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Prospecting - Make it a Habit

  • August 6, 2019
  • Written by Community Futures Meridian

Most of us put off the things we least like doing, that’s just human nature. But if you own a business, the one thing you can’t ignore is generating new leads and prospecting. You’ve probably heard of the sales funnel, or sales hopper – that thing we’re supposed to fill with leads? If you haven’t, now would be a good time to do an internet search and become acquainted with the concept. Basically, the more leads you put into the funnel the more prospects you will get and the more sales you will have – simple math.

Often companies become a little blasé about their businesses and feel they have enough customers and don’t see a big need for prospecting. The problem with this thinking is that customers leave, or find their way to competitors, or even close down. Attrition is inevitable, so constantly generating new leads is vital to the long-term security of your company.

So, how can you get over a reticence to prospect, whether yours, or your salespeople’s? Here are a few tips that should help you start filling that sales funnel.

  • Make time for lead generation – specifically set one hour a day for prospecting; every day without fail. If you are freaking out that you don’t have time, try 20-minutes. Some time is better than none, but you have to do it every day. If daily is a problem, set aside a morning or an afternoon once a week. When, is not the issue commitment is!
  • Set a target number of contacts weekly and never do less. You will not be rewarded for good intentions, only results.
  • Prepare a database of contacts before you start calling. Preparation is the key to good prospecting and it’s easy to waste the time you have set aside, playing with paper rather than actually making calls.
  • Keep calls short – the objective is to get an appointment not start making a sales pitch that could lose you the chance of a face-to-face meeting.
  • Ensure your staff and colleagues know you are not to be disturbed during prospecting time. If you are using a landline, turn your cell phone to vibrate, or better still turn it off completely so you can focus.
  • Think about the best time to call leads. If you have a long commute, perhaps you could input all the numbers you need to call into your hands-free device and call them while your driving? Of course, you will have to memorize your calendar, so you know when to book all those appointments you are going to arrange. Think about the best time for calling in your day and fit in extra calls when you are having to wait for something like having your car repaired, or you are several minutes early for an appointment.
  • Vary the time of day, and day of the week you call people. People start and leave work at various times. Often, calling before or after normal office hours can bring results.
  • Track all your calls and note the time of call and what occurred. Where necessary, schedule callbacks. It is important to be strict about calling back; did you know it takes an average of eight calls before you reach a contact? Patience and perseverance are the name of the game when generating leads and prospecting.
  • As with sales, lead generation and prospecting are all about the numbers. Figure out how many prospects you want to reach out to and note how many of these prospects turn into customers. Once you know that ratio, you will know how many calls you need to make every month to achieve the number of new customers you desire.
  • Remember, one sale does not necessarily mean a long-term customer. Follow-up is important and don’t forget to ask for referrals; new customers can be a great source of new lead generation.

In business we often have to buckle down and do the hard stuff, and prospecting is hard work; the thing is the more you do it the easier and more productive it becomes. Keep your sales funnel full and watch your company grow.

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