If Only Life Were as Easy as Prospecting
You have many things to do with your time. In fact, you probably have more ongoing projects and responsibilities than you have time and motivation for, which means you work on things that are most urgent, rather than the ones that are most important to your long-term well-being. These can include exercise, continuous education, and yes — even sales prospecting.
As important as you know it is to find fresh leads and keep the sales pipeline full, it takes a lot of attempts to reach your target contact. In fact, the average connection rate is 12 percent and it takes nine to 11 attempts to get a contact to call you back. With stats like that, you need a disciplined approach to prospecting.
The challenge, of course, is that most sales reps don’t like discipline or prospecting. But, here’s an easy tactic that you can employ to get past that: Have your sales reps set aside just one day a week.
Here is how it works:
First, set aside one day per week per rep for prospecting. This might be the hardest part of the process, since it’s going to feel unnatural at first, and there will be many other issues clamoring for your sales reps’ attention. However, unless the office is burning down behind you, put them aside for the day.
What you’ll get in return is eight or nine uninterrupted hours per sales rep devoted to generating new leads and sales opportunities.
Honor the time you have set. Do not give in to the temptation to schedule over it when business feels too busy. Encourage reps to seclude themselves from interruptions and focus on prospecting.
Then spend some of this time cold calling, networking and email prospecting. Sellers love networking events because they get face-to-face with potential prospects, but while networking might give you good leads, it often doesn’t produce the volume you need to hit your revenue goals. The answer? Once a month have reps who want to network use a portion of their prospecting time to do so, then reserve the rest for phone calls and email prospecting.
Coach your sales reps to always have a list of prospects they want to call or follow up with. They may have met prospects at a networking event, gotten their names from a trade show, or simply have a list pulled from Netprospex or Data.com. Or, your marketing team may have built a list you want the sales team to follow up on.
On the prospecting day, sales reps call and email prospects their your lists. Over time, you will find these contacts add a steady flow of fresh, new opportunities to your pipeline and expand your customer base.
Contact lost prospects! I often wish there was a way to calculate the value of the missed opportunities that got away, never be followed up on again. Sellers are sometimes hesitant to reconnect with potential customers who did not bite, but they can be a massive source of future income.
Think about it this way: How long did you spend deliberating on your last major purchase? And would you necessarily make the same decision next time?
Your lost prospects are the same way. Things change. Sometimes projects do not go as expected. Their businesses evolve and grow.
Unless your sales rep burned the bridge by being rude or unprofessional with a lost prospect, this could be a hidden goldmine for you. Encourage your sales reps to follow up with these contacts at least every six months.
Unfortunately, trying to cram all of your exercise into a single day won’t have the results you want. When it comes to prospecting, however, blocking off one day a week will have the sales results you’re searching for.