Prospecting is Why Top Sales Professionals Earn the Big Bucks
If you want to sell more and exceed your quota consistently adopt these 3 keys to increasing your sales pipeline with prospecting.
Rainmakers are those salespeople who are adept at prospecting and bringing in new business. Yet there are many salespeople hoping that they will be handed a pile of hot leads that are ready to buy on a silver platter. Maybe that happened 20 years ago but not in today’s sales environment.
In modern sales, to be successful you must prospect, period! There is no other way to reach the top of the ranking report and maximize your earnings.
To be successful with prospecting begin with these three keys:
Get Focused and Dedicate the Time
The lifeblood of any sales professional’s career is their pipeline, and the most adept among them know that consistently fueling this pipeline requires a significant investment of time. On average, successful sales professionals earmark between 4-10 hours each week purely for prospecting activities, and in the high-octane environments of certain sales sectors, that number can readily climb to 20 hours or more.
This dedicated time isn’t spent on just one type of prospecting activity. It encompasses a diverse array of strategic efforts, from conducting in-depth research on potential clients to uncovering the nuanced needs and pain points of their businesses, to attending industry events where a handshake can lead to a sales opportunity. They understand the importance of being where their prospects are, both in the digital realm and in the physical world.
But merely “doing the time” isn’t enough; it’s about maximizing the effectiveness of that time. Top sales professionals treat prospecting as both an art and a science. They employ a mix of personalized communication, leveraging social media platforms to research and connect with prospects, and the judicious use of CRM systems to track and optimize their activities. They approach each prospect with a tailored strategy, understanding that the right message delivered to the right person at the right time can dramatically increase the odds of success.
In the end, it’s this deliberate, disciplined approach to prospecting—balancing quantity with quality, and embracing both traditional and modern tactics—that separates the top-tier sales professionals from the rest. They don’t just do the time—they invest it, they strategize it, and most importantly, they make it count.
Leverage Cold Calling
Cold calling is a prospecting method that tends to be unjustly ostracized, especially by salespeople who find its challenges too daunting. It’s a notorious battlefield, filled with potential for rejection and discomfort, as you’re often seen as an unwelcome intruder into a prospect’s busy day.
It’s akin to an unexpected knock on your door when you’re in the middle of dinner. Your first instinct is defensive: Who is this uninvited guest, and what do they want? That’s the uphill battle facing the cold caller – you’re on the outside looking in, trying to gain entry into the prospect’s world.
The inherent aversion to cold calling stems from the fear of this resistance, and the personal rejection that seems to follow it. Nobody enjoys being the bearer of interruption, or worse, the harbinger of annoyance. This rejection is not necessarily a judgment on the quality of the product or service offered, but rather a knee-jerk reaction to the unsolicited approach.
Yet, if we peel back the layers of this interaction, we understand that these calls are, more often than not, not personal in nature. They are a business proposition, an introduction, and an opportunity. The challenge is breaking through the defensive barriers that prospects naturally put up. The key lies in understanding that you’re not just selling a product or a service; you’re offering a potential solution to a problem they may not even realize they have.
To overcome the initial resistance, it’s crucial to do your homework. A successful cold call begins long before the phone is ever picked up. It starts with meticulous research, understanding the prospect’s industry, their company culture, and even the individual’s role within the organization. It’s about crafting a tailored message that speaks to their specific needs, pains, and goals.
Once you’re on the call, it’s imperative to shift the narrative from an unsolicited pitch to a consultative conversation. It’s about listening more than talking, asking insightful questions, and building a connection. This approach pivots the conversation from an intrusion to a potential source of value. By demonstrating genuine interest in the prospect’s challenges and offering expertise, you can slowly start to shift their perception.
Top earning sales professionals have mastered the art of cold calling and so can you. But it is a test of perseverance, empathy, and strategy. With each dial, you’ll hone your skills, thicken your skin, and improve your approach.
Set an Intention
When you prospect, your intent counts more than technique.
The key point is that your “intent” is not to make a friend or a sale over the phone. How often have you called a prospect and the first words out of your mouth are “how are you doing today”? You don’t know them well enough to ask that!
What if they say something disastrous? You’re not calling to find out about their personal life, you’re trying to get an appointment—period. To get an appointment, you need to quickly convey that you have something they can benefit from. In order to capture their attention you can focus on the following:
Do your homework – show them you have knowledge of their company or industry by citing a key issue or trend.
Align your message by telling the prospect what problems you solve and mention a company in their industry that has been successful with your solution.
Ask thoughtful questions that uncover issues they might be having today. Go beyond the overused, “what keeps you up at night” if you want this conversation to continue. Then listen. Your demonstrated understanding of their answers will increase the likelihood of a face to face meeting.
For you to be successful in prospecting you need to start with the right frame of mind. Get focused and dedicate the time, understand cold-calling and then set a solid intention on behalf of your prospect. The more you focus on their goals, the more likely it is that your solutions will meet their need.