Face it, you're not good at prospecting. (But you can be!)
I was not a good prospector early in my career. Whether in my role as a commissioned sales rep, or my longer tenure in executive management, it took me awhile to learn the keys to strong prospecting. (Prospecting does not go away nor become less important when one moves into management.) I give myself a solid C for those early years: I rarely made a list of top prospects and/or calls I had to make. I sometimes dropped the ball on timing when it came to reaching out to a prospect. I was intimidated by some folks whom I knew to be tricky, and thus, avoided them. Those are not the good habits of a strong salesperson, eh?
I do, however, remember one thing I did as a sales rep that many buyers noticed - and told me they appreciated: I wasn’t that guy who only called when I knew money was in play. In other words, I truly cared about my buyers and prospects and effectively nurtured our relationship. When I called to “check in” (*an act I’ve since dubbed to be a criminal move by a rep), I was checking-in with the person, not the account. I guess that meant I was the classic “relationship guy” – until I learned I needed to up my game and bring business value to the relationship.
So what does it mean to be a strong prospector? Simple. In my book, there are only three key elements you need to consider to be a good prospector:
Good, strong prospecting is foundational to good, strong selling. Prospecting is not easy unless you create your plan, work the plan, stick with the plan, and measure the plan. Good luck. Email me anecdotes of your successful prospecting and you might win a new 2016 Escalade. (Actually, that’s probably too much incentive and I’d rather not go out and buy a new truck for you…how ‘bout I mention you in my next newsletter!)
* “checking-in”… also known as sloppy mental preparation pertaining to proactive prospecting. I often bristle when I hear those words out of a salesperson’s mouth during a time when attention to an account or key buyer is crucial to success. I guess with some folks it's ok to "check in", let's just make sure we understand that the key to good prospecting is bringing value first!
Make the problem go away!
Johnny can't sell, FIRE his A$$.
Managing your ugly ducklings.