And the Goal of Prospecting Is...
"Prospecting is defined as any activity or conversation you engage in to position yourself in front of a prospect with the intention to inquire, assess, discover, and educate so that you can determine whether there's a fit and a relationship that's worth pursuing which can then lead to presenting your product or service in order to earn your prospect's business."
Rather than focusing all of your energy on making the sale, first determine if there's a good fit between you, your prospect, and what you are selling.
Instead of feeling that the intention of prospecting is to get a sale, provide a demonstration, submit a proposal, or schedule an appointment, the initial intention of prospecting is to determine if there's a fit worth pursuing.
While this may sound a bit strange, closing the sale and earning the business of a prospect is not your initial goal. Instead, your primary objective is to determine whether you and your prospect are a good fit.
Take a moment and think about how this change in your attitude and mindset would change your cold calling approach as well as your experience.
While your traditional approach may be to produce a measurable result, now your primary objective is to discover whether you and your prospect are a good match and if this relationship is worth moving to the next stage of your selling process. If you feel that you constantly have
to push the sales process forward, you're not taking into consideration that the prospect may simply not be ready, let alone may not be a good fit for what you are selling. Pushing the sales process forward before a prospect is ready only creates pressure for the both of you, fostering an unhealthy relationship from the start. Therefore, instead of asking yourself, "How can I sell this person?" change this question to, "Do I even want this prospect as a customer?"
Notice that the second question shifts the balance of power back to you. Now, you're the one making the choice about pursuing the relationship rather than surrendering all of the decision making power to the prospect regarding whether or not they will buy from you, let alone listen to you!
Notice how this shift in your mindset will also change your approach. Instead of feeling as if you have to convince or push the prospect into the sale (appointment, demo, proposal) by regurgitating your pitch all over them, now you're going to want to learn and gather as much information you can about this particular prospect.
How do you determine if there's a fit worth pursuing? Typically, you would conduct a process of inquiry or an investigation. Woven into the fabric of any investigation are questions. Instead of the prospect interviewing or qualifying you, this brings new meaning to the phrase, "Qualify your prospects!" Now, you're the one doing the qualifying.
Lets face it. You and I both know that the ultimate objective of your prospecting efforts is to sell more and boost your income. However, to achieve this goal, it's just not where you are going to focus your energy and thoughts.
Realize that when you cold call, one of your objectives is to open up your prospect's thinking to the possibility of working with you in order to provide them with a better solution or eliminate a recurring problem.
As such, if you are looking to change the perception or mindset of your prospects, whose mindset do you think needs to be changed first? Yours, of course!
By identifying and embracing this common misconception around prospecting, you can develop a strong foundation for cold calling success, providing you with the opportunity to think like a top producer and respond to each prospect in a healthier, more productive, and more enjoyable way.
Copyright 2004-2005, Keith Rosen, Coaching Services.