Did you know that more than 40% of salespeople consider prospecting to be the hardest part of the sales process? 40%! The irony is that prospecting is the literal lifeblood of sales.
Or, as Zig Ziglar so aptly put it, prospecting is all about “priming the pump.” You have to prime the pump before you expect to see any sales. “You gotta put something in before you get something out.”
And when you do put something in — consistently every day, week after week, month after month, and year after year — you become an unstoppable force. You become recession-proof and future-proof. And don’t be too surprised if you get head-hunted by the top sales firms in the world.
You have to sharpen your prospecting skills. I simply can’t understate this.
After all, prospecting isn’t just the best way to get leads into your funnel and build pipeline — it’s the only way to get leads into the funnel and pipeline.
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OK – so what does this mean exactly? It means you have to pick up the phones and put in WORK. And you know how they say work smart not hard? I say you must work smart and hard.
You must build high-quality lead lists on your down time. You must qualify and nurture leads. You must strategically enter markets with the right brand positioning going after the right ICP. And you must continually improve your process over time.
So today’s the day to level-up your prospecting game. I’ve highlighted 6 high-octane growth areas for salespeople. When it comes to prospecting — or really any part of the sales process — you have to consider the acronym T.A.T.T.O.O. That’s right, tattoo. Track with me here.
Got it? Great. Now let’s break it down.
T – TIME – You have to spend time prospecting. The more time you spend sowing into these important sales activities, the bigger the harvest you’ll reap. So ask yourself, are you constantly priming the pump? Do you set aside at least an hour a day researching prospects? How many outbound calls are you making every day? How many emails are you sending? And follow-ups?
Another recommendation: prospecting is all about putting yourself out there and making connections. So I highly recommend attending at least one or two industry events or conferences quarterly. Time is your single greatest asset in sales and in life, so use it wisely! The time you spend reaching out and building relationships will pay off in dividends.
A – ATTENTION – You can’t just shoot from the hip in sales. Prospecting requires your time and your full attention. It’s not enough to just spend the time, you have to be intentional about your sales activities, otherwise you risk spinning your wheels and wasting everyone’s time. So each day sit down and, very methodically, lay out your prospecting tasks for the day. Now, prioritize them in a way that frontloads your day with highest-value activities. As the day goes on — and as your energy wanes — you can focus on other less-critical sales activities.
T – TRACKING – If you aren’t tracking and measuring what you’re doing, then you’ll never learn what’s working and what isn’t. To put that positively, when you do track and measure your efforts, you get insider intel that will incrementally guide you to success. Even if you just look at your numbers at the end of the month (more than what most salespeople do!), you’ll know which activities are worth pursuing the following month. And at this cadence, at the end of one year, you’ll have 12 sets of data to draw from. Believe me when I say hardly anybody is doing this — which means there’s a massive gap you can stand to reap the riches.
T – TOOLS – Don’t expect to create a well-oiled prospecting machine with rudimentary tools. Instead, I recommend putting the right tech stack to work for you. This doesn’t mean going all out with custom software that takes weeks to learn. Instead, just put a solid CRM in place, a good auto-dialer, an appointment scheduler like Calendly, a call tracker with recordings, and of course the backbone of every successful prospecting outfit: ZoomInfo, Sales Navigator, and Apollo. Many sales tools these days are AI-driven, but don’t let the buzzword-marketing of these high-tech products dazzle you. Oftentimes, simple tools get the job done with fewer distractions. Whatever you decide on, be sure you’re leveraging sales tools to level-up your prospecting.
O – OFFER – Go to market with a message that’s tailored to your ICP. Sure, your offer matters, but the positioning of your offer matters even more. For instance, if you’re selling management consulting, you have to first identify the industry target, the role or title of your buyer, what their major pain points are, and how to effectively tie the value of your product or service to their needs. In other words, how is your product the elixir needed to cure their disease? Get this dialed in and you’re golden.
O – OUTLAST – Entrepreneur and sales pro Patrick Bet-David talks a lot about outworking and outlasting others. And I wholeheartedly agree with this. It’s easy to quit after a few bad months of sales (or worse, a few good months of sales). But you must dig your heels in the sand and outlast the competition if you desire greatness in your sales career. Ask any millionaire, motivational speaker, professional athlete — or really any high-profile person — and they’ll tell you the number one key to success is hard work, consistently, over time. Likewise, the top performers in sales outlast the wannabes. And in doing so they leave a lasting legacy.
Do whatever it takes to make a habit of prospecting with the strategies and tactics I’ve highlighted above. Those who do so will eat their competition for lunch. And honestly, if sales is all about outreach, connections, and relationship-building, it only follows that salespeople should learn to love it… and MASTER it.
So whether you’re new to the game of sales or a seasoned veteran on the phones, this is your sign to step into the upper-echelon of sales pros. As Zig Ziglar says, “This is the story of America. This is the story of success. This is the story of life.”
Until next time…