Here are five cold cruel realities of sales prospecting.
1. Most prospects will turn you down.
2. With “major sales,” the odds of initially contacting someone at exactly the right time is low.
3. Most costs are up front. Most of the profits are in that group that doesn’t immediately agree to meet.
4. Most know what they want. Most don’t know what they need.
5. The best prospects call you.
1. Even in wildly successful programs, most prospects will decline your request to meet with them. A rough rule of thumb I use is that you can expect to book a meeting with one out of every five to eight decision makers you speak to. Most will decline. There usually is a lot of great potential business among those that decline.
2. If you are making “major sales” which involve larger sums of money, have longer sales cycles or which your prospects only add/switch vendors every few years – the odds of initially getting them on the phone at exactly the right time are not high.
3. Most of your costs are up front, yet most of your profits are in that group of prospects that don’t immediately agree to meet with you. You must be able to generate business from those who don’t immediately agree to meet by enabling them to “raise their hands” from the crowd when they are ready to buy.
4. Most people know what they want, fewer know what they need.
5. The very best prospects are those that call you. If you want people to call you, include an effective follow-up strategy in your prospecting program.
Why is it that someone would call you? Very simply, you have credibility in their eyes. Credibility is earned with a consistent message over a period of time.
Consistency builds credibility. With a consistent message over a period of time, your targets develop confidence that you have knowledge or expertise which can benefit them. They develop confidence that you have solved problems similar to theirs for others. They develop confidence that you may help them.
If you didn’t have a follow-up plan with impact, you would lose the opportunity to build a relationship with a future good client. Return on investment for prospecting activities plummets and frustration builds quickly.