As the New Year begins a common ritual takes place … health clubs are jammed. You have to wait to get on a piece of equipment, Come March and April the health club is busy but you can get to your choice of equipment immediately. By June, well let’s just say you could fire off a cannon and not hit any one.
Prospecting can be much like going to the health club. It ‘s something that sales people know is good for them and if done will produce excellent and predictable results. At the start of the year, or when a sales person joins a new company, they are prospecting animals. But it does take too much time until most sales people seem to avoid prospecting. For some, they would rather crawl over broken glass, than make cold prospecting calls.
We know prospecting is the most disliked task of being a sales professional, a root canal could be more tolerable. But, if you do not feed the front end of your pipeline, good things will stop coming out the back end. No matter how good you are, no matter how referral driven you are, you still need to perform the discipline of prospecting in order to grow the company and your income.
Cold calling prospecting is a “no option behavior.” Our Sales Focus Twelve Commandments of Prospecting is a proven success discipline of prospecting and selling success.
COMMANDMENT I: MAKE AN APPOINTMENT WITH YOURSELF FOR 60 TO 90 MINUTES A DAY TO PROSPECT.
Prospecting is a require discipline to sales success. It requires rigger and focus. It is very intense, so only do it for 60 to 90 minutes a day or you will burn out. You can find many reason to put off prospecting till later in the day and tell yourself, “I will do it when circumstance are better.” I can assure you that the time to make your prospecting calls will never be exactly right.
Make an appointment on your daily planner and protect it. Look at it this way, “it is an appointment for the largest sale you have ever made.” The next record largest sale of your career has yet to happen and it will come from a brand new client. Where and how do you get to that brand new client? It truly is an appointment for the beginning of the largest commission check of your career.
COMMANDMENT II: SEE THE END BEFORE THE BEGINNING
Steven Covey, in his book, “The Seven habits of Highly Successful People, “ tells us to see the end before you begin. Dr. Covey is, in effect, telling us to establish a goal and then develop a plan to work towards that goal. This sage advice works well in prospecting and business development.
COMMANDMENT III: SET GOALS
Pipeline management is the best sales tool available. When you know how many face to face calls you need to make to get a prospect to move to a proposal, and know how many proposals you have to present to close a sale, you are in total control of your success.
Apply the pipeline management theory to your cold call prospecting time. How many conversations do you have to have to get one appointment? Bases on your pipeline number for required face to face meetings, you know exactly how many conversation you need to have, to set the right amount of appointments that will produce the net end results you want. So how many dials does it take to have a conversation? Now you have total pipeline management control: “x” dials = “y” conversations = “z” face to face meetings = “w” proposals = $$$$$ closes.
Once you have established the number of dials and conversations you must make, you can easily set goals. If a number of dials or conversations did not achieve the needed results do not beat yourself up. Over the long term everything will balance out and you will achieve all your pipeline goals.
COMMANDMENT IV: MAKE YOUR CALLS BRIEF
The objective of the prospecting call is simply to determine if a lead is qualified or not qualified. If they are not qualified you have two choices: a) trash the lead b) check back at a later date. You are going to get 10, 20, 30 even 40 non-qualified leads for every qualified lead. That is a lot of “no’s,” so play to win and go for the “no.” Come from abundance! You have hundreds or thousands of leads to talk to, to find the 10 to 50 who will by. What I say to myself is, “I have 780 people to talk to find the 12 that will become my client, sir or madam can we speed this call up so I and find those 12 people from this large list?” That is what Sales Focus salespeople truly believe.
Your prospecting call should last approximately two to five minutes at the most. Focus on introducing yourself, your product /service, what “pain” issues others had who decided to do business with you, does the prospect on the phone have any of these pains and if so are they important enough for the prospect to invite you in for a face to face meeting.
