My number-one tip for selling more in less time is to prospect every day.
You can’t sell to everyone. There is always going to be somebody who, for some reason at some time, just will not buy from you. Since you will never have a 100 percent closing ratio, you need to prospect. And do so every day. That’s what keeps your sales funnel full of leads.
In fact, your sales funnel of prospects should be at least three times the size of the amount of business you want to close. Why three times? Because on average, sales people close one-in-three qualified leads that are available to them. So if you need to reach a $100,000 sales quota next year, you need to generate and manage a sales funnel of at least $300,000 in potential sales.
Even an average sales person can be guaranteed to hit their quota using this approach. A recent study indicates that just over 50 percent of sales people hit or exceed their quotas every year and about 49 percent don’t. The difference, in my experience, is the size of your sales funnel or pipeline. Size matters, in this case. Most definitely.
And keep this in mind. If you have a six-month sales cycle, and you need to hit a $100,000 in revenue by December 31st that pipeline of yours needs to be filled with $300,000 in potential sales by the end of June. If it isn’t, your chances are slim of hitting your goal.
How you are going to do that? Sales experts and sales professionals have differing views on how much prospecting should be done every day. Here is my opinion on this. If your organization does not use closing ratios, then plan to be on the phone every day for at least two hours and measure your results. Two hours will give you time to make between 25 to 40 calls depending on voicemail frequency. Within two hours, you should on average be able to secure one qualified appointment daily. If you are measuring results, make as many calls as you need to so that you hit your sales targets. Keep in mind that three qualified leads will yield you one sale.
What’s a qualified lead? That’s someone you talk to who has the money, the authority and the desire to buy your product or service. These are people who each have a problem that needs to be solved. If you’ve read my Secrets of the Top-10 % ebook, you will have noticed a section on the importance of managing time and blocking off time each day to prospect.
Many people I work with have great sales skills. They know how to close, they know how to get past objections, they’re great negotiators, and great networkers. And yet many are undisciplined about getting to their desks every day and making those prospecting calls. Many feel that prospecting calls are beneath them. They think: “hey I’ve been in sales for 15 years, I’m beyond business development, I’m beyond cold calling, I’m beyond prospecting.” Nothing could be further from the truth. Everyone needs to prospect…no matter how successful they are.
Most organizations don’t have a sales problem at all, they simply have a prospecting problem. This is a little secret most people don’t want you to know, especially those providing negotiation, closing and objection handling training…which incidentally I do! If you’re an excellent prospector, you have a system for attracting qualified buyer, and you have a sales funnel that’s three times what you need, prospects will eventually become clients. You can be mediocre at every other sales skill except prospecting and be successful. The key is to prospect every day.
I encourage people to sit down at the beginning of the day and make prospecting calls, because for most people, cold calling and prospecting are not their favorite parts of the job. I realize you’d much rather be closing business making presentations or attending networking events. But if you do your calls first thing in the day, you’ll have a more likely chance of getting it done and will have the rest of the day to look forward to do other things you enjoy!
If you don’t prospect first thing in the day, chances are it won’t get done at all. It’s like exercise. If I don’t go for a run in the morning, it’s over. Sure, I’ll try to convince my self I’ll go at lunch and that never happens. And I try to convince myself, I’ll go at the end of the day, but by the time I get home I sit on the couch, I have a glass of wine, I play with dog and there is no way I am moving to put my running shoes on. It’s so easy to procrastinate, and you procrastinate your way out of prospecting. Don’t make that mistake. Prospect every day for at least two hours.
I tend to refer to the sales funnel as a sales martini glass, because the martini glass and the funnel are roughly the same shape, but a martini glass is much more fun to look at. What I would encourage you to do is to go home or out to the store and buy a glass or a plastic martini glass full of marbles to represent your prospects, and put it on your desk. This creates a visual reminder to call every single day.
Of course there is always the proverbial “bluebird” of happiness factor—the sale that happens by accident as it flutters in unexpectedly. I don’t know about you, but I would rather be successful on purpose than by accident. And to do that, you need to keep feeding that prospecting funnel every day.
Dedicated to increasing your sales