Prospecting is a difficult sport. Yes I said sport. In fact it is a contact sport. The problem is that most sales people, including me at times, sit on the sidelines. You see sales people want the glory. They want the touchdown or home run, but they don’t want to do the preparation needed to gain the glory. I am not saying sales people are lazy. I am saying most people hate cold calling.
What do people do when they hate something? They avoid it. Now is the time to change. Here are five practical tips:
Tip 1: Determine how much business you need, your close ratio, and then back into the amount of prospecting calls you need to make your goal a reality. If you fall short of your call goal one week then add those calls to the next week and be prepared to make the extra calls to catch back up.
Tip 2: Schedule a time to make the calls. If it is not on your calendar it just won’t happen. My suggestion is the first hour of your morning. You are fresh and so are the people you are calling. If you know your contacts are more likely to be at the phone at the end of the day then make that your time.
Tip 3: Referral calls are a prospecting call and they are very effective. Start by asking those people you know and do business with who they can introduce you too. I am amazed how many of us passively hope people will send business our way. Hey I’ve got news for you…everyone is busy. If you want or need something you are going to have to ask for it.
Tip 4: Go to meetings. If you can, speak at meetings. But set a goal. How many people are you going to meet? How many business cards will you collect? Going to meetings is a passive activity. Utilizing meetings to develop relationships is a dynamic activity.
Tip 5: Know why people should do business with you. Ask yourself…Do I have a powerful introduction? Do I have value I offer potential clients? Too many times sales people call without a reason. I don’t talk with people just to talk with people. Time is too precious.
Remember in all that you do be authentic. Work to develop trust with people. In the end your success has more to do with your curiosity and ability to focus on others rather than yourself. Never lose that spirit when attempting to master any sales skill including prospecting.