When it comes to prospecting, it can feel like there are 100 things you have to get right to be successful. Trust me, I get it. I work with companies all the time helping them build an effective prospecting process. There are too many moving parts to even count. Regardless of how complicated or simple the item or service you sell, there are 10 things you must get right.
Watch my video to find out more and read about each one below:
Here’s my list of the 10 mistakes:
1. Using the same prospecting process for all of your prospects
It’s not different than thinking you can fix any problem in your home with a single tool. Sorry, but it’s just not possible. Quit thinking about your prospects in the same way! It is absolutely essential that you segment each prospect by type and have a different prospecting plan for each one.
2. Having too many prospects in your pipeline
This tip rubs a lot of people the wrong way, especially managers, but I’m a firm believer in it. You’ll have greater success if you have fewer prospects to focus on, rather than a bunch of names. You won’t be able to effectively reach an endless number, no matter who you are. So in order to slim your pipeline down, you need to have a prospecting process that allows you to quickly identify whether or not the prospect is real or nothing more than a suspect.
3. Not following up
Not having the time to follow-up and follow-thru is a direct result of the constant up and down cycle that too many salespeople and even companies find themselves in. Business is slow and the outlook is grim, so it’s all hands on deck in a full out blitz to make calls and prospect like crazy. Does this scenario sound familiar? In the race to fill the pipeline, the game is to contact as many people as possible. However, the problem is that it’s impossible to continually repeat the process of contacting all of those people long-term. I am a firm believer in following the directions on the back of every bottle of shampoo: “Repeat!”
4. Not segmenting your prospects based on who they are and what their needs are
This mistake ties back to the first one on the list. You must be able to segment, and don’t think for a moment it’s around what you sell. Segmenting is about the prospect and the outcomes they expect to achieve. For example, one type of prospect might look to what you’re offering as a way to prevent pain or risk in their business. Another person may look at the same item from you as a way to gain a competitive advantage. This means that your approach and messaging must be different, so what works for one prospect may not work for another.
5. Relying on email as your primary prospecting tool
Email is the lazy person’s prospecting crutch. Far too many salespeople use the excuse that email is the only way to reach prospects. One of the biggest problems you make with this mistake is thinking that just because you read the email, your prospect will too. It’s time to throw that myth out the window!
6. Thinking social media is your answer
This one absolutely drives me nuts! For some reason, there is a belief in the sales world that if you spend enough time on social media, you’ll have all the business you’ve ever wanted. I have one response to that: go ahead and spend all of your time on social media, then come back to me in six months and let me know how your sales is doing. I’ll tell you how they’ll be doing – you’ll be starving! Social media plays a role in the sales process, but it’s no different than the role traditional marketing/advertising plays. Yes, it does help; however, it’s a long-term plan that can take months and years before you will see serious fruit.
7. Not allocating the proper commitment of your time.
Prospecting happens when you engage! Prospecting is not something you do when you don’t have anything else to do. It’s not something you do when you suddenly find yourself without enough customers. Prospecting must be something you do on a regular basis. View prospecting the same way you view showering. You take a shower daily, so prospect daily. Failing to prospect on a regular basis puts yourself in a situation where your sales is constantly in a peak/valley syndrome.
8. Failing to realize your prospects don’t care about you or your company
So, unless you’re somebody famous or you have a product everyone has to have, I hate to break the news to you, but your prospect couldn’t care less. What does this mean to you? It means you need to quit sending out stupid emails or leaving pathetic voicemails that extoll who you are and how great your company is. Your prospects simply don’t care! Your prospect didn’t wake up this morning drooling over the possibility of you calling him/her today.
9. Not making your messages about the prospect’s needs
Nobody cares about what you are offering. Everybody only cares about how they are going to take care of their problems. Show them you’re going to take care of their problems or help them move ahead, and then they will be interested in what you have to sell. Too many prospecting messages are nothing more than short statements of product features. You should focus on delivering short statements that garner interest in what the customer is facing.
10. Failing to realize the telephone is still a great prospecting tool
Sadly, too many salespeople fail to realize that the telephone is still a great prospecting tool. It doesn’t matter how much anyone says otherwise, I will always believe in the power of the telephone for conversation. I run into too many salespeople who, when asked how much time they spend on the phone, respond, “Little to none.” Coming from someone with many years of experience, I’ll tell you that the telephone works when used right.
I have written an ebook on this issue where I dig deeper into each one of these 10 items. I suggest you download a copy and read. It’s called: 10 Reasons Most Prospecting Plans Fail.
Copyright 2020, Mark Hunter “The Sales Hunter” Sales Motivation Blog. Mark Hunter is the author of High-Profit Prospecting: Powerful Strategies to Find the Best Leads and Drive Breakthrough Sales Result