There’s a part of me that thinks the movie, Glengarry Glen Ross is one of the worst things to ever happen to salespeople. Alec Baldwin’s excellent portrayal of the narcissistic real estate salesman, Blake has two of the most powerful and memorable lines regarding sales ever uttered on film, “A.B.C.: Always Be Closing,” and “Coffee is for Closers!”
Well, I don’t believe either of those is accurate. I would suggest: ABP: Always Be Prospecting!
In many organizations the top salesperson is not the best closer—nor is it the person that works the longest hours or churns through the most potential customers. It’s been my experience that the truly successful salespeople—the true superstars are the ones who have mastered the art of prospecting.
This does not mean the person who prospects the MOST, rather the one who prospects the BEST. In order to improve your prospecting skills, you need to have a prospecting plan—you can’t just leave it to chance. Prospecting has to be something that you schedule and do regularly—not just to stay in practice and keep your skills sharp, but to also keep that proverbial pipeline full. If you’re not selling something today, it’s because you weren’t prospecting in the past.
So, let’s look at a few tips that will help you with your prospecting efforts and in turn, grow your sales.
HAVE A PLAN: First, as stated earlier—you must plan to prospect. I suggest carving out a set time each day or each week for nothing but prospecting. Eliminate all distractions and focus on nothing but your potential customers. Whether you are doing this in person or over the phone, it needs to be the only thing on your mind.
BE PREPARED: The next thing you need to do is to be prepared to prospect. When it’s time to work, have your prospect list ready. Don’t waste time fumbling around looking for someone to call on. If you are working via the telephone, this is your time to be “Dialing For Dolllars”. Make the most of it. Whether you’re working from a call list or are “knocking on doors”, be prepared. This is a great place to have a predetermined “script” or “bullet points” to work from.
KNOW WHAT YOU WANT TO ACCOMPLISH: Are you trying to set get on a prospect’s calendar? Are you trying to get information into the hands of potential buyers? Know what your goal is before you start. You will greatly increase your chance of success. Think about this one. The answer is not always obvious.
HAVE FUN: Don’t stress yourself out over “cold calls” or “warm calls” or “lukewarm, cool calls”. Have fun. Smile. Get out there and enjoy the process of introducing yourself to new people. Understand that not every one of them is going to be in the same great mood you are, but that’s OK. You just keep smiling and dialing.
MAKE IT A LEARNING EXPERIENCE: Every time you prospect, make it a point to improve. Make it a point to learn something. Keep your eyes and ears open—learning experiences are everywhere and as long as you continue to improve your skills, you’re always making strides. The greatest salespeople in the world continue to learn every day and they continue to be at the top of their professions and industries. Shouldn’t you be at the top of yours?
Question: How often do you set aside time to just prospect? What are some tips you can offer others?