Prospecting is the lifeblood of sales success. Most people that have made it past their first 12-24 months of sales realize this basic fact. Without prospecting there is no selling to be done, period. When you haven’t got a prospect to talk to you are dead in the water, maybe staring at the phone hoping it will ring or working to craft the silver bullet email blast that generates tons of inquiries. In my 40 plus years of selling I haven’t seen either of those strategies produce consistent results for anyone. But I have seen some people that are committed prospectors make one mistake over and over, failing to realize that prospecting and selling are distinctly different parts of a successful business development process.
Those salespeople that believe they are one in the same are often the same ones that claim to not have enough time to do the right amount of prospecting to grow their book of business or client base. Their practice of jumping right from prospecting into selling usually produces less than effective sales calls. The less professional salespeople do not understand that prospecting is the act of asking for permission to make a sales call at a later date. By using this separation of steps in the business development process you can set expectations, send some strategic homework, get the right people in the room and execute an effective sales interview to see if there is truly an opportunity for both parties to benefit. The most effective calls are when both the salesperson and prospect are committed to the time and attention necessary to Discover the value of the product or service.
None of us like those calls that come from telemarketers that jump into a pitch right after you mistakenly answer their call. We don’t like not having a chance to say you don’t have the time or that you aren’t interested, only to get run over by the run-away salesperson on the other end of the line. Show the same respect you would expect of someone trying to sell to you by allowing them to say they aren’t interested at all or that right now is not the right time. Show some professional courtesy by asking for the sales appointment, not by jumping right from successful prospecting to rushed selling.
If you are wondering how to improve your prospecting please contact us to learn a little more about what we do.