Everything you want in life is reachable only if you start prospecting like your life depends on it.
Look, some people claim how well they can speak but what does it matter if there’s no one to listen?
Most people that want to speak to audiences are not willing to do what it takes to get the audience.
It doesn’t matter how good your product or service is if you want to sell and make money—you must first find people to sell to…and this always involves sales prospecting!
You could be the greatest salesperson in the world that even knows the greatest sales secret of all-time, you could know how to SUPERFREAK a demonstration, handle all objections like a closing ninja, have hundreds and hundreds of closes in your arsenal ready to use on the spot, but what good is any of that if you have no one to use them on?
You need to prospect.
I wasn’t always as well-known as I am today.
I had to knock on thousands of cold doors just to get people to even know me when I started my first business.
That is the main purpose of prospecting—to get people to know about you.
Your problem is obscurity.
People need to think of your name and your company first when they have a need for what you offer.
By prospecting, you can create your own economy.
If you are dependent on others, or walk-in traffic, then you will be at the mercy of factors that you have no control over.
Here are some sales prospecting tips I know you will find useful today:
#1 Start thinking about how you can SERVE everyone around you.
You are meeting someone for the first time and they ask you what you do. When you respond that you’re in sales, they immediately hesitate and become a bit guarded. The truth is the greatest salespeople hardly even consider themselves to be salespeople.
They think of themselves as people who are there to serve the customer. A customer is coming to you because they have a problem. There is something that isn’t working right that they need it fixed and they have come to you because they hope your product or service will solve their problem.
Often times though, a customer hasn’t diagnosed or even knows about the proper solution to their own problem. That’s why you as the salesperson are there.
You are there to serve. Look around you. Everyone has problems. So, start serving!
#2 Find a way to get in front of people.
Are your prospective clients involved in charities, community organizations, or the boards of other companies? While the general rule is to avoid politics in business, it can be a great way to get in front of the hard-to-reach decision maker.
For years, I had been trying to get in front of a potential client I knew would be perfect for my products. Instead of directly presenting my product as I had been trying to do all that time, I focused on helping him get his favorite local candidate re-elected.
When I called this client, I told his assistant I was calling for her boss because I was passionate about getting the candidate he supported re-elected. She immediately put the prospect on the phone and soon we were having lunch together.
Without ever having to bring up my product, he asked me how I could help his company.
While I was not successful at getting his candidate re-elected, I did get his business and helped his company reach new targets. Today he is not just my client, but a great friend.
#3 Always get referrals.
Once when I was in Louisiana with a client, I showed him a list of about ten people I was having trouble getting in front of. I asked him: “Do you know any of them and can you help me with them?”
My customer quickly scanned the list and offered to call two of the names on it. He immediately achieved two appointments for me that I couldn’t pull off for two weeks.
Every time you make a sale, get referrals. Even when you don’t make a sale, ask for them.
There are 4 actions that people take with any prospect and only one of them works
- None—they simply don’t lift a finger to do anything.
- Retreat—they actually see a customer in the store and decide to retreat.
- Average amount of action—doing whatever is expected of the people around you.
- Massive amounts of activity—the only way that works.
Action is the middle finger to doubt. If you are ever in doubt, take action. Of the 4 levels, the most dangerous is the 3rd level—average amount of action.
The guy that does nothing or retreats is not as dangerous as the guy who only operates at normal levels. Why? He actually believes he is doing something.
They believe they are doing something based on what others do.
Most people are losing in the marketplace.
In prospecting, you must begin to think in massive amounts.
You want to be omnipresent and have people looking for you.
You want people talking about you. You need blogs, videos, and people promoting you. If you do prospecting right you can command a higher price for your service or product and give yourself confidence.
What happens when you don’t see anyone for 2 or 3 days? Your confidence drops.
That’s why you need cutting-edge prospecting strategies to obtain and develop leads to ensure you can grow your business in any economy, but before you can get to the advanced stuff, you have to learn and understand the basics of prospecting.
This skill will make you an invaluable asset to your company.
