Building Good Prospecting Habits

Filed Under (OP Sales Training, Tele-Sales) by Don on 21-03-2007

If you have spent enough time in sales you know that in order to build your base you have to be very proactive at prospecting, otherwise known as lead generation.  Let’s take a moment and review some industry statistics.

  • It takes an average of 6 calls before the prospect buys

  • 80% of New Account Sales occur after the 5th call

  • 48% quit after the 1st call

  • 25% quit after the 2nd call

  • Only 10% make more than 3 calls

I sincerely hope you do not fall within the 73% of people who quit after two calls.  If you’re reluctant about making cold calls then get out of the business.  You are wasting your time.  It takes time to build the relationships and if you cannot be persistent then you need to develop some new, more productive habits.  The worst time to attempt a first call is Monday morning.  Business makers and decision makers are not very receptive to hearing from sales professionals they do not know first thing on Monday morning!  Spend your time wisely by placing follow-up calls or preparing your call list or area strategy for the week and/or mailing Thank You notes or some other information that will be of value (i.e. interesting) to your prospects.

The best time to make first contact is when you are at your best.  If you’re a morning person you will be at your peak performance level then.  This is when your comfort and confidence level will be demonstrated in your calls.  This isn’t to say that you only make calls on your “good day”.  What it means is that if you produce your best work first thing in the mornings then this is when you should concentrate on making your highest quality first contact calls.  If you are a slow starter and don’t really get moving until after lunch then make your first contact calls then and concentrate your early morning efforts to account follow-up calls.  First call prospecting is the most stressful part of sales and you should always schedule those calls when you are at your best!  Do not attempt these calls when you are tired, stressed out, burned out, or hungry.  Nor should you use these reasons to avoid prospecting for leads.  You cannot achieve your sales and prospecting goals by making excuses!

If you are calling previous customers your success rates will be higher since the customer has done business with you or the company previously.  Your selling ratios are typically forty times higher when calling on former customers.  Reviving old accounts will require you to first investigate the reason why they stopped doing business with you, so ask questions when you speak to the decision maker.  Once that is determined you will know what needs to be done to bring them back.  The business may have gone through a personnel change, had a bad experience, or perhaps felt they didn’t receive enough personal service.  Answer their objections with compassion and let them know that you care about their needs and will make every effort on their behalf to make things right.  Again, build rapport and develop the relationship.

Don’t inflate your personal expectations.  Set attainable goals and strive to reach or exceed them every day.  Persistence is critical when making these prospecting calls and the more information you glean the better prepared you will be when you arrive for your first appointment.  Always be prepared, don’t insult your prospect or their valuable time by not being adequately informed and/or prepared.  Network yourself aggressively; there are many networking opportunities in most markets.  There are other reps that may offer products or services that your prospect may be in need of.  By positioning yourself as a problem solver and solutions provider you create value and therefore your prospect sees the advantage in partnering with you.  You always want to sell your “Value Principle” before you try to sell your product.  Lastly, be unique and set yourself apart from the other sales reps.  You are a unique individual, one of a kind.  Be or do something different that makes you stand out from the crowd.  I don’t mean do stupid tricks or say something provocative.  Just dare to be different.    Be Smart.  Be creative.

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