Effective prospecting can be summed up in three words. I refer to them as the 3 traits you need to have if you want to be successful at prospecting. The 3 traits are:
I call this “PAP.” Whenever I see someone consistently living out these traits, they are always successful.
The first trait is persistence. If you’re not 100% committed to making prospecting a necessary action – something you have to do – then you can kiss it goodbye, and you will need to be happy with the business that simply comes your way. The object that describes this kind of person, that lacks persistence, is a “rain barrel” because that’s all you are. If it falls in your lap great, and if you have to go get it, forget it.
Persistence means prospecting when you don’t want to or when you’d rather be doing easier, more enjoyable things. If you’re persistent, you will convince yourself that prospecting is more important. Persistence also means being diligent in knowing that it will take multiple contacts to get a prospect to engage, but you don’t give up because you know that you can help them. Persistence means staying focused on the mission at hand and not allowing yourself to get side-tracked with shiny objects or everything else in life.
Persistence can be summed in two activities – first is staying committed to the times each day/week you have set aside to prospect and second is not letting go of a prospect just because they won’t engage with you quickly.
The second trait is attitude. If your attitude towards prospecting is poor, I can tell you right now that you will fail at prospecting. You cannot hide your attitude. You won’t be able to fake it until you make it, not in sales! Sales is an emotional game, or really, it’s a mental game and it all starts with your attitude.
Zig Ziglar used to say, “your attitude will affect your altitude.” I believe that 100%. If you choose to wake up in the morning dreading the fact that you have to prospect, I guarantee you will not see the opportunities that are out there. Conversely, the person who begins the day seeing the day as a gift to help others and full of opportunities will uncover multiple opportunities.
The people you talk to on the phone will hear and feel your attitude. Don’t say it’s ok, because you only use email to prospect. I hate to pop your bubble and delete your email, but your attitude still shows. The canned emails you send out will never get the minor tweak you need to make to make it fit the prospect if you have a negative attitude. Your negative attitude slows your pace and will eventually wear you out. It’s amazing how having the right attitude gives you more energy to accomplish far more in far less time.
The final trait is process. This means that you have developed a plan. Your plan includes knowing who your perfect customer is and what you should lead with when you’re talking with prospects. You have the questions developed to ask when you engage with a prospect. This may surprise you, but this is the trait that actually causes more salespeople to fail than the other two. If you don’t have a process, you’ll find yourself chasing every shiny object that comes your way. Without a solid plan, you won’t stay focused and you’ll find yourself spending more time getting prepared than actually prospecting.
Your process doesn’t have to be complicated. Many of the most accomplished salespeople I’ve worked with have a very simple process. As of result of it being simple, they are able to replicate it time after time. They know their process backwards and forwards, so it has become as natural as breathing. There’s no need to complicate things; sales is not complicated. Sales is all about just engaging people, uncovering their needs and then helping solve them. That’s it! There’s no need to create a 34-step process, unless what you want a process that you can use as an excuse when you don’t make your numbers.
There are the 3 traits that I believe you must have to be successful at prospecting. Now, are you ready for the shocker? These same 3 traits apply to anything and everything! When you master these three, you’ll find yourself applying them to whatever activity you need to master and you will do just that, master it. Malcolm Gladwell may have the 10,000 hour rule; I have the rule of “PAP.”
Copyright 2019, 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