Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Prospecting?Are You Putting Too Much Pressure on Your Prospecting?
Prospecting for new customers can be easy or difficult. As I've written in my book and in dozens of articles, working at it consistently, providing value to prospects and having a little fun can go a long way. But even with that said, I often find that salespeople unintentionally make lead generation harder than it has to be.
July 11, 2012
handshakeProspecting for new customers can be easy or difficult. As I’ve written in my book and in dozens of articles, working at it consistently, providing value to prospects and having a little fun can go a long way. But even with that said, I often find that salespeople unintentionally make lead generation harder than it has to be. I’m not talking about techniques they use to find new clients, but the mindset they take into the process.
Simply put, many salespeople and their managers put too much pressure on their calls, e-mails and other prospecting activities.
They do this by judging the success of their prospecting activity on the number of appointments they generate. Obviously, this makes a great deal of sense on a certain level, since appointments typically lead to sales, and that’s how most of us are evaluated – whether in the eyes of a sales manager or the success of our own company.
What is easily forgotten, however, is that there are a lot of different things that can happen between an appointment and a flat-out rejection, and, in fact, some of them might not be things we can even notice at the time. In other words, there are things you can do to bring yourself closer to a future sale that don’t necessarily involve setting an appointment.
For instance, suppose you send an e-mail to a top prospect, and although that person doesn’t agree to meet with you, he or she does look at one of your articles or white papers. It might seem like you’ve come up short of your goal, but what if you created a better impression in the prospect’s mind? What if that person agreea to meet with you in the future, partially as a result of those steps you took today? Taking the long view can help you realize that setbacks aren’t necessarily the same as a failure.
I think more salespeople and business owners should view prospecting and lead generation in the right context: Your job is to start forming relationships with potential buyers. While it’s certainly nice to have them agree to meet with you the first time you communicate, it’s not an absolute necessity for you to consider the call or e-mail a success.
Holding on to that mindset can change not only the way you feel about your prospecting, but also the results you get from it. Why? Because 10 hours spent cold calling, for example, could easily yield only 12 contacts and two actual appointments. Those numbers can seem pretty bleak when you view them on their own. But when you stop to think that each of those dozen prospects is now that much closer to doing business with you, and that many more could be more receptive to hearing from you in the future, you realize that your hard work is going to pay off sooner or later. That attitude, in turn, can help you bring the right amount of energy to task.
Prospecting can seem really unrewarding, if you’re using the wrong set of measurements to weigh your progress. Setting appointments always will be important, but I would encourage salespeople and their managers to look past the obvious when it comes to using the telephone or e-mail for lead generation. There’s plenty of pressure to go around for any professional salesperson; learn to see your prospecting in the right way, and you’ll find more new opportunities than disheartening percentages.
If you’re focused on prospecting in your organization, join me for a free webinar July 18, 19 or 24 on Maximizing Social Media for Prospecting. We’ll look at how change up cold calls and prospecting e-mails with social media data and leave plenty of time for Q&A! Register to attend — it’s free.
Kendra Lee is a top IT Seller, Prospect Attraction Expert and author of the award winning book “Selling Against the Goal” and president of KLA Group. Specializing in the IT industry, KLA Group works with companies to break in and exceed revenue objectives in the Small and Midmarket Business (SMB) segment.
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