What Sales Prospecting Is
The word prospecting comes from Latin, prospectus, which means a distant view out into the distance. To prospect has 4 different meanings:
- Something expected, a possibility.
- Chances and financial expectations.
- Potential client or customer purchases.
- Location of minerals.
Looking for minerals where there is an actual deposit—the gold miner, silver miner, oil miner—these guys are out prospecting for a hole to discover whatever valuable thing they are after.
People, sales, opportunities, attention, minerals, girls, it’s all prospecting…
- If you want the right spouse, you have to go prospecting.
- If you want more clients and more money you have to go out and prospect.
- If you’re going to find the minerals, you have to prospect.
The definition of prospecting is creating a potential customer or client for your product or service. I’m selling me every day.
Some people think that’s wrong but I want people to know me. Without attention, they won’t buy my product or service.
Your prospecting only will improve when you take your pipeline and go big and fill it up.
Prospecting is important because if people don’t know who you are, it doesn’t matter what your price is, how good your product is, how good your service is, none of it matters if people aren’t thinking about you.
You have to not just have clients, but quality clients. And you can’t just have quality clients, but quality clients in the right numbers.
This is where people fail.
Businesses fail not because they run out of money, they fail because they couldn’t produce enough prospects for their business quick enough that would fund their activities.
The number one reason a salesperson or a business fails is the inability to find qualified, ready, willing, and able to buy people.
You could be the greatest salesperson with the greatest product with the greatest location, but without people talking about you, coming to see you, reaching for you, you’re dead.
You have to confront this prospecting thing. That means cold calling.
If the company drives opportunities to the store and you just sit there and wait on people, you become dependent—a slave—to the company. When you generate your own traffic and bring people in asking for you, the company becomes dependent on you.
Isn’t that what you want? Do you want to be dependent on them, or you want them dependent on you?
I know I would want the company I work for to be dependent on me, to value me more than the money they give me.
How can you do that? One way. Generate your own traffic.
You cannot be successful without prospecting.
Most salespeople never embrace prospecting but the wealthiest people have gigantic pipelines. A contact only becomes a contract when an R is added, and the R stands for relationship. Your job is to create the relationships.
Whether you sell a product or a service, you are in the people business.
You need traffic and opportunities, people talking about you, people coming to see you and people for you to go see.
The Prospecting Formula
I’m not talking about having just a good attitude. The attitude that’s required of you is one of gathering, not just hunting.
When you go duck hunting, someone has to put the duck decoys out. At this point, you may not even need a shotgun. You have to get things set up so you can actually bring a bird in.
Have an attitude of community and service. That’s the energy you need—just letting people know you exist.
“I’m Grant, I exist down the street.” See, I’m not trying to sell someone, I want to try and provide help and get out of obscurity—which is the biggest problem you have. They don’t know you, so they won’t be giving you money.
People don’t know about your product or service because they don’t know you exist on this planet. Attention is the attitude here.
The old saying “Don’t be interesting, be interested” is false—you have to be interesting. If you’re not interesting, nobody will know you exist.
Once they know you exist, then you can be interested.
The goal is for you to be so interesting that you come out of obscurity, get their attention and they become so impressed by you that they comment.
Once you are out of obscurity and have his attention, then you can have his priority. With an attitude of “how can I help, serve, educate, give and support?” you will come to the front of their mind.
If they are a business, how can you get them more clients or more fans? If it’s an individual you need to find that point of service, that pivotal point where it’s give, give, give.
75% of the time I’m in business, I’m providing the public something at no cost.
Not all work is always paid.
You won’t get super rich if you have the attitude that if you’re not paid, you aren’t doing it.
I only get paid about 25% of the time. For me, the other 75% is an investment. I’m busy doing free meetings, servicing the community, posting videos online and much, much more.
I don’t get paid to tweet, but I get paid for attention. If you want a big fat pipeline, big fat checks and money coming in from different sources, attention and attitude are king. You have to have your head right. Give, give, give, not get, get, get.
Attitude and activity are completely different things.
