In looking at a prospecting model, you should consider prospecting as a marathon and not a sprint. It is something that you do every day and consistency matters more than speed.
To build the right prospecting model for you consider the following questions:
- Where is your market located? You will need to focus in a region to connect with the right people.
- What does a prospect look like? What are the attributes of a prospect that help you choose the right connections to make? Clarity is required.
- What will you do every day as part of personal prospecting for new clients? How will you get the process under way?
- What will you say to prospects and new people when you connect with them for the first time? Why should they listen to you? Simple dialogue development will help you with the connection. The conversation that you create should be about the person you are talking to and not what you’re offering. Questions should form the core of your approach to new clients and contacts.
- Why should the person meet with you? The best canvassing calls focus on the opportunity of a meeting. Your call should be focused on just one thing; to create a meeting where you can connect with the person and get better information. Most new business will come from the trust you can create and the relationship establishment that will be built over time.
- What service or product will be at the centre of the prospecting effort? You cannot confuse the process with too many ideas or statements. When you understand what people need from you, the conversations you create should centre on that topic and requirement.
- What prospecting process will be at the core of your contact and database model? It pays to only use one prospecting system so you can improve in the method and practice what you do.
- When will you start the process and how often will you do it? Regularity is the key to getting results in networking and prospecting.
As you can see, clarity is required to take your prospecting efforts to the market and your location. It is not a random process.
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make in canvassing and networking is in doing too many things and not focusing down on just a few. When you focus you can track and improve the results that you are getting. Practice and self-improvement are key attributes of a good prospecting model.
When it comes to working as a professional salesperson you must have some form of prospecting model you can use every day. Failure to prospect will be the ‘fast track’ to mediocrity in your industry.
So what does a good prospecting model look like? Try some of these things:
- Your prospecting time should be split 50/50 between new contacts and existing contacts.
- Every day you must do your calls and make the contacts for about 2 or 3 hours.
- At the end of the day, try one more prospecting call. It sets the scene for the next day.
- Forget about pitching your services across the telephone. Create conversations where people will talk to you about their needs and interests in your product or service.
- Create meetings from your calls. Meetings allow you to build trust and relevance with the prospect.
- Maintain your database yourself so you can shape its use and application to any leads or information that may be a lead.
- It takes about 3 calls to the same person to get a meeting organised. For this reason you must be diligent in making your calls to new people. When you start building your prospecting model, keep refining it and shaping it for your market conditions.
- Practice your canvassing call dialogue so you can improve your call to meeting ratios.
Top salespeople know how to prospect. They own their system and focus. They keep it going no matter what pressure they are operating under.
When it comes to getting results today in any business and selling environment, it is important that you have a plan designed to help you take the personal steps that are required to get the results that you need.
Most industries and businesses are quite competitive. Many businesses will have a sales team or a sales force that has a primary goal of achieving results. If that team is like most and of average configuration and consistency, less than 10% of the sales force will be high performers.
The fact of the matter is that successful salespeople in high performing teams work to a plan and to a system. They understand what it takes to get the job done. Personal discipline is a very big part of being a top salesperson. Average salespeople struggle with discipline at a personal level. This can be changed but it does take commitment from the individual.
From a salesperson perspective the following numbers are really top priority:
- Prospecting contacts
- New clients
- Repeat business
- Key Accounts
- Sales per customer
- Sales per salesperson
- Sales per week, month, and quarter
A salesperson without a plan is really lost in business focus and will rarely produce any significant results. If your remuneration and income depends upon getting the sales in the door, then you really do need to construct your personal sales system and focus to take you forward. Any year can be your top year as far as sales and income; it is just up to you to develop the focus and the momentum.
Here are some steps below to help you in constructing your sales plan for the coming year.
- Decide what is important to you from a business perspective. Exactly what is it that you require to take your career or your business forward? In most cases it will be a combination of income, client base, market share, conversions, and new business. When you create the business, customer service will also soon be a focus for you in retaining long-term relationships and converting them to key accounts. From a business perspective, key accounts are of high value and will strengthen the goodwill of the business. Ultimately key accounts should be the focus of the entire sales team. A key account client has the right attributes for staying with you as a high value customer producing many sales and return business of significant size.
- Understand the things that you must do each and every day. Many salespeople just let the day evolve rather than work to a plan. This is perhaps one of the biggest problems in professional selling. When you understand how things can take over your diary and your time, your soon know the high value of a plan as part of your business day. The plan and your discipline in keeping to it will help you get results. There is a big difference between ordinary results and high value results. You need the results that will produce high value outcomes for your personal career.
- Know the things that will derail your progress on a regular basis. They will happen and for this reason must be controlled. At least 1/3 your day needs to be under control and deliberately systemized. Inside this 1/3 day you should be controlling the key elements that produce the results that you require. The diary and your discipline go hand in hand. The other 2/3 rds. of the day can be devoted to ordinary things that are of a general business nature.
- Be determined to break through the habit barrier from a business perspective. Habits are the only things that really matter when it comes to attracting sales and getting results. It takes a salesperson about three or four weeks of deliberate hard work to create a new habit in business. Many salespeople are not strong when it comes to discipline and focus. You have a choice, and you can see the problem. Take the right actions.
- Take steps every day to your plan. Small steps will grow your outcomes. It is the repeated steps that will get the momentum up and the client results that you need.
- The way you think impacts the way you act. It is a fact that ‘stinking thinking’ will divert your actions into chaos and dilemma. As a professional salesperson, direct your thinking to the things that really matter and improve your thinking processes so that the right actions occur. It is a very simple formula, but it does take significant personal process and control.
The sales planning process can take you from the average levels of sales to the top of your market very quickly. It all comes down to what you do yourself on a daily basis and how you improve those processes. Create your system and take the required action.