In the ever-evolving world of sales, one fundamental truth remains constant: people cannot buy from you if they don’t know you, period. It’s the very foundation upon which your success in sales is built. If you have a remarkable product or service and you’re actively engaging in prospecting, success is not a distant dream, it’s a tangible reality. However, if you find yourself struggling to achieve your sales targets, there are usually two primary culprits: either your product isn’t as great as you think (which is relatively rare) or you’re facing challenges in the art of prospecting. In this Sales Coaching article we’ll explore what you can do get over your prospecting obstacles by adjusting your mindset.
Admitting that prospecting might be your Achilles heel is the first step towards turning things around. It’s the acknowledgment that can propel you toward a more successful sales journey. The next step involves understanding the underlying reasons behind your prospecting struggles, which often boil down to two significant factors: confidence and competence.
In the realm of prospecting, there are only two types of mindsets: positive and negative, and your mindset plays a pivotal role in determining your results.
When salespeople hear the word prospecting, it often evokes a sense of dread. The truth is a vast majority of sales professionals struggle with prospecting. It’s the one thing that has the power to resolve virtually every sales challenge, yet it’s often the very last thing that salespeople want to do. In many cases, prospecting is the most despised part of the sales process, akin to what we like to call the ‘salesperson’s kryptonite’.
Let’s clarify what we mean by prospecting. It’s not about mechanically connecting with 50 people a day on LinkedIn or sending generic, uninspiring prospecting emails that garner little to no response. True prospecting is about two-way engagement and your ability to elicit a verbal response from a potential customer, indicating their interest in engaging in a conversation with you.
In the early 1990s, the primary tool for prospecting was the telephone. When email emerged in the mid-90s, it was hailed as a boon for salespeople who struggled to master the art of the phone. Many had an aversion to hearing the word no. With email, they could craft a message, hit send and hope for a response. What they cherished most was the absence of direct rejection. In the world of email, rejection was a silent ‘no’ response.
However, we maintain a firm belief that a salesperson’s ability to prospect effectively over the phone equips them to utilise all other prospecting tools more efficiently.
So, what’s the cause of the reluctance to pick up the phone? It starts with the supposed experts who have been preaching for years that cold calling is obsolete, that the phone is ineffective and that people won’t engage with you. These messages have been music to the ears of many salespeople, reinforcing their avoidance of the phone.
But here’s a hard truth based on decades of sales experience and working with numerous companies: we have yet to encounter a top-performing sales professional who relies solely on emails or LinkedIn. On the other hand, we’ve met several sales gurus who blend telephone prospecting with email, LinkedIn, social media and referrals to achieve outstanding results.
In the world of sales, prospecting is the lifeblood that fuels success. It requires a mindset shift – from dreading it to embracing it as the essential path to your goals. The key to unlocking your potential in prospecting lies in mastering the art of the telephone and believing in its power. The world may change, but the importance of effective prospecting remains steadfast in the realm of sales.
“Sales are contingent upon the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.” – W. Clement Stone