You're not alone if you find sales prospecting to be the most challenging aspect of your work. This is the most challenging part of the sales process, according to more than 40% of salespeople.
Salespeople love to ask about the sales techniques that they can use to be more successful. But prospecting is not just about using the right sales technique. It is more about the daily habits they have to repeat over and over again to achieve the goal.
You’ll notice some powerful trends in the most successful salespeople when it comes to daily habits. And what’s more interesting is that other salespeople don’t follow these habits, missing out on the opportunity to be better at their job.
It might take years to master sales prospecting skills. But you can accelerate your prospecting success by forming a few basic habits. Let’s get right into it!
One can only worry about what one can control. Top performers are really good at focusing only on what they have control over.
You often come across salespeople who keep saying all the time how the economy’s down or the products are just not where we need them to be or the operations are falling apart and what not. The latest addition is the COVID situation, which none of us saw coming.
Top performers do not give the control away and rather focus on the work they are supposed to do. They only focus on prospecting, activities related to it, and reaching out to prospects. That’s the successful prospector mindset who are never worried about all other stuff outside their control.
This is arguably one of the biggest differences between top performers and everyone else. Successful prospectors are only doing work that makes them money. They are not bothered at all about the operations and are not doing tons of paperwork.
They dedicate a certain time to prospecting and do not spend all of their time entering information into the CRM. Instead, they are just doing the work that turns prospects into opportunities. What makes them money is finding ways to get more prospects, getting in front of them, spending time with them, and putting together proposals.
They try to get as far away as possible from everything else. Successful prospectors politely decline all other work not making them money. Good salespeople are selfish at times.
However, it is important for the leadership as well hiring the right people, creating the right work culture, providing appropriate incentives, and empowering the salespeople to get the best out of them.
This is a huge distinction that very few people fully grasp, which is good sales rep focus on what their pipeline looks like today and not on what today’s sales numbers are. So, successful prospectors are really good at constantly adding opportunities into their pipeline.
Of course, they want to be closing sales and they want to be making sure that they are closing those meetings to get their work done. But, ultimately the key focus is on the pipeline.
For example, if they are in a six-month sales process or cycle, what they are adding onto their pipelines today is not going to turn into sales for about six months. So, it is important to understand that the priority is adding more opportunities to the top and bringing them through the pipeline.
So, they do not exactly dwell on the question - “Hey, what are my sales numbers today or what it was last week?” They believe in what they are actually doing today to make sure they are going to be closing sales down the road.
They don’t care at all if they are losing now but they are winning late. Successful prospectors are willing to take risks and they are willing to let go of some opportunities to have the big ones.
They are not afraid of losing it all because they know they are capable of winning it back. Think of the best athlete right there taking the greatest risks.
Successful prospectors are not worried about losing an opportunity because it gives so much more strength when they are face-to-face with a prospect in a meeting.
The average sales rep, when they are in a meeting they are nervous about the one thing, what if this doesn’t work out. But the successful prospectors think in a certain way where they want it to work out but they do not need it to work out. It takes so much stress out of their day-to-day life and the interactions they have with prospects.
And the confidence to have a resilience mindset comes from the fact that they know how to rebuild and work on the next thing without making a big fuss about it.
With technologies like Zoom, WebEx, Google Meet, and much more it’s natural to feel like losing steam. You are face-to-face in a video which is much better than phone calls. The data is very clear on that if you can get someone on a zoom meeting it yields better results than a phone call.
But for successful prospectors, meeting someone face-to-face is more effective. They are more consistent about getting face-to-face with their prospects. They are spending time on site and getting to know prospects.
Successful prospectors are positioning themselves to become truly trusted advisors or consultants. The best sales rep know their prospects and clients better than anyone else.
Most of the salespeople as soon as they identify a problem or challenge their prospect has, immediately jump to the solution. They sound so salesy when they keep on emphasizing their solution and how they can get the prospect’s problem covered.
This is a key distinction between the sales rep who sounds desperate to sell and the successful prospector who takes time to understand.
Successful prospectors try to understand their prospects and show them why they care about solving the problem in the first place. They go deep both with the prospects and with clients to really understand them in a way no one else does.
Once they reach that point of truly understanding prospects on a level that competitors don’t, they start owning the relationship. It goes beyond the price at that phase and prospects can’t just leave you.
They become the consultant prospect can rely on and become successful at their attempts.
Think about LinkedIn. One of the core principles of founding LinkedIn was creating a platform where people can leverage relationships to grow their business.
Successful prospectors leverage their existing relationships to create a network of relationships. They have a good relationship with vendors, suppliers, and everyone that is in their business network. This helps them to get more introduction of other prospects.
This is a proven way to work better than cold calls. Because the close rate on a good set-up introduction is 50 times that of a cold calling.
Successful prospectors are really good at making any conversation a two-way dialogue. When they are presenting something before a prospect, they don’t make it a monologue. Instead, they try to get feedback by asking questions.
What they are doing in getting this type of feedback is twofold. One is to keep them engaged and making them part of the conversation and getting actual feedback. This helps them to cater to what prospects are looking for and even if it takes them to skip few slides, they don’t mind.
The data says 60% of prospects say no four times before saying yes, but 48% of salespeople never make a follow-up attempt. This is where successful prospectors are staying ahead of others and making a difference.
Salespeople have more knowledge than ever before, and failing to use it to prospect is a big waste of time. Successful prospectors make the most of every resource they have at their disposal.
Reps that thrive in prospecting incorporate technology into every stage of their routine, whether it's knowing your CRM and marketing automation systems inside and out, using LinkedIn, Google Alerts, or other online tools.
Many of the successful B2B sales prospectors concentrate their efforts on a few specific industries. They gain a rich collection of information about industry-specific pain problems by focusing on a small number of sectors.
It also allows them to learn how to translate their value propositions into industry-specific terms. A prospector's reputation is strengthened by extensive industry expertise. It also communicates to prospects that they are educated salespeople and not doing a sales call job.
They are always on the lookout for new statistics, case studies, and other resources that might help them establish their authority.
While everyone else is throwing sticks on the world to see what sticks, successful prospectors follow a plan and make sure to implement it. It not just only keep them on track but also helps to measure their success.
Whether it’s a territory plan or a prospecting strategy they work closely with inside sales rep and marketing team. The research on building buyer’s persona, how to email effectively and they do not forget to run A/B test of subject lines.
Undoubtedly successful prospectors have formed some habits which make them top performers. But, to do that they need support from the sales organization. The habits we have mentioned above need to be practiced regularly. Repeating the same work every day manually is boring and makes the sales rep less productive.
It gets overwhelming for them when they have to take care of every detail of the sales prospecting process. So, companies should make the best use of sales automating tools and assist the sales prospector in heavy lifting.
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