Attitude is how I’m going to approach somebody while activity level is how much push.
Most people hate prospecting, do you know why? Because they never do enough of it.
You prospect once or twice, giving away a business card, and nothing is going to happen.
Most people don’t like work because they don’t work enough.
You only work enough for it to feel like work. I work so much it feels like prosperity.
Marriages fail because people don’t invest enough energy, creativity and time. The marriage wasn’t failing when it was just a dating relationship.
That’s when couples create and grow—activity level is way high. Then after some years in marriage, the activity level starts to drop and, sooner or later, the divorce comes.
Activity level always goes back to the four levels of action: doing nothing, retreat, average and massive action.
You need massive amounts of outflow in your life. If you’re worried it’s going to exhaust you, think how exhausting it is to stay poor.
From personal experience I can promise you, I’ve been poor and I’ve been on the other side, and it takes as much energy to stay poor as it does to get rich. It’s work either way.
What level of activity are you operating at right now? Never depend on one activity—not one phone call, not one email, and not one letter.
Depend on massive, because it’s the only way to play the game and the only way to expect to win. Start thinking in 10’s. Instead of thinking about going after a business, go after 10 businesses. Create 10 mailers for each of them, then make 10 visits, 10 emails, and 10 phone calls.
Never do anything in 1’s
Think about beating something to death. Pound it relentlessly.
You weren’t taught to work, at school you were taught to sit in a chair and listen.
You want your own economy and to take care of your family? Plan on beating it to death.
All things in life that are powerful have repeated actions. From sports to rap music, to movies, repeated actions over years brings massive results. If you’re not 10Xing, you’re just another guy.
Right Attitude + Right Activity Level = Full Pipeline
Remember you want—and need—to create and fill up a pipeline. Your expectation in this is of investment, not return.
It’s activity out, not activity in.
It’s like farming and planting seeds for next season.
You aren’t going to eat what you plant today.
This isn’t like fishing or hunting, where I catch or kill and eat the same day. You aren’t going to get rich without an investment attitude, and you won’t get rich without the right level of activity.
In prospecting your expectation should be to expect rejection, losses, and people not being interested in you.
Your expectations should be set correctly for the marketplace.
Expect “I’m not interested, get out of here, I don’t have time”, expect disappointment, no return phone calls—that’s what you need to set your expectations for.
Keep making the investment despite what you’re going to hear. This is not get rich quick, but this is get rich. There is a harvest, but only after lots of investing.
This means you need to prospect every day. Anything worth doing once is worth doing every day.
I’m not talking about every other day—I’m talking about every day.
You need a big, major, monster commitment.
As you build legs and muscle, it’s going to get easier and easier with your persistence and tenacity. I’ve built an entire business around making one call: the cold call.
Cold calls can be brutal but that business I built is still in business today.
These weren’t inbound calls. I went calling people and even knocked on doors for weeks at a time. I treated this prospecting thing as the only way I could start my business.
What I’m telling you is that I made a full commitment to it. It didn’t matter how painful it was, I was committed.
Go all in with your energy and creativity because there is no shortage of it. Make prospecting the senior activity, the first one you do each day. If you sold someone today, great—but what was your prospecting?
Don’t seek balance, make this a priority.
Once you commit to prospecting it’s vital that your expectations be correctly set so you won’t be disappointed. A man once told me I needed to not have expectations and then I’d be happy. That’s crazy.
The people who really make it have monster expectations. They align their expectations correctly so they can do the right amount of activity so they aren’t disappointed.
Rather than not having expectations, you need more expectations.
When you go to work you need to know what is expected of you. Not expecting much is not a solution to your problems.
Expect a lot and be sure they are based on the activity level necessary to push that return.
Hiring an assistant is a way to create more time. A call center is a way to create time. Direct mail is a way to create time. Your problem is that you don’t want to spend money.
You think that money is more valuable than time.
The successful guy knows that if he can just multiply himself, he’ll be more successful. If you can multiply your time, you’ll have more money.
Time is money. By hiring an assistant, I buy time. I get a maid to clean up the house, I bought time.
