There is no question that prospecting is a necessary part of every sales strategy. If you aren't prospecting, you aren’t creating new opportunities and in the end, you won’t have the pipeline of opportunities you need to hit your goals.
The problem is that prospecting sucks, I mean it really sucks! Anyone who has spent a significant amount of time prospecting will tell you, it is very hard. This is mostly because of the rejection and discouragement that comes along with it but it is also because it can become very monotonous. It is for these reasons that salespeople and business owners alike will find ways to either do very little of it or avoid it altogether.
So what can you do? Really it comes down to doing three things:
Set your SMART goals
Make it easier
Get it over with
The first one is just simply committing to making prospecting a part of every day. Use the SMART method and set some real goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time Based). For example, I am going to connect with 200 people and create 20 new selling opportunities in the next 30 days.
Now that you have committed to making prospecting a part of every day and have your specific goals outlined, how can you make it easier so that you stick with it long term?
Step One - Automate the Monotonous
If you boil down the elements of your prospecting efforts into steps and rate them by most boring and monotonous you can start looking for ways to automate those steps. There are countless tools and services out there that can knock hours of manual efforts off your plate and be just as effective as the manual process. In a future post, I’ll get into some specific examples that we have helped clients use to automate key pieces of the prospecting puzzle.
Step Two - Create a balance of positive to offset the negative
Most of the negative comes in the form of rejection, so make sure to mix it up a bit to create some easy wins. If you just prospect to your core lists of decision-makers, you will experience a lot of rejection or just simply be ignored by most if not all of them at times. So for every "X" number of prospecting attempts with your core group, mix in reaching out to potential partners, other salespeople. Logically you will get a much higher percentage of those people to agree to a call or meeting and because there is less pressure to sell during those calls, you get to practice and fine-tune your pitch by explaining what you do and also practice the asking and listening part about what they do. In addition to making you better at your sales process, you will be creating the potential for new partnerships, referrals, and relationships. But you will also be gaining from positive energy which offsets the negative and keeps you upbeat and driving hard for the next opportunity.
Step Three - Get creative
Get creative not only with your different approaches but will the kinds of people you reach out to in order to mix it up. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone or what you think is logical and try something random. Having at least one conversation a day with someone that is completely outside of your typical end-user or partner network just to learn what they do and see if you can help each other can be a big game-changer. You never know who they are connected to or how you can help each other and you won’t find out if you don’t try.
The last piece of advice on prospecting is to just “Get it Over With”.
Don’t procrastinate it. Don’t find other busy work to do first. Don’t get distracted and multitask while prospecting. Get it done and get it done first. This comes down to a pretty universal concept of just doing the hardest part of your day first and not putting it off. Make it a habit which means do it every day, no exceptions for as long as it takes to stick as a habit (most say that is 60 days minimum).
If you are a business owner or sales leader that is interested in improving and increasing prospecting efforts from your sales team, automating as much of the process as possible and coming up with creative ways to get it done, please reach out. Spark Growth Strategies (720) 687-3050 or www.sparkgrowthstrategies.com