Prospecting doesn’t have to be painful. In fact, it can be painless, but only if you know what NOT to do. For starters, here are six common prospecting mistakes to avoid if you want to amp up your sales numbers.
#1 – Believing everyone is a prospect
“Everyone” is not a target prospect. Not everyone needs or can afford what you have to offer and that’s okay! When you waste your time on “suspects” (what we call people who can’t or won’t buy), you’re wasting time better spent with solid prospects.
#2 – Trying to sell, book an appointment or speak to a decision maker before value is established
The key word here is VALUE. If you’ve not established the value of what you have to offer, you’re what we call “A SOLUTION IN SEARCH OF A PROBLEM.” If someone has no idea who you are or what you do, why would they allocate any part of their busy schedule – even 15 minutes – to listening to you?
#3 – Booking weak appointments or chasing weak leads and hoping to persuade them to buy
Have you ever felt “If I can just get in front of them, I can convince them to become a customer?” So have a lot of other sales people. It doesn’t work and it’s a waste of everybody’s time.
#4 – Telling instead of asking, or not knowing the right kinds of questions to ask
Have you ever met someone at a networking event and had to listen to his or her sales pitch as soon as you shook their hand? That’s what we call “telling.” It’s pushy and most people will naturally resist and pull away. This is the biggest problem in sales – the typical sales method is “tell and sell.” We’re trying to SAY something that has them PAY attention to us.
Instead, ask questions. We use the rhyme “When you tell, they resist. When you ask, they assist.” NOTE: Most of the rejection and resistance we get with regards to prospecting comes from being in TELL Mode.
#5 – Creative avoidance or confusing activity with productivity
Ever feel too busy to do business development? After all, you have to get organized, do your “research,” update your contact list, check your email, and on and on. In reality, what you’re doing is what we call “creative avoidance.”
#6 – Loss of momentum
Have you ever said, “Sales are cyclical” as a way to explain the peaks and valleys of your sales numbers? We don’t believe sales has to be cyclical at all. The problem? There are times of the year where people go into vacation mode. For example, it’s summer so decisions get delayed. In November and December, it’s holiday mode. Momentum is lost, only because the team doesn’t have a system to stay top-of-mind with those distracted prospects.
Did you see your own misguided attempts at prospecting in any of these mistakes? Avoid these missteps so you’re not wasting time when you could be making solid steps toward more sales.