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Stage 1: Proper Prospecting


Stage 1: Proper Prospecting

Take a minute to ask yourself, “What do I hate when a salesperson cold calls me?” Answers vary, but you will probably notice that many items show up, including:

  • “I hate being interrupted.”
  • “They sound so fake.”
  • “They act like they know me.”
  • “They presume to know what I need.”
  • “They act like used car guys that push and force me to stay on the phone or meet with them.”

Any of these sound familiar? I just taught a two-hour prospecting class, and I was surprised that the class took away the following two insights after answering the above question:

  1. This list of things we hate are exactly what prospects hate when we contact them. In other words, it only takes about two to seven seconds before the prospect realizes it is a sales call and their defensive systems are at full alert. From this point forward, they typically try to be nice, but also get rid of you. We all have a reaction to being sold, as do our prospects.
  2. There are a few reasons salespeople avoid prospecting, including:
    1. They don’t know how to avoid the prospect’s defenses. It is tough and deflating to overcome these problems.
    2. They themselves know they sound like the people they hate to get calls from.
    3. They don’t believe prospecting works because they don’t buy from salespeople or they don’t take sales calls when being prospected.

Sales is a tough job in the best of cases, but the art and science of proper prospecting makes life easier for a sales professional.

What to do differently:

  • Be UNPREDICTABLE. The reason you can tell you’re on a sales call in just a few seconds is because your instincts and programming raise red flags when you hear predictable things like, “How are you today?” or “Mr. Jones” or “I’m with ABC Company.”
  • DON’T SQUEAK. When people are nervous during prospecting calls, they tend to raise the pitch of their voice or they use a “radio announcer” voice.
  • HAVE PURPOSE. If you are calling someone, have a purpose and a reason why you are calling that is specific to that person.
  • BELIEVE! Know that it’s acceptable to interrupt this person because your purpose is so worthwhile that they will think so too.
  • Be COMPELLING! I believe the fastest way to compel someone, is to make it about them. Make everything you do about them, be objective and don’t be attached.
  • Be HUMAN! Get rid of perfection, slick moves and complex language that you think makes you look good. One of my clients that has an amazing set ratio actually stutters. He is human.
  • Be INVITED! Don’t push your way in; rather get your prospect to invite you over. This won’t make sense unless you go back to the above rules: have purpose, believe and be compelling. A good prospecting call has the prospect HOST you to the next stage of the sales process.

Everything we do as sales professionals should be moving the prospect forward in the sales process. Resistance in the process is most commonly cause by the salesperson because he looks, talks and smells like a salesperson instead of a consultant, professional or a partner.

Posted by Mike Toney / Posted on 12 Oct
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