Most of you will remember the Alan Iverson rant (May 7, 2002) after the Celtics bounced the 76ers from the 1st round of the playoffs. He said the word “practice” 24 ½ times in a 2 minute span. It made Press Conference History. To a hockey guy that was one of the funniest moments ever in NBA History … I know… sad to say.
The press was questioning his commitment. And Iverson was having nothing of it! “Why we talkin’ ‘bout practice?” was uttered over 15 times alone. Not the way a ball player wants to be remembered but it is clearly the highlight of Alan Iverson’s career! That is BRUTAL! Some players enjoy practice, others dread it. All will agree it is necessary to the success of any team – without question.
Today we will talk about something equally as necessary to a salesperson’s success – prospecting! Yes we are talking about prospecting. The superstars in sales know one thing for sure – the moment they stop prospecting is the moment they go out of business – period.
Prospecting (like practice) is not fun. It takes time. It has a high failure rate. It can be the most humbling experience a salesperson will ever encounter. Doesn’t matter. You still have to do it. Like practice, you don’t have to like it – but if you want to be successful, you have to do it.
Are we talking bout 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 many times has either of those situations happened this year? Exactly. Maybe once. 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. 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 Iverson – he hasn’t been in the news for a while!