I get someone to make my lunch, I bought time.
Direct mail campaigns to 10,000 people, I just bought time.
Buy time to get more done.
I use a CRM for follow up to buy me time. You have the same hour I have, I just get more done. If you don’t make a commitment to doing your prospecting first, then you’ll find something else to do with your time.
I don’t manage time, I cram as much as I can into it. I’m not looking for balance. I’m looking to cram extraordinary results in restricted periods of time. This forces me to decide what to do that’s most important.
If you are missing quota or your potential, it’s a prospecting issue—you aren’t spending enough time prospecting.
When you come up short, it’s always because of a limited pipeline.
You aren’t replacing sold customers with new possibilities.
You are too busy doing the comfortable things, like organizing and planning.
If you spend 14 hours a day working the way you should, the way I do, you’d probably figure out that you need someone else to do your filing and organizing.
The opportunities to create a big pipeline should be your senior activity. Spend even just 25 percent of your day on prospecting and it won’t hurt you, I promise.
Here are tricks I use with prospecting to collapse time, to push and cram activities in:
- When I make a phone call, I never hang up, I just hit the hold button quickly and dial another number. Why waste time putting the phone down and picking it back up? I move into the next call a little quicker each time.
- I always leave a message. Don’t waste time calling if you won’t even leave a quick message.
- When I visit a place, I always look to meet multiple people. Never go somewhere and just meet one person. Give your card out to everyone, not just decision makers.
- Never go to just one place. If I go to visit one business, I’ll visit a business nearby. Don’t drive across town just to see one place.
- I never waste time going anywhere, doing anything, without prospecting. Incorporate prospecting into everything you do.
Who Do You Call?
In addition to cold calling, you can increase your prospecting list to greater heights with the following:
#1 The Warm Call
These are the people you are familiar with. You know them, you know them by name, and you feel good about them. Call them up and see if they might need your product or service. At the very least, you can ask them if they know anybody who would be interested.
#2 Sold Customers
This can be warm or cold, anyone and everyone you’ve ever sold before. If you’re new to the company it might be a short list, and if you’ve been there awhile it should be long. You might have to use a spreadsheet or a CRM. Don’t spend too much time organizing and planning. Just make a hit list, regardless of how long ago they bought or even what they bought, and just make a list.
Then think about past employers you used to work for and the people you sold to there. Maybe you worked in a completely different field but had a great client. They should go on your sold list. You can fill in the details with emails and phone numbers later, just get names.
#3 Converting the Unsold
You’ve waited on them but were unable to sell. Make a list, a file for everyone you’ve touched but not sold. Start with yesterday—who didn’t you sell? How about last month? Last year? Get your attention on all the prospects out there. There are so many people you can be talking to. Opportunity is everywhere. Figure out who they are, where they are, and how you can get in contact with them.
#4 Currently Doing Business with
I can’t believe how few people go and get money from people who they give money to. Make a list of people you do business with. They are obligated to you.
The laundry mat where you get your clothes cleaned, the bank you have, the mortgage broker that did the loan on your house, the real estate agent that sold the house to you, your life insurance agent, car insurance agent, your stock broker, your grocery bagger, your UPS guy, the guy that did your kitchen—all these are just a short list of the potential people you do business with. Pull out a credit card statement and look at where you are already spending money. These are people you do business with. Call the CEO of these businesses and tell them how good of a client you are.
#5 Businesses Using Your Products
The next list you need to make are people using your product but haven’t bought from you. Take businesses within a 10-mile radius of your company, and anyone who can have a use for your product. These are all potential customers for you.
#6 Lost or Unsold Customers of the Company
I want you to hunt the unicorns. Build a file of all the big deals that your company at one point had attention on years ago but never closed them. Somebody gave up on that file long ago even though they had invested a lot of energy into trying to make it work. Sit down with your management team and get a list of all the people who your company has failed to close. They are still prospects.
#7 Power Base
These are friends, family, and past relationships. This is a little different than warm call, because this might be an uncle that you haven’t seen in 3,5, or 10 years. You need to make a list of your power base.
