Category Archives: Prospecting
Sales Prospecting is rarely anyone’s favorite activity
In my first post — Four Tips for Better Sales Prospecting — I shared some initial thoughts on how to make sales prospecting an integral part of the job as a sales professional. It’s not that sales prospecting is a new concept; it’s clearly at the heart of what everyone in sales should be doing continually. The issue is that it’s rarely anyone’s favorite activity and, as such, tends to fall off the to-do list when other priorities arise. That’s why I’m focusing this post on sharing more sales prospecting tips for even better demand generation.
Expect rejection. This is probably the number one reason to avoid prospecting. Rejection is a frequent outcome, as prospects decline your calls, don’t answer e-mails, or don’t give you a decisive no. Still, prospecting is a numbers game. The more you do it, the higher your chances of getting a hit. The trick is to develop a thick skin, expect attrition, and be prepared for rejection. If prospecting was easy, everyone would do it with no qualms. It’s not easy, as many prospects are resistant to changing their incumbent vendor or trying a new solution. But, if you’re prepared for rejection, it makes less of an impact when it does happen. Practice, practice, practice. Golfing legend Gary Player once said, “The more I practice, the luckier I get.” Think of Tiger Woods in his » Continue Reading.
Sales Prospecting Requires the Will and Skill
Sales Prospecting is at the heart of what every sales professional should be doing continually. It doesn’t matter who you are, your level of experience, or your position within an organization. While it’s great to have leads provided to you by the Marketing organization and to work with existing clients, if you don’t engage in sales prospecting on a regular basis, you will struggle when the need to find new clients arises — as it always does.
Simply put, sales prospecting is a fundamental part of being in sales. Most sales professionals will admit that, yes, it has to be done, but they would probably also admit that prospecting is not their favorite activity. In recognizing its importance to selling success and the tendency to put it off or avoid it altogether, I’ve developed a list of sales prospecting tips and techniques to help make prospecting a more regular and successful part of the job.
Schedule time on your calendar. Put your commitment in writing by blocking out time on your Outlook calendar or whatever other scheduling system that you use. Set aside time each week just for prospecting, and tell yourself you’re not going to do anything else for that period. This will give you a target to aim for, with time set aside to focus on this activity. When you write something down in your calendar, you » Continue Reading.
It’s difficult to secure a meeting, or even get through via phone or email to prospect and sell to the C-suite. I am well aware of the degree of difficulty, as I am one of those targets defending my time against countless sales professionals trying to get in the door. For the past 15 years, I have held C-suite positions with commercial training and education companies. Now, as CEO of Richardson, I am continually struck by how many sales professionals try to sell me solely by virtue of my position.
They might have better luck contacting someone on my team, someone responsible for the particular area of business that aligns with their offerings. But, they start at the top, and because I head an organization focused on helping other organizations improve their sales execution, I feel compelled to share my reflections on what works — and what doesn’t.
Epic fail on homework
The first mistake in prospecting to the C-suite is coming in totally unprepared. Instead of impressing me with their persistence in securing a meeting, some sales professionals demonstrate that they’re lazy sellers. It becomes apparent within the first 30 seconds that they don’t know very much about my business. It’s not hard to figure out that they haven’t done their homework, and they’re dead in the water from the outset.
My argument is that it’s easy to find out not only what my role is, and » Continue Reading.
Do’s and Don’ts of Sales Prospecting
During my 20 years in sales, I’ve seen more than enough examples of best practices, fair practices, and I-can’t-believe-it practices related to sales prospecting. I’ve worked in technology sales, leading high-performance teams, and I’ve been responsible for generating engagement with clients who weren’t actively in partnership with me or my then-employer.
Based on my experience, I’ve developed a short list of things that you should do to be effective in sales prospecting and, conversely, things not to do.
DO: Be disciplined. If you are methodical in using a consistent process over time to contact prospects, you will be more successful with your prospecting. It is as simple as it sounds. Set aside a certain amount of time each week to reach out to prospects, be it an hour a day or a half-day each week. By scheduling the time, you can develop a rhythm that includes pre-call preparation and follow-through dedicated to specific clients.
DO: Leverage your account-planning process. Specifically, use the process to understand two things about each targeted account: 1) What is relevant to that organization? What is happening internally and also within the industry? 2) What messaging can you put together that will resonate with those factors in mind? What this information will give you is a roadmap for how to prepare for your prospecting call.
DON’T: Lead with your product or capabilities. Your opening should focus on » Continue Reading.
Prospecting and networking apps for ATD Trade show and Conference attendees
If you were to time travel back a decade or two, you could revisit attending conferences with reams of promotional paper goods and boxes of business cards in tow. In the pre-tech era the traditional conference protocol was to bring plenty of hard copy materials, and never be caught short. It was better to come prepared with too many business cards than too few. Think about not being able to share your contact information with a person you just met at a conference that you’d love to collaborate with. If you weren’t carrying plenty of business cards, that could be one crucial missed opportunity.
Fast forward to today and how times have changed. Partly due to a more ecologically-minded approach to business and daily life and partly due to convenience, now paper goods have been largely replaced by handheld devices with storage capacities and technological sophistication unimaginable just even a short decade ago.
Has conference clutter been minimized in the modern age? Absolutely! But with tech innovations comes a new challenge: Selectively choosing from the many app options at one’s disposal. The scope of available apps can be dizzying, and dedicated conference attendees should have a streamlined list of what is most beneficial for their respective needs.
With the 2015 ATD International Conference & Exposition in full gear, there is no better time than the present to » Continue Reading.