The most successful salespeople are always challenging and adapting their personal sales process to be more effective and increase sales. However, they don’t challenge the notion of the importance of making prospecting their "A" priority every week.
They know that no matter how successful they are, if they don’t continue to add new relationships, that eventually, their business will decline. If you really want to increase sales this year, you MUST block off time every week for prospecting new clients.
As we think about all of the things as sales professionals that we're supposed to do, it really comes down to three things that actually get us paid:
- Find Opportunities
- Qualify prospects
- Get a decision
I want to focus on the first thing we get paid to do and that's to find opportunities. There are many ways we can find opportunities—cold calls, drop-ins, direct marketing, social selling (LinkedIn and Twitter), getting introductions, etc.
Although there are many ways we can prospect, some provide a higher return on the biggest investment we can make, and that’s our time. In a previous blog, I tried to debunk the “time management” problem. It isn’t a time management problem, it’s a priority management problem.
As we focus on prospecting, the least return on our investment is cold calling. For all the time you invest in cold calling, the actual return (speaking to a decision-maker) is extremely low. We know it’s a necessary evil, but not a permanent problem. On the other hand, it is a proven fact, the highest return on our prospecting time is in getting introductions.
So here is what I would like you to consider:Time blocking
- Do you have time set aside each week to prospect? If you don’t, you would be well-served to block time to prospect
Allocate your time within the time block you’ve scheduled
- If you have allocated an hour a day, my recommendation would be:
- If you have allocated 15 minutes to cold call, you should be able to get 15 calls in within that time. If you call 15, you will probably speak with two people. How long does it take to NOT talk to 13 people? You can make a lot of calls in 15 minutes if you are focused.
- 15 minutes for social selling to find introductions—maybe not sell, but find introduction opportunities.
- LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Blogging—whichever you are allowed to do within your work rules, do it on a regular basis.
- 30 minutes on getting introductions
- Calling people and saying “I’m looking to expand my base of contacts” Or “I’m looking to meet great people such as yourself, when can we get together to determine if we can help each other?”
- Identify your 15 best clients and make it a goal to get three introductions from each of them. How much success would you have with 45 new names to call?
This is just a rough outline on what you can do but the big takeaways are this:
- Prioritize prospecting—make it a significant part of your week.
- Prioritize how you are prospecting—get introductions—it will provide the highest return on your time invested.
Someone needs what you do, so go find them and start prospecting today to find more of them!