Many people are afraid of cold calling. But interrupting your prospects day is a fundamental building block of a robust sales pipeline. If you don't reach out, you won't get leads. The more you prospect, the luckier you get. Top sales professionals spend 80% of their time on prospecting and qualifying.
Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy. - Dale Carnegie
That said, it's important to adopt a balanced methodology to prospecting. You'll end up using multiple tactics - cold calling, social selling, email, thought leadership, etc.
Seven Mindsets of Fanatical Prospectors
- Have a winning, optimistic mindset.
- Fierce competitor.
- Approach prospeting with confidence.
- High need for achievement - relentless.
- Thirsty for knowledge - always trying to get better.
- Systematic and efficient.
- Adaptive and flexible.
The Universal Laws of Sales
- Law of need. The more you need something, the less likey you are to get it. You become desperate. Which magnifies failure.
- The 30 day rule. The prospecting you do in this 30 day period will pay off for the next 90 days. Miss a day and it will bite you some time in the next 90 days.
- The Law of Replacement. You must constantly be pushing new opportunities into your pipeline so you're replacing the opportunities that naturally fall out. And you have to do so at a rate that matches or exceeds your closing ratio.
The Importance of Knowing Your Ratios
Elite athletes know their stats. You should do the same. Specifically you want to monitor your efficiency (how much activity you generate in the time allotted) and the effectiveness (is your activity working.)
If you make 100 calls, you might be efficient. But unless you know your ratio of calls to appointments, and appointments to proposals, and proposals to deals, you don't know if what you're doing is working.
Time is Your Most Important Asset
Organize your day into distinct blocks dedicated to specific activities. Make calls, then update your CRM. Minimize drive time. Delegate nonessential and non-selling tasks.
Your most important tasks are prospecting, qualifying, information gathering, presenting, and closing. Don't let anything get in the way of those activities.
If you invest an hour a day to make 25-50 prospecting calls, in less than 60 days your pipeline will be packed. But only if you remove distractions. Have your call lists ready. Already have your research. Take notes and enter them into the CRM later. Don't open email. Etc.
The Four Objectives of Prospecting
- Set an appointment.
- Gather information and qualify.
- Close a sale.
- Build familiarity.
If you're selling a complex, high risk or high cost product or servie your primary objective will most often be to get an appointment with a qualified decision maker or stakeholder. If it's low price point or transactional, you will be likely trying to close the sale.
It's only an appointment when you have a firm commitment for a specific meeting time.
Sales pros are super disciplined in qualifying prospects. A small % will be totally qualified and in the buying window. A larger % will be qualified - you know the decision maker, key influencers, size of business, budget, competitors - but won't be in the buying window. Larger still will be semi-qualified. And larger still are potential buyers but unqualified. You want to spend your time with the most qualified prospects.
You want to have a profile of a qualified prospect, including the optimal time to engage them prior to the opening of a buying window.
Building familiarity is underrated. It takes 20-50 touches to engage a cold prospect who's never heard of you. Each time you leave a voice mail they hear your name and company name. Same with email, LinkedIn, etc.