A mentor once told me, the moment we stop prospecting for business is the moment we are out of business. Hurts. But it is so true. He went on to say that we didn’t have to like it – but we did have to do it. Stinks. But, also so true.
Let’s get the crappy part out of the way right now:
- Prospecting is not fun
- Prospecting takes time
- Prospecting has a high failure rate
- Prospecting can be the most humbling experience you as a salesperson will ever encounter.
Doesn’t matter. You still have to do it. You don’t have to like it – but if you want to be successful, you have to do it.
Are we talking about cold-calling? Not necessarily. We’re talking about reaching out to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy. A risky proposition for some salespeople. Some salespeople would rather wait for a HOT internet lead. Wait for the phone to ring. Wait for an email from a prospect in desperate need.
OK, how many times have any of those things happened for you this year? Exactly. Maybe once. Twice, tops? You had your “lay-down” this year. Now it’s time to go out & talk to people that may not want to talk to you about something they may not want to buy.
Let’s review ways to prospect:
- Referrals & introductions. When was the last time you asked a good client who they knew that could use what you sell?
- Current clients/customers. Bet you are not 100% entrenched in all of your current accounts. Find out who else (in other departments) you should talk to (& get introduced)
- Networking events, Organizations, Associations. Where do your prospects hang out? Go there. Most industries have organizations that are target-rich in prospects for you.
- Linked In. It’s expected. Find prospects. Engage them. Get invited in to have a discussion about their issues. Your competitors are.
- Stop in. Stop driving by facilities that you know by your products & services. Pull in the lot, get out of your car, & do your thing. It’s your job.
- Targeted emails. To the right audience. With the right message. It can work. And another thing, make sure your Subject Line is compelling (so important).
- Cold Calls. Believe it or not there are salespeople that still open wonderful opportunities by cold-calling over the phone. There are more lists of prospects than you can imagine.
Or you can sit back & blame marketing for the lack of leads. Blame your company for your “crappy territory”. Blame your competition for having better relationships than you. Hell, blame the economy – remember when that used to work? Not in August of 2018!