That’s according to a report by sales strategist Marc Wayshak entitled, “18 Sales Statistics You Need to Know About Right Now.” The report summarizes Wayshak’s study of 400 practicing salespeople. Sales reps like to talk about “crushing it,” but the majority are not crushing it.
To make matters worse, 54 percent of the respondents said it’s harder to get in front of prospects than it was five years ago.
But there was one statistic in Wayshak’s report that particularly stood out, and it explains why less than a quarter of sales reps exceeded their quotas: “66.7 percent of respondents reached out to fewer than 250 prospects in the past year.” Furthermore, only 15 percent reached out to more than 1,000 prospects in the past year.
That’s another piece of evidence in my quest to prove how important prospecting is to your sales success. The majority of today’s sales reps simply are not putting themselves in front of enough prospective clients.
Prospecting is the key. Prospecting has always been the key. It’s the reason 20 percent of sales reps do 80 percent of the business, and why in some companies, 10 percent make 90 percent of the sales. Prospecting separates the great from the good.
If you want to make more money, prospect like your life depends on it. Consider prospecting to be a mindset, a way of life and a fundamental part of your company’s culture. When things are going well and you’re closing so many sales you can hardly keep up, you still need to carve out at least a little time for prospecting.
Turn over every rock and scratch the dirt. Opportunities are often buried layers below the surface. Keep in mind that every person you meet could potentially lead to business and that prospects can theoretically be found any place you go.
In order to make sure you prospect perpetually, block out a couple periods of time each week that are reserved for prospecting activities: telephone calls, personalized direct emails or showing up at prospects’ offices. This time should be a non-negotiable calendar commitment not to be interrupted or rescheduled unless it’s an emergency.
When you reach out to new prospects, talk about things you believe they value instead of talking about you or your company. Research the prospect before contacting them and talk about what they value and then be ready to explain how the outcomes/results of your products and services satisfy those values.
Finally, map out your weekly prospecting plan on Sunday evening or early Monday morning. Decide who you’re going to contact and research those prospects ahead of time. That way, when you get to your dedicated prospecting time, you’re focused on communicating instead of digging through websites and looking up LinkedIn profiles. If you do anything other than communicating during dedicated prospecting time blocks, you’re wasting the prime calling hours.
Ultimately, success or failure in sales comes down to prospecting. If you prospect perpetually and enthusiastically, you’ll likely succeed. If you cheat on prospecting, you will likely fail.