Good prospecting is a matter of developing a solid game plan that works well for you, then following that game plan to the letter.
We have tested lots of ideas for what we call power-packed prospecting pointers with leading salespeople in all fields. These seven are the gems we have collected over the course of more than 25 years in sales training and consulting:
One: View prospecting as the lifeblood of your sales career.
- Focus on quality. It is the only way you can spend most of your prime time with qualified prospects. It is also the only way you can have enough hours in a week to be successful.
- Focus on quantity. Your success depends on having enough solid sales leads.
- Focus on consistency. A steady supply of qualified prospects enables you to avoid slumps and plateaus, eliminate call reluctance and procrastination, and keep from pressuring current customers.
- Do it now. Increasing your prospecting effectiveness is the single fastest way to boost your sales and income.
Two: View prospecting
as your most valuable time-management tool.
Remember that you are always looking for ways to better leverage your time:
- Use it to avoid wasting prime time on people who are not qualified to say “yes.”
- Use it to ensure that you will always have enough qualified prospects to keep you productively busy.
- Avoid wasting time through sloppy or haphazard prospecting.
You never know when your prospect’s motivation to buy will suddenly increase.
Three: Take an organized
Never keep leads on scraps of paper or sticky notes. Use a contact-management program. Whichever platform you choose, select one that ensures you will never:
- lose or forget about valuable leads
- be late on promised follow-up calls and visits
- waste time looking for information you have lost
- improperly value your prospect inventory
- fail to do mailings and other footwork due to a disorganized prospect list
- become a compulsive procrastinator when it comes to developing your prospect inventory
Four: Remain alert for “suspects” who
have the potential to become qualified prospects.
In today’s fast-paced society, people’s needs may change rapidly and radically, placing prospects where you had never thought to look.
- Develop a mindset that automatically asks, “Is this person a prospect?”
- Assume that all suspects are prospects until proven otherwise.
- Keep looking for new places to find prospects.
- Cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with everyone who can give you leads or open doors for you.
- Take full advantage of every effort by your agency or home office to generate leads.
- Maintain a close alignment with your marketing department.
- Make it your policy always to secure referrals from satisfied customers.
Five: Rework your suspect
inventory regularly to upgrade suspects to qualified prospects.
Remember, a good filing system will help tremendously.
- Learn to use the telephone in a professional, pleasant and business-like manner. Then use it regularly, maintaining compliance with the national do-not-call list.
- Constantly search for people who can give you a referral for every suspect on your list. Or, better still, will they make a contact for you?
- Look everywhere for the slightest clue that the suspect’s buying status might be changing.
Six: Stay in constant
touch with active prospects.
You already know how—through phone calls, periodic mailings and personal contacts—you just need to do it. Keep in mind the “top of the consciousness principle” which states that:
- the only certain way to ensure your customers think of you first is through frequent, repetitious contact.
- others are always competing for a finite amount of your prospect’s attention and dollars.
- you never know when your prospect’s motivation to buy will suddenly increase.
- you need to be sure that your prospect thinks of you or your product first when he evaluates how to fulfill his business needs.
Seven: Continually upgrade your prospecting system and strategies.
- For a steady flow of fresh ideas, you should read books, journals, magazines and business news, listen to CDs, watch videos, attend seminars and talk to other successful advisors. Attend your local NAIFA association meetings and events to learn strategies from other advisors.
- Above all, keep a positive attitude about prospecting. Make a game out of it.
The key to a successful sale is knowing how to open. It starts with an organized, systematic approach to prospecting. After all, without an adequate supply of prospects, to whom would you sell?
Bill Brooks is CEO of The Brooks Group, an international sales training and business growth firm in Greensboro, N.C. For more information, visit www.brooksgroup.com or call 336-282-6303.