Strategy # 2: Prospecting with a Purpose

Regardless of how aggressive or conservative your sales growth goals are for your business this year, your plans will involve some level of prospecting for clients. Unfortunately, statistics show that 50% of sales time is wasted on unproductive prospecting (The B2B Lead)…WOW! Who can afford to waste 50% of their time on unproductive activities? Couple that with 48% of sales people never follow-up with a prospect and “Houston, we have a problem”!

Why don’t most sales people prospect? Chances are the reasons fall into 3 main categories:

  • Desire: You don’t need the business or you aren’t very interested in the process.
  • Fear: You are afraid of being rejected or don’t know how to sales prospect.
  • Focus: You are too busy reacting to your business to work on your business.

What is your reason for not prospecting? Desire, Fear, or Focus?

For those of you who suffer from fear or lack of focus, here are some things to consider if you want to be a top performer.

3 steps to eliminate the fear of prospecting:

  1. Have a Power Statement: In our last article, we talked about the importance of creating a power statement (need to catch up? Check out the first article in this series here). Your power statement is more than just a collection of words that sound good together, it’s how you identify with your work and connect with potential clients. Your power statement should be short, memorable, and make you feel like you can conquer the world.
  2. Give Value First: The more valuable you become, the more business will find you. It’s not about selling, it’s about being a resource. How often are you sharing your knowledge and experience without expecting an immediate return? How many lunch and learn talks do you give to your target audience? Don’t focus on selling your product/service. Focus on sharing your expertise instead.
  3. Dive Deep: If fear is crippling your networking activities, focus on building valuable relationships and showcasing your skills. Pick 1 or 2 networking groups/associations and dive deep into relationships by volunteering for a project or position within the organization. You will have an opportunity to relax, earn trust and connect one on one with influential people while still adding value in your area of expertise.

If you suffer more from a lack of focus than fear, here are some tips from top performers on getting and maintaining focus.

3 steps to increase your prospecting focus:

  1. Have a Plan: Make a plan for the year, the quarter, the month, and the day. To top performers, prospecting plans are viewed as a sales road map rather than a road block. Top sales performers don’t drift through their days, they wake up with a clear objective and path to get them to their sales goals. What associations are you engaged with? What value do you add? How are you measuring success with your engagements?
  2. Have an Accountability Partner: Without fail, top performers will point to a coach or mentor who shook them up a few times when they strayed from their goal path. We all have a natural tendency to drift at times and an occasional detour can be helpful when it’s intentional. A drift because you aren’t paying attention to your actions can be disastrous. A regular check in with an accountability partner will help you celebrate your successes more and identify unintentional drifts before they become an issue.
  3. Review, Review, Review: Creating a prospecting plan is a worthless activity if you don’t measure the results on a regular basis. Are you spending time with the right people or just the people you like? Do you know when to walk away from an engagement or activity that isn’t benefiting you or your business? Top performers know the difference between “busy” and “productive”. They also know when to rewrite a plan that isn’t working for them.

For top performers, prospecting isn’t just an activity, it’s a way of life. They are always attracting, connecting, and engaging potential clients.

If a lack of focus or fear of prospecting is holding you back, take action today. Develop your plan, work your plan, and review/rewrite when necessary. The secret to success lies in consistent, persistent purposeful action.

To Be Continued…

Watch for Strategy 3: Eliminating the Noise

Christie Walters, iCore Strategy in conjunction with Tracy Larson & Katie Curtin, WeSuite