Your system must be sustainable in that it generates access within an acceptable cost and time investment.
It must be duplicable so that others within your company can be trained and made productive quickly, or give you the option of delegating the prospecting function to a lower level of competence at a later date.
The most frustrating thing I see (which is a good problem I suppose), is people who start to obtain great appointments and fill their sales pipeline, totally stop or prospect erratically, as they now need time to follow through on their great new opportunities. If your system is sustainable and duplicable, you can ensure a continuous supply of new opportunities at an acceptable cost.
There are five principles that come into play, which enable you to achieve that goal.
This is the idea that in any pool of suspects, there are only so many people who are reachable, and once reached, would be receptive to your well-crafted benefit laden messages. Over the last 12 years I have found that in any pool of suspects that I can typically set appointments with 10% of those I call. No matter how many times you call, there are only so many people who will be receptive to your message in any group. So to be successful, your system must “flow”, meaning that you are continually and systematically bringing new records into your system, working them systematically, then letting them go at some point. To have flow, you must be aware of the second concept…..
YOUR POINT OF DIMINISHING RETURN
You are in charge of your time. Not the people you call. If theoretically there are 10 appointments in any group of 100, then as you book meetings 7, 8 and 9…. you should be thinking… am I better off to continue to call this group of 91 searching for one meeting, or should I call a new group of 100 that contains 10 meetings. You decide where to invest your time for the results you need and you must absolutely know when to let go.
In order to make that decision, you must have a consistent call process. That means that you have a somewhat consistent schedule or pattern of calls, voicemails, dials, faxes and once in a blue moon a letter. Note: I have never seen mail be effective at setting appointments consistently and at a reasonable cost. Great way to drive up your costs though.
You will of course vary your call process in some instances, but, if you are varying too often, you don’t have a call process, you have chaos and are basing your financial future on wishes and good intentions. Once you complete your standard call process, stop, then initiate your process again with a new record.
If you continue to invest time and money with a group of people who make pleasant sounds, request information, ask that you call them back, and yet never agree to meet- you are not in charge of your financial future – tire kickers and time wasters are. You let them. It is your fault. Not theirs.
EFFICIENCY AND EFFECTIVENESS
Cold calling and prospecting is brutal work. It commonly defeats the strongest sales warriors. A sudden tsunami of activity, although temporarily powerful, will never generate the consistency you need to build, grow or sustain a profitable business. To do that, your prospecting process must be efficient and effective.
A process which reliably has you speaking to 4 prospects an hour is more efficient than a process which has you speaking only 1 prospect an hour. A process which enables you to dial the phone 40 times an hour is more efficient than a process which has you making 15 dials an hour.
Without efficiency you get fewer chances to be effective.
Effectiveness is the measure of your success in converting conversations with targets to the result you seek. A good conversion rate may be one appointment for every 5 conversations. Increase your conversion rate by delivering a calculated pre-thought out concise benefit laden message. If your conversion rate is too low, test alternative pitches and voice deliveries.
Know where the problem lies. Maybe you are very effective if you get someone on the phone, but don’t speak to enough people. Focus on increasing your efficiency for results. Conversely, you may speak to a lot of targets who are not receptive to you. Focus on increasing effectiveness for results.
MEASURE RESULTS NOT ACTIVITY
You tend to get what you measure.
I recommend that you measure only three things. In order to sell a big-ticket item, you typically need a face-to-face meeting with a real decision-maker. To get a meeting you usually need a conversation with that person. The most reliable indicator of conversations is the number of new suspects you initiate your call process with on a daily or weekly basis. So I only measure three things. Meeting, conversations, new suspects. That’s it. I don’t measure “dials” as the number of dials is not rationally related to results.
One of the biggest mistakes I see managers make in prospecting is to focus reporting and measurement on things like the number of dials, the volume of mail that goes out, how many business cards are left with receptionists. and other such foolishness.
You get what you measure. Measure results only.
Best wishes for prospecting success,