to hear what prospecting ideas are working best for you!