Keep Your Prospecting Muscles in Shape!
The other day I was visiting with one of my neighbors for the first time in a couple of years. We live in an area where we wave to each other a lot, but don't seem to talk much. As the conversation continued we started talking about how our respective companies were doing. He owns a chemical blending company with about 50 employees that is doing quite well.
I explained that our sales consulting and training business was doing pretty well also, and then he asked me the universal question I always seem to get. Do you know of anyone who is a good sales manager I can hire?
It seems as if a lot of smaller companies need a good sales manager. I wish we could manufacture sales managers, we would make a fortune.
As we talked further he said that he was looking for someone who can expand their markets and grow their business with new customers. That of course set off an alarm in my brain, because that means Prospecting.
At this point I mentioned that what he needs is not so much a sales manager as someone who can prospect effectively. He chuckled slightly said I was right and then said "I have forgotten how to Prospect."
Now here is a man who started this company himself. At the beginning he was the head of production, operations, and sales. He did everything including prospecting so well that the business has grown to where it is today in just about 12 years. Yet he claims to have forgotten how to Prospect.
My response was that he probably hasn't forgotten how, his prospecting skills have simply atrophied. He agreed.
One of the biggest problems all of us face is the danger of success. We go out, grow a territory or market with hard work and lots of Prospecting. Then as we are reaping the benefits of all that effort we begin to discontinue the very things that brought us that success.
And the first thing virtually all sales people stop doing is Prospecting. Primarily because it is the one aspect of sales that exposes us to the most amount of rejection. Yet it is also the one area that can bring us the most reward. So the "risk" to Prospecting is matched and often surpassed by the "rewards." That is a great risks to reward ration - sure beats the lottery.
So how do we maintain a balance in our sales lives? Good question. With our BLITZ CALL® System for prospecting, for example, we suggest that you decide on a specific number of prospecting calls to make per week . Then simply make that number. We emphasize that you should not be concerned about what happens on each call. But you must make that number of calls.
We suggest you decide how many Prospecting calls to make, by using our method of Statistical "Prospecting" Control (S"P"C). Here is how to do just that.
First, decide how many new customers you want in the next 12 months.
Second, determine how many people you have to call on right now to get that number of new customers taking into account your sales skills, product line, markets, and so on.
Finally, take that number and divide it by 40. 40 is the number of weeks most sales people are actually selling in a year.
The answer is the number of calls you need to make per week.
For example, let's say I want 40 new customers this year and my current closing rate is 20%, that is for every new customer I have to call on 5 Prospects. So in order to get 40 new customers, I will need to get 200 new Prospects.
Divide 200 by 40 and that tells me I have to make 5 Prospecting calls a week. Now that is pretty easy for any field sales professional.
Pretty simple. If you do this you won't have the up and down cycles so many people run into in sales. Keeping a constant flow of new prospects in your pipeline makes life a lot easier. Also, as you get better and better at Prospecting, you will have to make fewer and fewer Prospecting calls.
When you have an effective prospecting skill, don't let it atrophy simply because your business grows and you don't want to Prospect any more - times change. Now you know how to keep your prospecting muscles in shape
Sell Well and Often
© Copyright 2006 WJ Truax
Bill Truax is a Sales Management and Field Operations Consultant living in Cleveland, Oh. He conducts Sales Team Assessments, Management and Leadership programs, and works with Field Sales Professionals and Managers both in the field and in workshops. He has written 3 books and recorded 2 CD's on Prospecting and Making Cold Calls and conducts a variety of skill based seminars, workshops, and train the trainer programs. Bill has spent literally thousands of hours in the field making cold calls with sales professionals to teach his BLITZ CALL System. When Bill is in the field he actually makes many of the BLITZ CALLs himself, regardless of the industry. This is to demonstrate that anyone can prospect you just need to know how. Bill writes a Free weekly Prospecting Succes Tip for subscribers at his website http://www.BlitzCall.com The site also details all the materials and programs Trufield offers.