In a recent survey, salespeople were asked which aspect of their jobs they hated the most.
The number one answer?
Sales reps found sales prospecting to be the hardest part of the sales process. Much more than qualifying leads and even closing.
Over time, prospecting has only become harder. Even though there are so many ways to connect to people, it can be hard to know where to start. People are busier and have less patience than before. It can feel like you are putting in a lot of time and effort for very little outcome. Cold calling can give you cold sweats. Not knowing if the prospect is going to be open to engaging with you leads to nerves. And rejections are demotivating and disheartening.
Although sales prospecting is tough, it is also the most rewarding part of the sales process and one that will ultimately help sales reps reach their goals. It’s the first step in lead generation and helps to ensure you have a pipeline full of qualified leads to work with.
So how can you take the “suck” out of sales prospecting and have fun doing it?
1. Change your mindset
No one ever said Sales was easy.
But you knew that going in. Sales can be daunting, but when things go right, it is also rewarding and fulfilling.
The first step to making prospecting enjoyable is to change your mindset around it. If you believe that prospecting is too demanding or you are dejected because of too many rejections, it is good to take a step back and remember why it is important. Prospecting is an essential part of the sales process. Without it, you would never be able to connect to potential buyers for your sales pipeline, which eventually leads to closing. That ultimate feeling of satisfaction at having closed a sale starts with prospecting.
Instead of thinking of sales prospecting as a chore or burden, think of it as a challenge. You'll be more likely to approach it with excitement and energy by thinking of it as a challenge. And who knows, you might even start to enjoy it! Looking at it positively can change your entire outlook regarding the process. Break the action down into manageable chunks so it does not feel too complex. Set yourself goals, track your metrics, and give yourself rewards. Then go out there and start crushing it.
2. Dedicate time for prospecting
You know that in today’s workspace if something is not on your calendar, it doesn’t get done.
Calls and meetings take up most of the working day of a typical sales team. And they are important - after all, you are focussing on closing and turning leads into clients. It is tempting to ignore prospecting because it can seem tedious and insignificant. But putting it on your calendar ensures it gets the attention it deserves.
One way to do sales prospecting right is to designate regular time for it. This could be an hour or two each day or a half-day each week. The important thing is that you set aside this time and stick to it. If it becomes part of your schedule, you are less likely to ignore it until it becomes overwhelming. Instead, it will become part of your daily routine. The more you do it, the easier it will become, and you will start doing it without any hesitation. By making time for prospecting, you can help to ensure that your sales pipeline is always full.
3. Quality over quantity
It is true that quality comes from quantity, but don’t waste your time with sales calls that you are sure are going nowhere. It is important to use your judgment and intuition to decide where to allocate your outreach efforts instead of on leads that will never convert. It is a bad idea to target everyone because it wastes time, energy, and resources for you and your sales team.
As sales professionals, You can make dozens of phone calls, send countless cold emails, and attend plenty of networking events, but none of it matters if you're not connecting with the right people. The key to successful sales prospecting is finding potential customers who are actually interested in what you have to say. And that can be tough. In addition to research, it often requires a bit of luck. But when you do find that needle in the haystack, it's all worth it.
Reaching out to too many people will also lead to more rejections. It can be demotivating to be rejected constantly. Try to avoid that feeling by making smarter choices. If you start feeling stressed and are emotionally drained, read about how to manage your mental health in our guide to dealing with stress in sales. Burning out during the process will not only affect you but others around you.
4. Believe in what you say
Over time salespeople can start to feel disconnected from the product we are selling. Having the same conversations over and over again with different prospects can make you feel like you’re repeating words verbatim without thinking about what they mean. You can start to forget why you started selling in the first place.
When you truly believe in your product, it will come through in your words. Prospects can tell when you care about what you do because your enthusiasm for it is apparent. They are more likely to become clients if they feel like they can believe what you are saying. So if you feel disconnected and demotivated, try to recapture how you felt when you first started prospecting.
Having more conversations can help rekindle this enthusiasm. Talk to sales managers about how they are feeling and how they stay passionate. Talk to your clients about how you solved their pain points and made their work easier. Read about your organization’s vision and value proposition and see how your own values align. Reignite your excitement for your work, and prospecting will become a breeze.
5. Manage your prospecting channels
These days we have almost endless tools and mediums at our disposal to use for prospecting. Besides the traditional phone calls, social media platforms and cold emails are a great way to reach out to potential buyers. If you’re looking for consumers, Twitter or Facebook might be a good way to find them. If you’re looking to target upper management, LinkedIn or podcasts are your best bet.
For your more conventional B2B sales prospects, cold calling or face-to-face meetings are still a great way to build an association. Events, conventions, and webinars are a goldmine for meeting potential buyers. Referrals given to your sales team are crucial. Lead generation can also be done by the CRM your sales team uses.
There are many channels that can be leveraged to make contact and engage with prospects. Finding the right balance and designating appropriate amounts of time and energy for each will help in creating a diverse bank of contacts and a strong base for prospecting.
6. Find the right tone for prospecting
One reason your prospecting efforts might not be as rewarding as you had hoped is that you haven’t been able to find the right tone.
When you are prospecting, it is important to be confident but not bothersome. You want to capture people’s attention and be engaging. If you are shy or hesitant during your approach, you might lose out on an opportunity. But if you are aggressive with your pitch, you will come off as off-putting. It's important to be confident and self-assured without being condescending or pushy.
It is a fine line to walk, but the good news is that it gets easier with practice. So the more prospecting you do, the better you will become at it. And the better you become at it, the less you will avoid it. Sales training will also help you find the right tone, so if you need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to your sales managers.
From “suck” to success!
It is easy to lose enthusiasm for prospecting when it seems like it is a lot of work with very little payoff. But remind yourself that it is a difficult but essential step of the sales process. Without prospecting, you would not be able to reach the stages of qualifying leads or closing deals.
Sales prospecting sucks, there's no denying it. It can be frustrating, time-consuming, and draining. But it can also be the most rewarding part of the sales process. When you follow up and finally land that big client or make that huge sale, all the hard work and dedication will have been worth it.
And to make sure that happens, don't forget to use Wingman - an AI-powered sales intelligence platform that will help you nail the sales pitch with your prospect. Wingman can automate call transcriptions and help you draw actionable insights about your prospects. With its data-driven analytics, you can understand the prospect's needs, pain points, and other influencing factors. This will help you get inside their mind and speak their language to make sure they convert. Book a demo with us to experience these capabilities.
So go out there and prospect, prospect, prospect! You never know when you might strike gold.