I often hear from salespeople, “I always do well once I get in front of someone who will hear my story, but how do I get in front of more prospects?”
Prospecting, the art of finding customers, is the area where most salespeople are the weakest. Most likely, this occurs because prospecting takes place at the beginning of the selling cycle when the payoff for the effort expended lies far down the road; many times, your prospecting efforts result in little or no gain at all. In spite of these roadblocks, prospecting remains the lifeblood of every salesperson.
Here are a couple of tips to think about.
1) Develop a prospecting system. A system for prospecting is a process, which, if used regularly, produces a consistent, predictable number of leads, which can then be converted into sales. No system= no appointments. By the way, winging it is not a system.
2) The most important principle of successful prospecting is “It’s okay to fail.” Calling anyone for the first time is probably the most difficult call you will ever make. Mom used to say, “Never talk to strangers,” as she sent you into the world. Now, you find strangers holding your selling success in their hands. Mother’s advice wasn’t a bad idea for a little person unfamiliar with the world. However, one of the problems with conditioning is that we tend to carry our early admonitions with us forever, like excess baggage.
Many salespeople still hear mom’s voice as they begin their prospecting system. How are you going to protect yourself from the pain of rejection? By separating your role from your identity (self-worth), developing a system for prospecting and knowing that you’ll need to get a lot of nos on your way to success in sales.
Remember, you cannot fail at prospecting — you can only fail to prospect.