Will Your Ship Come in Today?
By Colleen Francis
When I am working with private coaching clients I note that ninety-nine times out of a hundred, a lack of consistent revenues is caused by a lack of consistent prospecting. A failure to prospect on a regular basis will inevitably result in irregular revenues, and inconsistent commissions. It's that simple.
This is especially true when we're doing well. It can be so easy to forget about prospecting when we're wrapped up with following a dozen (or so) hot leads, who are demanding lengthy proposals and multiple meetings, conference calls, demonstrations and references. But this is precisely the time when we need to be prospecting, to ensure that steady sales flow doesn't suddenly dry up.
Napoleon Hill once remarked that your ship can not come in unless you first send it out. Nothing could be truer for sales professionals. Let me paraphrase: Your sales can not come in (close) unless you first send out (engage with) some prospects. Sales people that actively prospect every day (i.e. send out their ships) will always outperform those who just sit and wait. In fact, if you are waiting at your desk for the phone to ring and sales to come in, you are simply an order taker. And you will wait a long, long time to be successful. I have never met a wealthy order taker. I have met plenty of wealthy sales people.
The best prospectors hedge their bets. They use multiple prospecting techniques to send their "ships out to sea". Some will return with a big bounty, some with a little and some not at all. You can never count on a "one size fits all" approach to sales, nor a 100% close rate in sales - even Christopher Columbus was smart enough to send 4 ships out to sea!
Yes, prospecting can be a difficult and, for many people, daunting task. The simple fact is, not everyone likes doing it. And let's face it, prospects don't fall from the sky. We have to work at getting them consistently, so we can close sales consistently. After all, even if you've mastered all the questioning, closing and objection handling techniques in the world, you'll still almost certainly fail if you don't have any prospects to use them with!
The truth is this, top professional know that prospecting is the key to selling. I have never met a top 10% performer for whom prospecting isn't central to their daily sales activity. So let me help you make prospecting central to your day too.
Below I have compiled 18 ways to send your ships out. I am sure that you can add to this list to create at least 31 prospecting ideas. One for every day of the month! Just imagine how many sales you can make each and every month if you commit to prospecting every day!
- Cold calling
- Direct mail
- Regular email newsletter
- Monthly hard copy newsletter
- Customer reactivation calls - call customers you have not heard from in 6 months or more
- Networking events
- Trade shows and conferences
- Face-to-face door knocking
- Asking for referrals
- Sending a catalogue of your complete product listing by mail to your existing customer base
- Offering a free white paper or eBook on your website
- Offering a free trial of your product
- Radio / TV / Newspaper / Online / magazine advertising
- Association marketing
- Involvement in charity work
- Fax blast
- Voice mails
Drop me a line or visit this article on our blog at www.EngageSelling.com/blog to add to our list. I would love to hear what prospecting ideas are working best for you!
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Make sure you check out Colleen's latest book, Nonstop Sales Boom for powerful strategies to drive consistent sales growth quarter after quarter, year after year.
Colleen Francis, Sales Expert, is Founder and President of Engage Selling Solutions (www.EngageSelling.com). Armed with skills developed from years of experience, Colleen helps clients realize immediate results, achieve lasting success and permanently raise their bottom line.
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