There are a certain number of rules that must be followed when it comes to prospecting in sales.
These include, but are not limited to, making the commitment to get out of the cold calling business, identifying who you will ask for introductions and referrals each week, ensuring exactly how you will evaluate your success, and creating a pre-call plan for every single call and/or face-to-face meeting.
Some people say that rules were made to be broken. You might want to think twice about breaking some of these rules for prospecting.
The most successful salespeople I know are always challenging the ideas and methods of those that have succeeded before them, but 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.
Here are some rules to help you prospect and prosper:
- Play in your sandbox. Make sure you have a profile of who you need to be in front of. Call on the people and businesses where you have expertise, and can leverage that, along with your experience.
- If you are dependent on making cold calls, make the commitment to get out of the cold calling business. You will schedule appointments and make sales cold calling but the acquisition cost per sale is much higher than with referrals and introductions. Not to mention the sales process is generally longer.
- Look at your schedule each week and identify who you will ask for introductions and referrals. It could be face to face meetings, networking events or a meeting with a center of influence. Have a process for asking that makes it easy for people to help you. Bring your list of top 10 prospects to every meeting and ask them who they know on the list that would take a call from you? Better yet, make use of LinkedIn and look through their connections for people and businesses that look like your target prospect.
- How will you evaluate your success? Make sure to set objectives whether it is with a success formula or a commitment to specific behaviors and then TRACK IT!
- Have a telephone approach that when calling for appointments helps you sound like someone they want to speak with. What is your unique selling approach? What problems do you fix and why do people meet with you? It must be compelling.
- Do a pre-call plan for every call, on the phone or face to face, to help you stay on track. Know what questions you will ask, what questions you need answered and the tough questions they will ask along with how you will respond.
- Don’t quit, be persistent! Rejection is part of the process. It’s not falling down it’s staying down that defeats us all.