In part 1 of this series, I introduced Mike Weinberg—sales coach, consultant, and author of the book New Sales. Simplified.: The Essential Handbook for Prospecting and New Business Development. After listening to his captivating and insightful presentation at the 2015 Virtual Sales Kickoff, I asked him if I could share his “4 Tips to Power Up Prospecting in 2015.”
Tip 2: Make a serious commitment to prospecting.
No one defaults to prospecting. In fact, most people find every reason not to. It’s one of those things we never do unless we are proactive and disciplined about it. From his consulting experience, Mike has found the number one reason companies struggle to pick up new business is that the people responsible for bringing in new business just aren’t doing it. Sounds plain and simple, right? In this case, the answer to our problem is not a “what,” but a “how.” It’s not as if salespeople don’t know what they’re supposed to do. But there are always other tasks more important, more urgent, and quite frankly, more attractive. There’s our self-image, as well. We don’t want to appear selfish with our time. We want to be seen as a team player, a good corporate citizen. It seems rude to shut your office door and/or say “no” when people ask you to do something for them. Like it or not, that’s usually what it takes to get the job done.
So, how can we become more intentional and committed to proactive prospecting? Mike offers a few practical ideas:
- Make it a priority. Time block your calendar. Practice the discipline of making appointments with yourself to focus only on prospecting.
- Don’t let people pile extra work on you. Sometimes you just have to say “no”— no matter how it’s perceived.
- Find creative ways to get alone and remove all distractions. Close your office door. If you have the option, work from home or find an empty conference room. Most importantly, shut EVERYTHING down. (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, email, etc.)
- And finally, stay away from losers and whiners—co-workers who have nothing better to do than complain. Negativity is contagious, and it’s imperative that you take control of your attitude.
The last point Mike addresses in this section is one of the most frequently asked questions he’s received over the years: What’s the best time of day to prospect? Mike’s answer? “Yes. Yes is the best time of day to prospect.” In other words, any time is a good time. But as for his preference, Mike suggests the earlier in the day, the better. If you prioritize prospecting and make it the first thing you do in the morning, you’re more likely to knock it out before other things start coming up and the day gets away from you.
Committing to prospecting requires discipline, intentionality, and the ability to say no to distractions—and sometimes even people. It’s hard work, but the payoff is worth it.
Next up: Tip #3 Sharpen Your Story