It’s very simple. Who’s in your power base? Number one is your family. Think about you and then the people closest to you. First, immediate family, then extended family, next are friends—anyone who you consider a friend now, yesterday, or 3 months ago. Neighbors would be next. Who are your immediate neighbors? Maybe even past neighbors. Then your community, who’s in it? The PTA, your kid’s school, your church, who belongs to that thing you called community?
#8 Service Type
You want to take your tiny quarter inch hose pipeline and blow it up to be a fire hose. Who is doing service with you? Who comes to you saying this or that doesn’t work, or that they don’t know how something works?
Some of these people will have bought from you, but some will be people who haven’t bought from you. Maybe you sell watches and a guy comes in for a new band. You should be showing him a new watch as well. They are using your company for repair, customer service, problems, and questions.
How many of these people do you meet each day? If you’re not hearing from these people directly, sit with the “service” manager and ask to get the list of everybody who has ever come in for repairs, warranty work, questions, and problems. This could be a big list. Salespeople overlook this. They think they are selling people coming to buy, but missing everyone who comes for service.
You need to connect up with your service department and work to get lists and contacts generating so you don’t miss future sale opportunities.
#9 Competitions Customers
Go after your competition. Make a list of your competition and who their best customers are. You want to grab market share from them. Once you make a list of your top competitors, who are they doing business with? If you have to buy a list, then buy a list. Who are the decision makers on that list, who do you know that can help you get in those places? Start targeting your competition now.
#10 Orphan Owners
Do you know what an orphan owner is? They are owners without a mommy or daddy. You are now the mommy and daddy. You are going to orphan the owner and adopt them, and take care of them.
People who have been sold in your company but nobody is servicing that file any longer—for example if you work at a law firm you have clients who you did business for years ago and nobody is taking care of them today. They aren’t getting contacted, no birthday cards, nothing. You are the new orphan parent. Try and get a list of everyone who has ever done business in your company that no longer has a representative taking care of them.
#11 Social Media
This is a giant prospecting machine where billions of people are sitting in a funnel waiting for you to get their attention. Back in my younger days I couldn’t imagine a tool like this—places like LinkedIn and Facebook are a great gift for all who know how to use it because it will bring you massive amounts of potential leads and new revenue.
These are just some of the ways you can begin prospecting and building a giant list today.
There is great opportunity out there for those willing to put in the work.
Remember, it’s the prospector that eventually finds the gold.
The revenue may not come immediately, but keep digging and you’ll hit pay dirt sooner or later.
I’m a numbers guy. I want lots of leads
I tried building my business on strength. You cannot build a business just on being strong because you can’t duplicate or scale out strength.
There’s only one Hercules, one Superman, and one Batman.
They release the superheroes once a summer. There’s a limited number of them. So, you’re not going to scale out and build your business on the backs of heroes.
You’re going to be building out your business on the backs of people that can just get a little stronger. The strongest salespeople that I know don’t even look like salespeople. They’re just consistent, just right down the middle.
The best golfers I know, right down the middle. They’re not the long balls. They’re not the big, strong closers. They’re not the noisy, loud guys like me. They’re right down the middle time after time.
Get consistent and you can get great.
If you don’t have always you end up with nevers
- Always text in combination with a voice message. Text messaging can increase sales conversion by 328%.
- Always follow up a voicemail with an email.
- Always talk to someone, so after you leave your voice message call back and talk to someone else within the company.
- Always, always, always, I don’t care if you have to go down to the guy in shipping, talk to somebody at that company.
In a firm with 100 – 500 employees, an average of 7 people are involved in most buying decisions.
The goal obviously is to talk to the decision maker but speak with the gatekeepers and influencers in the organization.
With the Gate Keeper—the person that controls access to something—be respectful, send a thank you note, leave a message, and treat the gatekeeper like the buyer.
This is how you go prospecting.
Prospect consistently and you’ll grow your business.
Be sure and check out my Business Builder Certification that includes my complete prospecting program to grow sales fast!
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