Painful Prospecting by Mark Blezard
For me, prospecting is one of the best parts of sales. Just like a gold prospector, you are looking for nuggets of precious metal that others have missed.
Sure, it can sometimes feel soul-destroying but this is what makes the ‘highs’ so great. Just when you think all is lost – a bite!
In the late 80s, when I started out in sales, prospecting was far less scientific. No internet, no social media, it literally was the phone book or Kompas directories. Today it’s different, and with a myriad ways of connecting with our clients, we need, more than ever, to get creative.
I’ve spoken before about ‘touch-points’ and reinventing these on a weekly basis. This is what creative prospecting is all about. It will improve your bite rate and keep you sharp.
If you are not enjoying prospecting, you’re doing something wrong. You are probably not getting results, which, in turn, will drag you down further and make the whole process even less effective. Perhaps your touch-points are stale or you are digging in the wrong places. Poorly trained sales people keep on banging their heads against the same wall because, inevitably, something will drop at some point. Don’t be a head banger. Stop, stand back and re-evaluate.
The way to do this is to reverse the sale. Start from the end and work back. What are you really selling? Not the physical product but the application – the solution. What are your last 5 clients doing with it? When they shook your hand, what had you helped them resolve?
Think of it this way. If you sell life insurance, you are selling peace of mind for that client, not insurance: a good night’s sleep, safe in the knowledge that their family will be provided for, should the worst happen. This is called the ‘pain point’ and this is what you are really selling – a pill to make this pain go away.
Now that you’ve identified your pain point you need to apply this to your prospecting. Stop looking for leads and dig where similar pain is found. Reference this pain and your pills in your touch-point too.
If this sounds simple, you are missing the point. It requires considerable thought, creativity and determination. Don’t just run with the first solution you come up with. Write it down on a whiteboard and start dissecting it. If you haven’t listed over 20 applications, solutions and pain points, you’re not done.
However, stick at it and a eureka moment will occur. And when it does, you’ll be chomping at the bit to go prospecting again.