Simple ways to get more prospecting results with less stress
By Michael Caron, President, Northbound Learning
Prospecting is universally the least liked aspect of a sales professional’s existence. Frustratingly, it also represents the greatest potential for income growth for most of us (including me). Here are 3 key areas for prospecting, or better put, business development success:
Have a script — When you’ve only got a few moments to give someone a reason to have a conversation with you, you’d better be able to convey what your message is in a clear, concise and complete manner. Just “winging it” almost always results in a rambling, powerless message that misses the “Compelling Business Reason”.
Practice — How can you tell that you’ve nailed your phone skill? Will your prospects tell you? Not likely. You’ll see it in your numbers but you can’t count on customers to give you honest feedback like, “Well, Michael, I’m not willing to continue this conversation because you haven’t really explained clearly how your service can help me with my problems.”
For honest feedback, you need to practice with a colleague or your manager. It might be slightly painful to the ego to hear their comments but if it will make you more money, I’m sure your bruised ego will recover nicely. Making your mistakes in the field can cost you thousands of dollars.
Track Everything! — Keep track of how many contact attempts you make (phone & e-mail), the number of decision makers your connect with, the number that advance and the number of new meetings you book. You are probably already tracking how many proposals you get out and the number of sales closed and if you are, keep doing it.
You don’t have to have your company’s CRM reprogrammed to do this. A simple, low-tech and proven way to track your prospecting activity is to use a sheet where you place a tick every time you do an activity. Crude? Yes. Effective? Very! Click below for a sample that we call a “Green Sheet” — green because if you’re prospecting, it means you’re growing. At the end of each week, add up your numbers and plug them into a spreadsheet. After a few weeks of this, look at your totals & averages and play CSI investigator.
By looking at the evidence before you, you will be able to draw conclusions that will help you manage your prospecting process better. You will see what’s working and what’s not. You will see if you need to focus on improving your skills, your activity levels or both. Some of the comments I often hear from sales reps who adopt this strategy are, “As soon as I started keeping track of my numbers, they all went up!” and “I now know exactly what I have to do to hit my target this year!”
To download a free copy of Northbound’s “Green Sheet” click here.
If you can put these strategies in play, not only will you get dramatically better results, but you might even dislike prospecting a little less!
You and your team can learn to prospect better and in less time with Northbound’s “Power Prospecting” and “Connecting to Mr. Big Cheese” workshops. For more information or to arrange a complimentary workshop for your team, contact us by email at [email protected].