Why Is Prospecting So Hard? And… Tale of Held Back Caller

How can it be that sales prospecting is relatively easy, steady and fairly predictable for some, yet for others, the equivalent of ripping out your own fingernails?

The answer to this question is more important in these covid times as the ability to find buyers can determine whether you pick up market share or fall to mediocrity, even ruin.

Over my 25 year career I have heard many companies say “that wasn’t so bad” as they moved from mediocrity to top tier of prospecting results. But for others, in very similar situations, every step seems excruciatingly hard and progress, if obtained at all, is short-lived while they drift back to old, failed practices.

A Tough Love Question: Are You Making It Harder Than It Has to Be?

Below are 4 criteria to help you answer that question.
But first, an example of what happens when you make it harder than it has to be.
Spoke to a very capable appointment setter recently lamenting how hard it was to book appointments. I knew from speaking to her she was capable. Why was she not getting at least average results? Plus, her company had many territories that had very successful lead gen teams that did not find it difficult at all. So why was her territory struggling?

Knowing that other divisions did not have problems (I had worked with a number of them,) I asked a few questions.

Who are you targeting? Answer: Companies found on Chambers of Commerce lists, internet searches and whatever they can find. Yikes! The successful divisions found 50% of their good business came from just 3% of all companies. They were calling the phone book rather than focusing on their most responsive targets. This info was easily available.

What CRM are you using to manage your calls and leads? She named a program that had been left behind by the more successful divisions years ago. Yikes! They were prospecting with a tool that slowed them down and didn’t allow them to segment by key criteria, when a Cadillac solution that costs little was used by the more successful divisions. Why not use the more effective tool?

What are you using for scripts? No clear answer, it depends, we change them up, yada yada. Yikes! The most successful divisions use consistent scripting that is fairly easily available. Why use weak messaging when scripts proven to work are available?

That caller and company are struggling and they should not be.

Why do some stumble along thirsty in a prospecting desert, when others in similar situations are refreshed with a steady flow of future buyers? 4 reasons.

  1. Some are in love with their current prospecting. They can imagine no others.

The heart wants what the heart wants, and even though the relationship has stopped working, they refuse to see it.

  1. Some have stopped learning.

Rather than change and improve based upon lessons learned from those more successful, they have closed their minds to new things. If something is outside of their comfort zone, they are not open to considering it.

  1. Some are not coachable

They are not willing to be honest with themselves or acknowledge blind spots. You need humility as you are vulnerable when you need help. You must be able to admit to flaws seen by others.

  1. An unwillingness to do the work

This I have never understood. People seem willing to do something that is not working, wasting time and money, work way too hard for far too little, over and over again, yet won’t buckle down to do the work to lift themselves into the top tier. Believe me, it takes far more work to be consistently mediocre (or worse) than it does to be successful. Do the work.

If you feel that prospecting is too hard, arduous, onerous, painful and troublesome, ask yourself the question above.

Are you making it harder than it has to be?