But have you ever stopped to ask yourself WHY you prospect? What’s the purpose of prospecting?
The first answer that comes to mind might be “To get more business!”
Nope. That answer is way to broad.
There is one specific reason, and one reason only, that we prospect: to schedule live interactive meetings. That’s it. Prospecting efforts are successful when they lead to live interactive meetings. Those meetings can be in person, over the telephone or via a virtual platform such as Zoom. The chosen communication channel is irrelevant. The key is for meetings to be live, interactive conversations.
As a disclaimer, if your product or service is low-value and transactional in nature, especially if it’s a B2C offering, then this might not apply to you. But if you’re a B2B seller, or someone who sells high-value, consultative B2C items, then prospecting is all about getting meetings. Meetings are your chance to shine. Meetings are when you can ask discovery questions and demonstrate how you can provide valuable offerings the prospective client wants and needs.
Once you land a meeting, different selling techniques kick in, and you exercise different selling skills. But when prospecting, all you need to focus on is getting the first meeting.
That’s kind of liberating if you think about it. Most sales professionals suffer from at least some level of call reluctance. Prospecting is a grind, and fraught with rejection, so sales pros procrastinate doing it. But if you remind yourself that all you have to do is land a meeting – as opposed to calling someone and completing a deal in one fell swoop – it takes away a lot of unnecessary, self-imposed pressure.
The definition of prospecting is “the art of interrupting someone’s day when they don’t expect to hear from you in order to provide them with something they need that they might not yet know.” The purpose is “get a meeting.” Everything in sales is easier once a cold prospect decides he or she is willing to give you some of their time, the world’s most precious resource.
Keep in mind, that it is now taking eight or more attempts, on average, to successfully schedule a live interactive meeting with a senior decision maker who doesn’t know you. That means you must be diligent, resilient and disciplined. You must make multiple prospecting outreaches, typically using a variety of communication channels over a period of time. We call this your “prospecting cadence.”
Prospecting is the reason why sales reps are normally paid partly or entirely by commission. Prospecting is the reason why sales reps have no ceiling to their income. It’s hard to find people who are willing to prospect and are good at doing it. Not enough people are disciplined enough to prospect, and too many people build it up in their minds as something worse that it really is.