Prospecting is the engine that drives sales. You can’t just let it run on auto-pilot and hope for the best that you’ll arrival at a pleasant destination. Unless you keep both hands on the wheel, the odds are pretty good that you’ll wind up in the ditch!
Prospecting is a daily ritual-a task that can be approached in any number of ways. What’s most important is that you find a method that works for you. To help you find your own winning formula, here are seven secrets to prospecting that are used by the top-ranked sales performers in organizations of all sizes…
1. Show up for work in a prospecting frame of mind
It might sound patently obvious, but showing up and being ready to work is a business habit that many people never master. In sales (as with so many things in life), success hinges in part on being on your feet and ready to catch that golden opportunity when it avails-and that often happens when you least expect it. Look around your office. You likely know of more than one person who spends a sizeable chunk of time every morning living in slo-mo…just getting themselves prepared for the real work that awaits at some point later in the day.
Try a different approach. Make a promise to yourself that you will make prospecting your first order of business-as opposed to, say, reading your email.
2. Make your calls at various times of the day
It’s easy (and tempting) to let yourself slide into a routine of making your calls at a set hour, every day. That kind of predictable behavior can be lethal to your enthusiasm. And it also limits your perspective on how many hours in the day you might consider to be the ‘right times’ for prospecting. Try making some of your calls on a Friday afternoon-you might surprise yourself at the results.
3. Shake up your points-of-first-contact
Don’t settle for always doing your prospecting by phone. Some contacts are more approachable in person. And often the right venue can make all the difference between a having a lead that turns cold, and meeting a contact that leads you to striking pure gold. Reduce your number targets for prospecting by-phone, and apply that sum to meeting people face-to-face at a networking event, or even by email. This will help you hedge your bets and keep things interesting!
4. Track your progress
Track consistently your prospecting attempts, your meetings and your closing ratios. Be sure to measure your results on a regular basis. Then adjust your plan based on these personalized metrics.
5. Be consistent
Prospecting works best when it’s done consistently. Whether you choose to make all your weekly calls in one day, or to work with a smaller amount every day-what matters is that you are consistent in your business habits. Think of yourself as an elite professional. Gold pro Tiger Woods would tell you that it’s the consistency of his practice time-the hundreds of balls he hits every day-that leads him to ultimate victory. Your business habits are no different.
6. Write it down
Making a list is not only a great way to help keep you organized, it’s also a subtle way that you can make a tangible commitment to yourself. Successful salespeople record their daily progress toward the goals they set for themselves. Next, they list the most important things they need to do on the following day to move forward with those goals.
7. Motivation through reward
Staying motivated is an essential part of prospecting. After all, it’s never easy to keep a sustained pace of uncovering new contacts and following up on new leads. That’s why it’s important to remember that the tasks that get rewarded are the tasks that get done. As discussed in the goals-setting section of the Engage-U material, it’s important to find a reward system that works for you. Just for the record (in case you’re curious) my own reward for completing my daily prospecting calls is a trip to my local Starbucks for my favorite Venti triple shot, non-fat, extra-hot, no foam half sweet mocha (hey nobody has ever accused me of being low maintenance!). No calls, no coffee-it’s that simple. And given this, guess what gets done first thing every morning in my office.
Your action for the week:
Start tracking your prospecting efforts. It can be as simple as putting a checkmark in your note book. Track daily your number of calls, emails, meetings, voicemails you leave, and callbacks you receive related to prospecting. At the end of every week, you will see trends emerge and then you can start adjusting your approach and scripts accordingly. In the ensuing week(s), track your results. Adopt those changes that produce better results and discard those that do not.
Dedicated to increasing your sales,
P.S. What’s your biggest question about how to sell more in this “new” economy? Click here to let me know your question: www.engageselling.com/survey