COMMANDMENT V: BE PREPARED WITH A LIST OF NAMES BEFORE YOU CALL
Not being prepared with a list of names will force you to devote much, if not all of your allocated prospecting time, to finding the names you need. You very well have been busy, but you will feel as though you worked hard but you made only a few or no calls.
If you have a list of leads, do not do research on the name or company. You are wasting time on a yet to be qualified lead. Research at this point could allow you to assume what the leads needs are and your call will have a hidden agenda. You will close yourself to all the possibilities that could exist in that leads world. Not having a lead list or doing research is simply a way of kidded your self
COMMANDMENT VI: WORK WITHOUT INTERRUPTIONS
We recommend that you not take calls and not entertain meetings during your prospecting time. Take full advantage the prospecting opportunities and the prospecting learning curve. As with any repetitive discipline, the more often you repeat the discipline during a contiguous block of time, the better you become. Each call you make, the better you become and at some point, as in sports, they call this getting in the groove.
COMMANDMENT VII: CONSIDER PROSPECTING DURING “OFF PEAK” HOURS.
Your competition traditionally do their cold calling between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM. The gatekeeper is in place and doing their job. Some of your best prospecting work will happen between 7:00 AM and 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM and between 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM.
COMMANDMENT VIII: VARY YOUR CALL TIMES
We are all creatures of habit. So are your prospects. In all likelihood, they are attending the same meeting every Tuesday at 8:30 AM. If you cannot get through at this time, learn from your lack of success and call this particular prospect at other times during the day or on another day. You’ll be amazed at the results
COMMANDMENT IX: BE ORGANIZED
If you got it use it, I am speaking of your contact management software program. Your contact management program allows you to record a follow up call for tomorrow, next month, next year and even three years out. Log in call efforts, results of conversation and next step, you will find a dramatic positive change in your sales life and results.
COMMANDMENT X: IF YOU FEEL, IT SAY IT!
When a prospect, on the phone, asks you to send them literature, 80-90% of the time they are getting rid of you in a polite way. What would happen if you said, “ Many times when someone asks me to send them literature, it is simply a nice way of saying “no” and getting me off the phone, that is not happening now, is it?” If they say, “yes it is,’ they disqualified themselves and you are off to the next call. Think of the time and money that was just saved, as well as, avoiding the frustration you experience when you leave voice mail message after voice mail message following up on their “so called” review of your literature.
COMMANDMENT XL: DON’T STOP
Persistence is one of the key virtues in selling success.
COMMANDMENT XII: NEVER EVER DO ANYTHING FOR A PROSPECT WITHOUT KNOWING WHAT WILL HAPPEN AS A RESULT!
Sales Focus Inc. Pioneered the Sales Outsourcing Industry and has the most effective and proven process S.O.L.D.™ in the industry. Our process has been implemented in many Fortune 500 companies along with small and mid-sized organizations in all industries.
Building Intelligent Sales Solutions has been our only focus since we pioneered the Sales Outsourcing industry in 1998. Sales Focus Inc., (SFI) has generated well over $10B in revenue for our clients, utilizing our repeatable S.O.L.D.™ process, which allows you and us to build dedicated sales teams focused on growing small & large companies alike.
Intelligent Sales Solutions Focusing on client acquisition, building and launching dedicated sales teams on a national level, all while reducing the cost of sales is what makes Sales Focus Inc. (SFI) unique. We create repeatable and sustainable business processes designed to bring sales results in a short period of time. SFI is able to provide a dedicated sales team across the country or across the globe to meet the needs of each individual client. Our sales representatives are thoroughly trained using our Sales Master Training Program for both tactical and strategic solution based selling. Sales Focus Inc. is committed to providing our clients constant sales intelligence in the form of daily, weekly and monthly reports, allowing for our clients to own the customers. Whether our outsourced sales teams are feet on the street or inside sales, Sales Focus Inc. is committed to driving down the cost of sales, generating immediate revenue and building “Intelligent Sales Outsourcing Solutions”.