Every salesperson probably already knows that prospecting is the life-blood of sales. Yet how many of us prospect with no real plan? Either that, or we just procrastinate our prospecting totally.
You need to make an actual, written prospecting plan, then execute on it. Don’t go into it without planning, but don’t plan so much that you never actually do the prospecting.
Let’s look at how you can create a step-by-step prospecting plan.
Components of the plan
Your monthly, written prospecting plan should include two primary components.
The first component is an actual budget. This should include both money AND time. Keep in mind your other commitments, and see how much time and money you can afford to invest each month.
Remember, you’re not spending the time and money. It’s an investment!
The second component is an actual schedule for your activities. Real, specific days of the month, with real, specific time allotments. Don’t just tell yourself, “I’m going to make some cold calls on Wednesday.” Actually block it out in your calendar!
As you schedule those activities, keep in mind what deadlines some of those activities have. You may have a speaking engagement on the calendar for a specific date. If so, do your research and preparation in plenty of time.
And make sure you also remember not to schedule more planning than you do actual prospecting. Planning and preparation is necessary, but real prospecting is belly-to-belly, eardrum-to-eardrum. You have to actually be talking to potential prospects for it to be prospecting!
What prospecting activities to focus on
So what activities should you actually focus on for your plan? The first thing you need to do is make a list of all prospecting activities. That list may include (but not be limited to):
- Cold Calls
- Talks (where someone puts you in front of their audience)
- Seminars (where you pick the audience members)
Once you have the list, go through it and rank the activities in order of effectiveness. That order will be different for every type of business, and will vary based on what you’ve been doing in the past.
If you have an established network of contacts, you may not need to do as much cold calling any longer. If you’re just starting out, referrals may take longer than tons of cold calling.
Once you’ve ranked your list, you’ll know which activities you should spend the most time on. And don’t just do the number one activity. There are definite benefits to mixing your prospecting activities.
Planning is great, but now it’s time to actually do something! Donald Gardner once said,
"Do you know what happens when you give a procrastinator a good idea? Nothing!"
So stop procrastinating! Come up with your plan, then stick to it.
© 2012 Sandler Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.