I want to start this post by saying Thank You. One of the great benefits of going through an exercise like this is that it reminds me of three related attributes I admire in every high performing salesperson; A passionate commitment to lifelong learning, evaluation, and application.
Let me begin by asking if you have heard about prospecting discussed in terms of these four stages of learning and execution?
1. Unconscious Incompetent – A salesperson who “doesn’t know he doesn’t know” how to prospect! Depending on outlook this might include a salesperson who has decided prospecting is not important.
2. Conscious Incompetent – A salesperson who “knows he doesn’t know” how to prospect and wants to learn! I hope that some part of me remains in this stage and the next for all aspects of my life.
3. Conscious Competent – The salesperson in training. This is the one who is consistently practicing at making his learned prospecting skill sets proficient.
4. Unconscious Competent – This is the salesperson that is so practiced at consciously developing her prospecting skills that she can execute perfectly without even thinking about it.
Let me stop for a moment to clarify my definition of prospecting as the process of personally hunting for and actively speaking with prospective buyers. No, it does not include solely sending 500 emails unless this is part of a process that gets you into a forecastable number of conversations!
Now let’s make some observations about the learning stages just introduced and prospecting. First, as a sales person, “Do you think prospecting is important?” If you think it is, “How vigilant are you in planning and execution?” To answer this objectively, “Are you are looking at your metrics?”
If you are not a consistent prospector (I have been in this category) I encourage you as a fellow salesperson to think about why that is. More on this topic in the next posting.
If you are a consistent prospector and have refined your approach (research, clearly defined objective, execution, tracking, adjustment and consistent achievement of call targets), I humbly salute you!
If you are in the unconscious competent category, I encourage you to continue to evaluate your metrics and determine if your approach can be adjusted to increase effectiveness (improve ratio of calls to conversations). Do this at least on a weekly basis. Technology and resulting options are changing rapidly. There are no substitutes to personal contact. The right questions is, “What can be used to enhance it?”
Whatever the outcome of your personal assessment, I encourage fearless reflection and self-honesty. Do not decide that consistent, prioritized prospecting is not important because you don’t like it! I believe that many including myself are tempted to do this. With two full rings, no voice message, and a 7.5% conversation rate, I found that I can make and log up to 50 phone calls in an hour. 8 hours of uninterrupted phone work a week means 400 calls and 30 conversations!
Whatever your approach and execution tactics, personal engagement is the goal. Without it you are not helping your customers buy!
Is it possible to love prospecting? Join me next week for more on this topic.
Your Salesman for life.
Quote on my mind:
An unexamined (sales) life is not worth living!