Top Ten Rules of Prospecting

Top Ten Prospecting Rules

What’s a four letter word that salespeople hate most? Prospecting! I know it’s not four letters but all the other four letter words are taken. Prospecting Prospecting Prospecting. These are the three most important words in sales. While this is one of the most dreaded activities in sales, it is by far the one activity that can not be overlooked, shaded, procrastinated, ignored, put on the back burner, hidden, obstructed or forgotten.

So here are the Top 10 Prospecting tips.

Do it and do it some more. Like Nike’s motto just do it. When we dread it and find excuses not to do it we pay later. You know a weak pipeline is no pipeline at all. Sometimes we make excuses not to do it because we aren’t in the moon, our mind set is not right or we just plain don’t feel like it’s effective.

Attitude is 90% of everything. Results are a direct relation to attitude! Don’t fall into the trap of procrastinating and waiting for our attitude to get better before we begin. Attitude affects behavior and behavior effects attitude. Is it the chicken or the egg? It doesn’t really matter because without either we don’t eat.

Never let them see you coming. A lot of salespeople will leave messages, send e-mails and continually come up with excuses that are disguised as efforts they call prospecting. I’ll send some mail before I call, if they are interested they will call back, I sent several e-mails and left messages but they haven’t called back. Your goal is contact not activity. Stats tell us that to reach a decision maker it takes on average 5-7 attempts. Never leave a message until you made 7 attempts. Different times of the day, different days, ask the gatekeeper for more info, but never leave a typical sales message. If you look like a salesperson, act like a salesperson, smell like a salesperson, and sound like a salesperson, then you get treated like a salesperson!

Give the prospect a reason to get back to you. If you call and leave a message of who you are, your company, and what you’re calling about the success rate of contact is usually less that adequate. It’s more effective to leave a little to the imagination and use curiosity as the reason to get back to you. Be creative!

The wrong focus. Stats tell us that 70-80% of the time we will get put off, shrugged off, stalled, and objected to. That is a lot of negativity we have to deal with and it’s way too much pressure to deal with all the time. Change you goal. Instead of saying I’m gonna get 2 meetings, say I’m gonna get 20 no’s today. This will give you a positive way of achieving your goals and along the way a few are bound to say yes!

Schedule prospecting time. If prospecting is the most important activity then get your schedule out and put at least one hour a day in your book for prospecting. Don’t let anything get in your way and don’t make excuses not to do it. If you schedule prospecting and treat it as important as the million dollar meeting you will have more million dollar meetings.

Prospect Consistently. Don’t wait for one day of the week to prospect. Don’t let the anxiety build and deal with the feelings of guild and pressure to make all your calls for last week in one day. Three interesting things that happen when we prospect daily. A) We get better at it and B) We put karma in our favor and C) One day of the week we will be in the ZONE. The Midis touch…everything we touch turns to gold.

Set Traps. Traps are things we put in place to force us to do what we either don’t like doing or forget to do. Chances are you checked you alarm this morning so that you’d wake up on time. No alarm = Late. Make the lack of prospecting more painful than just the lack of prospecting. One lady we work with set the trap to come in 30 minuets early one day a week if her prospecting goals aren’t met the previous week. She hates getting up early. If you don’t meet or exceed your prospecting goals take your office nemesis to lunch, wash your bosses car at the office, give $50 to your favorite charity.

Use different strategies. The phone gets old in a hurry. A lot of civic organizations are always looking for someone to give a 5 minute talk on some subject you are an expert at. Relate your services and products to the economics and get visible. Don’t just join a networking group, get on the board. Mix up your prospecting activities and they won’t be mundane.

Get your clients to prospect for you. Become a referral animal. Let’s face it we have at least 50% more success prospecting when we are introduced. The most common reason salespeople don’t get referrals is because they don’t ask. Start asking. However it you buy into Emerson’s Law of Compensation, [you know ebb and flow, every action has a reaction, give and take. (It’s a long and difficult read but worth it.)] The best way to get referrals is to give them first!

Take a moment review the top 10 and make a commitment to implementing one a week for the next 12 weeks. Then you will have more appointments, more 2nd meeting s and more money in the pipeline. Start with number 6 because as you get busier you’ll put off prospecting!

In the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy…. GET’er DONE!

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Author: Rocky LaGrone

Rocky LaGrone is a seasoned sales development expert with over 25 years in sales development and training working with well over 1,000 companies of all sizes in various industries.

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