"It's Prospecting Jim, But Not As We Know it"

Unfortunately a huge amount of time and energy is wasted during the prospecting phase of the sales process. Too many eager sellers are boldly going where many have gone before them, randomly smiling and dialing. Do you really think clients are sitting by the telephone excitedly waiting for calls from salespeople just to hear them pitch their products or services? As great as you are, as wonderful as your products or services are, as fantastic as your company is there’s not one person sitting there waiting for you to call them. They’re not going to pick up the phone and say “OH, thank god you called. It's such a huge relief to hear your voice!”

It's just not happening. No wonder increasingly frustrated clients are so resistant to taking calls from a constant barrage of poorly prepared salespeople desperately searching for more dollars to make their quota. They don’t care about you, that you have a quota to meet, what you have to sell or your company and they’re not interested in hearing how great you are.

But they are worried about a lot of stuff. They do care about a wide range of business issues and challenges facing their company and most importantly they are interested to speak with people who understand those issues and can help to overcome them. Could that person be you? Could you hold the solution to their problems? You'll never know if you don't get out of your own way.

Less Nonsense. More Sales.

The Prioritise Tool from FranklinCovey's award-winning sales performance program - Helping Clients Succeed: Filling Your Pipeline - is a tool designed to help you do just that. It helps sales leaders and teams use their time and resources more effectively by rank ordering potential clients using pre-determined criteria that indicate which ones are most likely to become customers. Start prioritising your contact strategy today with this awesome tool. Download your copy here.

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Use Reason. Not Random.

Do yourself a favour by taking the time to prioritise your contact strategy. If you’re not prioritising your workflow, if you’re not preparing your messaging, if you’re not planning everything out before you engage in the dialogue you’re not ready to do so effectively and you’re making your life, and that of your client, much more difficult. Most of all you need a compelling business “reason” for calling a potential client, and that’s going to require you to do a bit more work before you even think about picking up that phone.

Let's get real, making “random” keeping your fingers crossed hoping you’ll find that needle in a haystack opportunity calls is a complete waste of your time, and more importantly its complete waste of your potential client’s time. Your task isn't to make as many calls to as many people as you can, quite the opposite in fact. What if you could make more sales, by making fewer higher quality calls, to fewer better qualified people? 

Salespeople have an expression: they talk about their “two-hundred-pound telephone.” What they mean by this is that sometimes it feels really, really hard to pick up the phone and make that sales call.
— Bob Burg and John David Mann, Go-Givers Sell More

To start seeing a greater return from your prospecting efforts, you need to decide which potential clients you should be talking to, and which one's you shouldn't. To do this right you need to have a very clear understanding of all of the potential reasons you have to talk with them. Write down on a piece of paper, white board or use your iPad/laptop all of the possible reasons that mean you should be talking to a potential client. For example, you may have done really good work with similar companies in the past, you may have an existing contact or referral, or there has been some kind of trigger event at the company. These examples may make sense, but you’ll no doubt have a long list of other reasons that are relevant to your particular situation. List them all.

Once you’ve completed that exercise, from your completed list select the top five most important reasons why you would choose to make contact with one client versus another. Add those five criteria to the spaces provided at the top of the Prioritise Tool in forced ranking order, i.e. give the criterion you think is the most important the highest ranking and so on until you’ve filled in each of the five spaces.

Now it’s time to add your potential clients in the spaces on the left side of the tool and to rate each one based on the criteria you’ve set for yourself. Multiply the ratings by the weight and add up the totals to determine the top scoring clients.

What you do next is pretty obvious isn't it - invest your valuable time and energy in the potential clients that have the highest likelihood of becoming new clients based on the sound business reasons you've set yourself. No more random smiling and dialing for you!

Believe it or not, clients actually do want to talk to salespeople about the solutions that can help them to address the key business issues they’re facing. Sadly those high value conversations are few and far between, especially during the initial prospecting stages of the interaction. Be the exception and you’ll see an immediate return on your investment.

Getting all this right can be challenging but don’t worry, help is at hand. The Prioritise Tool is one of the many tools we share in the transformational prospecting approach - Helping Clients Succeed: Filling Your Pipeline.

Designed to guarantee a clear and significant return on investment. From start to finish, participants work on current deals while tracking and reporting their progress. You and your sales team can become significantly better at filling your pipeline with top quality opportunities that close as you apply the mindsets, skillsets, and toolsets of the worlds top performers over the course of our unique 12-week program.

Please contact Ian J Lowe via ian@eccoh.co for a more detailed discussion.

Image Credit: STAR TREK, CBS Studios