Show me a salesperson who loves to prospect & I’ll show you a salesperson that’s never done it. Face it: If someone told you your job was to call or email people who you don’t know… that didn’t want to talk to you … about something they didn’t want to buy … how quickly would you sign up? And why?
Nobody would be dumb enough to sign up for that. It’s ridiculous. Most salespeople would rather poke their eyes out with a pencil! Saying to themselves, “I’m an intelligent person. I have a degree or a skill that is in demand. I am a valuable member of society. I’d never do that – it’s a big waste of time.
Of course not! But that’s what we do in sales. Or, should I say, that’s what the successful salespeople do. If new business is the life-blood of your business, then prospecting is the life-blood of your role in sales – like it or not, you have to do it.
The superstars in sales know one thing for sure – the moment they stop prospecting is the moment they go out of business – period.
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. Well, let me ask you, how often do those situations happened? Exactly. Rarely. So, 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. Said it. 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.
- 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 your Sales Coach.