When we conduct workshops teaching prospecting, we are always concerned about how the participants will actually implement and use the training. Sadly, too often people will learn and practice the skill in the workshop but not make it a new part of their business life once they leave the training.
In a workshop a few years ago we asked the participants, "How many of you will use this method of prospecting?" All raised their hands, which made me feel good. Then I asked the wrong question. "How many of you are willing to be tracked in your use of our prospecting method?" Only one raised her hand. We did track her and she quadrupled her business in 4 months. We were delighted.
A few other members of that class did implement the program and enjoyed the benefits of acquiring new customers.
The concern we want to address is: How do we get Prospecting training from the classroom to the field?
This is where the 3 Laws of Prospecting comes in. The 3 Laws are:
We conduct skill based workshops, so we cover these laws as an integral part of the program. But the final burden falls on you, the individual sales professional and/or sales manager.
In the workshop you would prepare the words to say, determine how many prospecting calls need to be made to achieve your goals, and establish a follow up system.
Then, just like in all skill based training workshops, you practice your words in role plays. As a matter of fact, we have you practice it a lot.
Now, here is where the system can break down. The 3 Laws of Prospecting must all be done, or they won't work. Therefore, you must persist in your use of the new skills.
If you prepare and practice, but don't persist, nothing new will happen. 66 2/3% equals failure.
The primary benefit behind our prospecting program or any other program comes from long term use. That means persistence.
Persistence relieves a lot of pressure on you, the sales professional.
First, it means that you take a proactive approach and are in control of your fate. This is a big mental boost for any sales professional.
Second, persistence assures that you call on all of the prospects in your market and follow up regularly, assuring a chance to sell everyone.
Third, you never have to be concerned about the outcome of any one call, because you will be calling on everyone.
Fourth, it will mean an end to Crisis Prospecting.
Crisis Prospecting is done far too often. Most of you have been in a situation where you have not prospected as you should and your sales are down. Now you find that you need to sell to virtually everyone you call on - that is Crisis Prospecting.
In commercial and industrial sales, you won't sell on the first call. As a matter of fact, studies show that these sales are usually made after the 3rd call. This means you have to keep a constant flow of new prospects in the "pipeline." The only way to do this is to persist at the prospecting process.
Keep in mind that some people will buy soon, some a little later, some later yet, and others further in the future. Our problem is we don't know who they are, so we need to call on all of them and get them in our system.
We were once competing with two of the big national training firms for a client. The process extended for nearly two years. When we finally won the contract I asked the client why he had selected us? Was it my dynamic presentation, our skill at conducting workshops? Why had he selected us? He said, "You are the only ones who stuck in there over the long run. Everyone else gave up. I want our sales people to persist like that."
When I am in the field making prospecting calls with a client's sales professional, we too often find that the prospect has recently purchased a new product from a competitor. The sad fact is, our client never even had a chance to try for the business because they had never called on the prospect. This is embarrassing for the sales professional who has been in the territory for a while and bad economically for the company.
We include a tracking form in our training, but it must be used by the sales professional and reviewed by the manager. It is simple. We suggest that you simply list the date of the prospecting call, the company called on, and the name of the individual within the company who will has responsibility for the purchase. That's it. Nothing more, which is in line with our philosophy of keeping things simple.
We don't want to know the outcome of the call for a very important reason. As sales people, you tend to think that you will be judged on your prospecting performance by how many people you sell on the first call. Remember that buyers don't buy on the first call. We just want to know that you are making your prospecting calls. That is persistence.
Ironically, once you have prepared and practiced and actually begun the process it becomes easier to persist. Therefore, the burden falls on the individual and the manager to see that the new system of prospecting is implemented.
Regardless of what sales prospecting system you use, however, the 3 Laws of Prospecting must be applied - Prepare, Practice, and Persist. Life will be more fun and a lot more rewarding.
Sell Well and OftenTM
© Copyright 2006 WJ Truax