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?
Nobody would be dumb enough to sign up for that. It’s ridiculous. I’d rather poke my eyes out with a pencil! Why would I do that? 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. It’s called prospecting. If new business is the lifeblood of your business, then prospecting is the lifeblood of your role in sales – like it or not, you have to do it.
How familiar does this sound? It’s time to make prospecting calls. But I have other things to do. I need to check email. I should probably talk to Tom and Matt. I need to get some staples for my stapler. I should ask Jim to go to lunch. Too much coffee gotta go to the restroom. I wonder how production is doing on my Binford 5,000 project? … better call Saul. And so on, and so on, and so on.
You know you do it! You know you shouldn’t!
The “other things” that need to be done in sales can easily take up your whole day, your entire week, the better part of your month. Eventually, your quarter is looking thin. This is when you start blaming prospects for not calling back. Blaming production for quality problems. Blaming marketing for no leads. Oh, it’s easy to point fingers.
What’s hard to do is have the discipline to do what’s right in sales: TO CALL PEOPLE WHO YOU DON’T KNOW WHO MAY NOT WANT TO TALK TO YOU ABOUT SOMETHING THEY MAY NOT WANT TO BUY.
That finger needs to be pointed right between your eyes. Nobody else is responsible for your prospecting activity – only you.
Want some ideas to take the heat off?
- Schedule “prospecting time” on your calendar (an appointment with yourself that you MUST keep)
- Make it a game. Call until you get three people to tell you NO (with the popularity of voice mail how long will it take to talk to 3 people?)
- Ask 3 clients per week for a referral or introduction
- Make it easy to start (do your research ahead of time, so you have a list of prospects to reach out to)
- Make a personal call before you start your prospecting calls (but, keep it to 2 minutes)
Or, you can always ask to get moved to accounting, engineering or production. See how long you last there!