Sales prospecting is very often a salesman's least favorite part of his work as a salesman. I have found this to be the case about the same number of times I have found that the salesman hasn't had sufficient training in how to prospect effectively, and so hasn't been having a lot of prospecting successes. To the degree that the salesman doesn't know how to go about prospecting, and ends up with losses instead of successes, sales prospecting can be a mighty discouraging activity. I have conversely discovered that the more one's ability and successful experiences in sales prospecting grow, the more enjoyable an activity it becomes, and the more willing a salesman is to do it.
If there is one single secret to successful sales prospecting, it is to outflow-communication-in-volume. If you have ever heard the expression that “sales is a numbers game”, it was surely meant as a comment on the subject of “Prospecting”. To slow down on one's sales prospecting efforts, or to stop prospecting altogether, is a sure road to sales failure.
If there is one factor that looms high above all others as the single source of a salesman slowing down or altogether stopping his prospecting efforts, it is fear-of-loss. We all hate to be told “No”. But hate it or not, if we are to reach our goals and to be successful in sales, or in any other sectors of our lives, we somehow have to get past having been told “No”, get ourselves re-energized, and keep trying.
Ironically, there is nothing that builds up a salesman's willingness to push past “No” and keep trying, as much as the actual repetition of continually going up to the next potential-prospect, and the next and the next, and giving them each his best shot, win or lose, until the skin is sufficiently thickened to make all of his future sales prospecting efforts seem a lot like a walk in the park.
A great deal can be said about how exactly to prospect effectively (and is said in the all-inclusive sales training manual, HOW TO SELL – Clear and Simple, in Chapter 3, Prospecting), but here I wanted to point out the single, underlying factor that plays the maker/breaker role in prospecting success: The salesman's willingness to have potential-prospect after potential-prospect tell him, “No. Not interested”, and keep forging forward until he finds the one that says, “Yes, I'm interested.”
And there is nothing that encourages a salesman more to get back up and go for that next prospect, than the security, confidence and certainty he builds, seeing that the methodology he has been trained in and is following is leading him to an increasing number of successes, as he marches forward in his sales prospecting.
(c) 2004, 2005, 2006, Harry Frisch, STI Publishing. All Rights Reserved.