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    10 Best Practices for Prospecting

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    Prospecting can be tough. We can do hard things. Let me give you 10 best practices that if you put them into play, I guarantee it will up your game.

        1. Schedule regular time
          You’re never going to be successful prospecting unless you schedule–and honor–regular prospecting time. Qualified customers don’t just fall into our laps.

          Too many times, people wish they could be better at prospecting, but they’re not willing to put the time in to do it.

          We make the time for the things that are important to us. Is making your number (or success way beyond that) important to you? Then make the time to prospect.
        2. Measure CFT
          CFT is customer facing time. CFT is all about how much time you’re spending in front of your customer.

          This is not thinking about a customer, nor is it preparing to prospect. This is actually being on the phone, actively exchanging emails, or perhaps on a Zoom call.

          You want to measure CFT over a period of time, because you want to be increasing that level. You’ll never be able to close what you don’t start. And you’re not going to have anything to close unless you’re having conversations with customers. Measuring CFT is just a great way to keep track of that.
        3. Focus on incremental opportunities
          Key word is incremental. It’s so easy to focus on repeat business, or business that’s just flowing in. That’s customer service. That’s not prospecting.
          Prospecting is not about the results you get. It's about the activity.
          Mark Hunter

          Prospecting is about creating incremental opportunities. That means you’re uncovering new customers. Or, you’re uncovering new ways that you can help an existing customer. For example, maybe it’s an existing customer, but you’re working with a new division.
        4. Follow-up gets the sale
          Nothing about prospecting is one and done. Prospecting is about staying engaged to allow you to qualify the prospect to then move them into that sales stage.

          Follow-up gets the sale, and that means a lot of repetition.
        5. Focus on your ICP
          ICP, ideal customer profile. Prospecting anybody and everybody just because they download an ebook or they look at something isn’t the right path.

          This means you’ve got to have gates. You’ve got to have a measuring process to be able to understand, do they fit my ideal customer profile? And if they don’t, I don’t have time for them.
        6. Use every medium
          It’s not just using email. Who cares about another email? Am I using voicemail? Am I using video? What about social media? Have you tried using text?

          Of course, not every medium is right for every person, but you have to be comfortable and prepared to use every one, because at the end of the day, it’s not what’s comfortable to you. It’s what’s relevant and appropriate for the other person–especially after we break through, have that initial conversation and we’re in the follow up.

          You’ve got to be communicating to them in their language, their medium.
        7. Qualify fast
          Your goal is to spend more time with fewer prospects.

          I need to be prepared to ask tough questions right out of the shoot.

          “Well, I don’t want to ask tough questions because I may disqualify them too soon.”

          Well, what’s the problem with disqualifying too soon if you’re never going to get them to the close? I am going to work to see if there’s a viable option here, but I’m not going to just chase this forever and ever just because they respond to my message. That’s how you plug up your pipeline. You don’t want a sewer pipe, your sales pipeline should be a water tap.
        8. Don’t start what you can’t finish
          Sometimes, salespeople get desperate. So they load a hundred leads into their CRM system. You can’t manage a hundred leads. Instead, you have to stay extremely tight because it may take you 10, 15, 20 calls to get back in touch with them. It may take you 10, 20 calls and calling six different people in that company just to get one to respond to you.

          I need to have room in there to be able to do the repetitive activities all the way through.

          I’m working with this salesperson right now who only puts five new prospects into his pipeline a day. That’s it. But then he works them through using a 30-day cadence. For his particular product and buying cycle, that works. You may have a 90 day buying cycle. You may have a six month buying cycle. But don’t start what you can finish.
        9. Measure your activity
          Prospecting is not about the results you get. Whoa, what?

          It’s true. Prospecting is not about the results you get. That’s just closing the sale. That’s making your quota. Prospecting is about the activity.

          Let me explain. It takes activity to get people into my pipeline before I can close them. How many calls did I make today? How many conversations did I have? If you measure your results, you’re more likely to get discouraged.

          Instead, try measuring your activity, and I guarantee you’ll be more successful.
        10. Check your attitude and motivation
          Sales is an emotional game.

          And if your attitude and your motivation are not in the right place, guess what? You’re not going to be successful. I guarantee it. It will not happen.

          Focus on the outcome you can create, knowing that you can help others see and achieve what they didn’t think was possible. Then, remember that it’s going to take a lot of activity.

    For more prospecting insights, check out The Sales Hunter Podcast.

    Article originally published on Aug 24, 2022 on The Sales Hunters' Blog
    Mark Hunter
    Published August 28, 2022
    By Mark Hunter

    Mark Hunter, known as, “The Sales Hunter,” is globally recognized for his expertise in sales leadership. He specializes in business development and guiding organizations to find and retain high-quality prospects without discounting their fee. His ability to inspire sales teams to create self-motivating and integrity driven cultures, makes Mark Hunter a highly sought-after keynote speaker, consultant and coach. Mark has taken his vision for sales leadership to more than 25 countries and 5 continents where he leads and consults with companies ranging from small startups to global giants. Mark’s number one focus is relationships. He considers it an honor and privilege to connect with the people he is in relationship with each day. It is this passion that has set him apart as a thought leader in the sales and leadership space.

    Find out more about Mark Hunter on LinkedIn