The Best Practices of Prospecting

When you think about your effort to find new business opportunities, where does it begin?  For most it starts with a phone call or e-mail, not feeling too confident in their ability to connect and have a meaningful conversation.

Hello, this is Walt Gerano with Anthony Cole Training Group and welcome to this week’s Sales Brew on the best practices of prospecting.

The first stage of prospecting whether it be for gold, oil or new business is territory analysis. You wouldn’t just start drilling holes in the earth to find oil without some geological information, so why start calling without making sure you have a process that identifies qualified prospects first, and then decide how you will contact them.

The most successful salespeople I know are always challenging ideas, but they don’t challenge the notion of the importance of making prospecting the A priority every week. They know that no matter how successful they are today, if they don’t continue to add new relationships eventually their business will decline.

Here are some of the top ideas from many of the people I coach.

  1. Play in your sandbox.  Have a profile of who you need to be in front of.  Call on the people and businesses where you can leverage your expertise and problem-solving skills.
  1. Build a success formula and track your results.  It will tell you where you need to adjust your efforts.
  1. Use some type of contact management software (CRM) to keep track of prospects, what stage they are in the sales process and tasks to be completed.Don’t get caught failing to follow up with someone.
  1. If you are still making cold calls make a 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.
  1. 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 5 prospects to every meeting and ask them who they know on the list that would take a call from you?
  1. Have a solid telephone process when calling for appointments.What is your value proposition?  What problems do you fix and why will people want to meet with you.  It must be compelling.
  1. 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 be ready for the tough questions they will ask.
  1. Invite “A” prospects to join you on LinkedIn and then tag them in contacts so you can send articles, news items and invites to events.
  1. Utilize all types of marketing.Make sure that A & B prospects hear from you regularly, be a resource for them.
  1. Don’t quit! Rejection is part of the process.  Everyone falls down, it’s staying down that defeats us all.

These things done well require daily attention and a lot of time, but I wonder where better to spend it?


From Sales Development Expert, Walt Gerano


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