Good morning, Rainmakers!
You are here because you want to take your career to the next level. You are intelligent, ambitious, you have goals and dreams and you are determined to achieve them. Isn’t that great?
And yet… prospecting is a stone in your shoe. You find yourself wasting hours trying to avoid it, dreading it from the night before, wishing someone else could do it for you. Trust me: you are not alone. Sales prospecting is one of the most universally dreaded sales jobs, and even expert salespeople struggle to get themselves in the right frame of mind to do their prospecting every day or every week.
That said, you cannot be a successful sales rep, sales manager or sales organization without a good sales pipeline and excellent prospecting methods. No matter what products or services you are selling, b2c or b2b sales, the sales process remains the same: find potential customers, pick up the phone, and have as many sales conversations as possible. Because the fact is that the more conversations you have, the more sales you make.
Prospecting is everyone’s least favorite part of the sales process, and everyone in a sales team dreads the cold calls. This is why prospecting can make us feel burnt out and frustrated, which causes us to procrastinate our prospecting duties!
However, this is one of those tasks you cannot skip. Good, diligent prospecting gives consistent results day after day - the more conversations you have, the more sales you will close. The better those conversations are, the more referrals you will get from these people. Like it or not, prospecting is a necessary part of the sales process, and through the years I have discovered a few ways in which I can set myself up for success and hit that phone, instead of procrastinating, dragging my feet, and missing out on amazing opportunities to advance my career.
Many people who come to my courses and mentoring ask the same questions: “How can I get better at prospecting?” “How can I make myself sit down and dial instead of coming up with endless excuses that do not help me succeed?”
I hear you. I have been there myself, and through the years I have developed many time/management, motivation and accountability techniques that kept me on track and have made me successful beyond my goals and dreams.
For starters, here is a couple of prospecting tips that have worked really well for me:
1) Reflect on your “why” before your prospecting time.
Why do we do what we do? We choose a career in sales for many reasons: financial security for our family, hunger for success, a desire to change the world or solve a problem. Be sure that you spend a few moments focusing on why you are doing what you do, and that will keep you motivated to do it, both the parts you like, and the parts you like less.
Think of it this way. People go on a diet for many reasons: to improve their health, to live longer, to manage health conditions, to lose weight. Nobody likes to be hungry, nobody likes to count calories, and nobody likes to be told they cannot have a slice or three of chocolate cake. But the most successful dieters are those who keep their eyes on the prize (better health, more energy) instead of those who focus on the negative aspects, such as all the things they cannot eat.
Keep your eyes on the prize. Focus on your goals, and prospecting will be just another step to get you there.
2) Remember to look for ways to help in each conversation.
Nobody likes a pushy salesperson, and treating potential customers like an untapped wallet will not open their hearts or wallets to you. Use each prospecting conversation as an opportunity to meet and learn about your potential customers as human beings. Learn about their values, their priorities, their concerns, and look for ways to make yourself useful.
Connect with each person you speak to on a personal level. What are their pain points? Is there anything you can do to help them? This help may not have anything to do with your product: it could be a recommendation, or just listening to their problems for a while. These personal connections will make your day go by faster, and you will be surprised at how much more successful you are at selling when you focus on helping instead.
3) Look for new ways to connect
Finally, remember to leverage technology to help you with prospecting. Smiling and dialing goes a long way, but the younger generations are also keen to connect in many other ways that are potentially less time consuming and reach farther than you alone can.
Consider digital marketing, content marketing, inbound marketing, email marketing… all the new and wonderful ways in which we can establish a connection with other people, and find those who are like us and who can benefit from what we have to offer. Send emails with relevant subject lines, harness social media to find potential good fits for your product or service, and write blogs with relevant content to attract the kind of people you want to do business with.
Let’s review what I just told you. To maximize your prospecting efforts and achieve the best results, do these three things:
- Remember your “why”
- Look for ways to help, and
- Branch out into other channels to reach out to a wider audience.
Remember: the more conversations you have, the more you will sell.
You got this!