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No One Knows Who Said “The Road To Success Is Paved With Failure”, But We Do Know The Truth It Holds. You Could Say That Quote Accurately Describes The Often Loathed Task Of Prospecting. Of Course, Prospecting Is An Essential Part Of Every Sales Reps Job, But Often The Most Neglected And Feared. But Why? Because It Results In A Great Deal Of Rejection And Perceived Failure. And In 2016, We Don’t Consent To Rejection And Failure As Being Acceptable. Remember, This Is The “Participation Trophy” Generation.
Instead Of Perceiving Rejection As Defeat, You Should Embrace It As An Opportunity To Grow As A Sales Professional. To Improve Your Craft. I’ve Had And Still Have My Fair Share Of No’s, Hang Up’s, Door Slams, And Deletes. Mind You, It Stings Every Time. However, The One Thing I Extract From Every Situation Is The Definition Of Where I Went Wrong. Without That Clarity, You Cannot Fine Tune The Process, Or Restructure Your Approach. Thus, Turning That Perceived Failure Into A Potential Latter Success.
There’s Another Pitfall To Prospecting That Sales Reps Tend To Fall Into. I Am Sure You’ve Heard This Very Popular Belief. “My Job Is To Sell, And Marketing’s Job Is To Generate Traffic And Leads.” Oh-Boy! If You Fall Into This Category, Jump Quick, Really Quick, And Find A New Career. This Type Of Thinking Will Condemn You To A Career Of Mediocrity With An Income To Match. Quite Frankly, I Don’t Work Weekends, Hustle To Appointments, Walk Around With An Iphone Attached To My Hand, Cold Call, Or Any Of The Other Mundane Tasks I Repeat Daily For Average Money, Do You?
Who Knows How Marketing Became The Nemesis Of Sales. Perhaps It Was A Mass Of Non-Prospecting Sales Reps Who Needed A Viable Scapegoat. We Shall Never Know. But What We Do Know Is We Rely Heavily On Marketing, And Should Be Thankful For Their Efforts, But Not Spoiled By Them. Yes, The Marketing Department Generates Traffic, Leads, Advertising, Etc. However, That Is Just One Piece Of A Very Elaborate Puzzle. More Times Than Not, That Department Markets For A Mass Amount Of Departments, Platforms, People, And So On. Do You Want To Rely Solely On Their Efforts To Determine The Outcome For Your Sales Goals, Salary, Traffic, Leads, And Essentially Your “Self-Owned Business”? I Didn’t Think So. I Guarantee You, The Top Sales People In Any Industry Don’t Necessarily Have A Better Product Or A Higher IQ, They’ve Just Realized The Importance Of Prospecting, And How To Do It With Stellar Results.
There Is A Third Archetype Of Non-Prospectors. Probably The Most Prevalent Of The Bunch. I Call Them The “Prisoners Of Hope”. They Hope On The Spring Market Traffic If They Are In Real Estate, Or They Hope On The Outcome Of Their Sales Pipeline, They Hope On Marketing, They Hope On Just About Everything Except Taking Action. They Have The Mindset That Things Will Get Hot And There Is No Need To Prospect. Waiting It Out Seems Like A Pretty Good Strategy. Why Think Ahead? My Guess Is They Eat Filet Mignon About 6 Months Out Of The Year, And Ramen Noodles The Other Six. I Haven’t Enjoyed Ramen Noodles Since My Sophomore Year Of High School. Raw!
So How Do We Even Begin To Fix This? Well Believe It Or Not, We Are In An Information Overload Age, So It’s Quite Easy To Rectify If You Are Willing To Put In The Effort.
1. If You Don’t Know How To Prospect — Find A Mentor. There’s Always A Top Sales Rep At Work Who Would Love To Give You Pointers. A Sales Manager Who Was Once A Sales Rep. Yes, Those Old, Salty Dogs Have Some Tricks. Just Ask. Google It! As A Mom, I Say This A Hundred Times A Day. The Magic Answer For Everything. You’ll Be A Master In Minutes From The How To The Why, And Everything In Between.
2. Where Do I Find The Time — You Schedule It In Your Planner Just Like An Appointment With A Prospect. You Wouldn’t Cancel Or Be Late For That, Would You? So Everyday Schedule 1 -2 Hours Or Once A Week Schedule One Day Strictly For Prospecting. Prospecting Is Ensuring Future Financial Security. Think About It In Those Terms, And The Appointment Becomes Easier To Adhere To. WRITE IT DOWN And Stick To It.
3. Your Attitude — If You Have A Negative, Pessimistic, And Self-Limiting Belief About Prospecting And Your Ability To Do So. Guess What? You’re Probably Going To Fail! Turn Your Beliefs On Prospecting Into Positive Affirmations And Watch Your Self-Esteem And Success Grow. It’s Always Mind Over Matter In Every Aspect Of Life. Unlocking Your Mindset Is The Key To Your Unlimited Sales Potential. There Is A Reason Psychology Is Prevalent! Sales Coaches Too!
A Few Final Thoughts On This Topic. First, Perfect Your Phone Efforts Please. I Have Seen Countless Prospecting Calls Made Without A Purpose Or A Script. Don’t Ever Call Someone Without A Compelling Reason To Do So. Your Job Is To Add Value. You Can’t Make That Up As You Go, So Scribble Notes At The Very Least, And A Script Is Great For Voicemail.
When You Send Emails, Focus On The Prospect. Sales Never Has Been And Never Will Be About You. Also, Try To Stand Out So You Don’t End Up A Victim Of The Delete Button. Video Email Is A Great Tool And An Amazing Way To Personalize Your Efforts. It’s Hard To Get In Front Of Key Decision Makers In Some Professions, So Email Might Be Your Only Hope. How Are You Going To Stand Out From Every Other Sales Hunter Trying To Land The Same Client?
If Your Prospecting Is A Face To Face Call, Have A Sales Plan With Structure. Role Play It A Few Times As Well. Sales Coaches Are Great For This As Well. Nothing Good Ever Happened From You “Winging It” It Only Sounds That Way When You Tell The Story After 6 Beers When You Landed The Client. It All Sounds Sad Through Tears Though, When You Didn’t. Trust Me!
Don’t Ever Wait On Anyone Else To Generate Your Traffic Or Find Your Leads. Control Your Own Destiny, Both Professionally And Personally. One Day Someone Is Going To Hear You Complaining About Your Lack Of Leads And Traffic And Their Reply Will Be, “It’s Not How Many Leads Or Traffic Units You Had, But What You Did With Them, That Matters”. Then You Look Like A Tool. You Can Only Trust Yourself To Catapult Your Career To The Next Level! No Excuses.
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