Recently, I’ve been working with the sales team at a National car dealership to help them work on their mind-set and attitude skills. They’re good sales people, they have great products and create an excellent customer experience – I should know, I bought a couple of cars from them.
Last week, as I hosted their regular Friday morning sales meeting, it became quite apparent during one of our training workshops, that prospecting was not something they really enjoyed doing. The more we explored the mystical task of ‘qualifying’, the more they sank into a state of paralysis and adopted the classic naval-gaze body posture.
Ironically, later that day I read a post about this very subject and the advice given was to “make prospecting appointments with yourself” (eh?) and “find someone to report to, to make sure you do it” (oh!). That might work……but probably not for long on the premise that the ‘away motivation’ strategy prescribed might very well get you started (fear does that) but it won’t keep you moving very long. It’s the same reason why some of you no longer go to the gym you joined in January…
Moving towards something, or ‘to motivation’ as it’s known in the trade, now that’s a different bucket of fish altogether and its the secret to effective and successful sales prospecting – bet they didn’t teach you that at sales school…
You see, the thing about most sales people is that we’re great when it’s good but when times get tough, very few adopt the same metronomic ‘joie de vivre’ approach as the truly outstanding high-achievers in the sales industry.
In short, the big mistakes sales people can make when dabbling in the dark-arts of prospecting are (a) they don’t do it enough, (b) they’re not very good at it and (c) they don’t like it. Sound familiar? You can put that on a loop if you like.
So how can I help, or more importantly, what combination of mind-set and sales advice can I give you which have really helped me see prospecting as a pleasure and not pain?
- Take Responsibility – let’s be honest, in life there is nothing you actually have to do. Either accept you want to be in sales and that prospecting is the life-blood of your business or get out and do something else.
- Love Your stuff – are you working for a company that you love and have a product that you yourself would buy? These two fundamental components alone are non-negotiable if you want to master prospecting.
- Train your muscle – that 3lb’s of matter between your ears will actually help you prospect more efficiently if you train it. Google “affirmations” and apply daily – just 2 mins when you wake up and 2mins before you retire at the end of the day will place your focus in the right direction, naturally.
- Stop selling, start helping – no-one sells anymore! Help people buy the things that will solve their needs, it’s simple. People hate being sold, but they love to buy – so help them by getting them involved with what you have that can make their life even better.
- Feel the Fear and do it anyway – what have you got to lose? You haven’t got anything to start with and if your prospecting activity fails – what have you lost? There’s 7.4billion people out there……..next!
- Have a system – the car guys get 12 people in the showroom, to get 8 on a test-drive so that 4 people buy, simple! Find your system. How many sales do you want and work backwards based on realistic (statistical) closing ratios and get perspective on the time you need to invest to be successful.
- Have a system behind the system – there’s at least 7 ways to prospect in the car industry and it will be similar for your industry too. List them and apply the same system in point 6 to each.
- Set & achieve goals – like spinning plates, get yourself a handful of ‘process’ goals for prospecting and work on them daily. Keep each one ‘front of mind’ so that your activity is driven by them and watch your pipeline fill up. There’s a thing called ‘The Law of Attraction’ – use it to your advantage.
- Rejection is a myth – no-one can make you feel anything; you do that with the way you think about what they’ve said or not done. Have a number of objectives for each prospecting call and I guarantee you’ll get at least one of them every time – even their agreement to add their name to your database is a win – celebrate it and use that to land a better one on the next call.
- Commit – with a toolkit of skills like this giving you every opportunity to prospect like a pro, why wouldn’t you go ‘all-in’, wear your pants outside your strides and enjoy the satisfaction of helping people find out about the great product and service you provide – do it right and they’ll buy from you!
Make Selling Personal!
About the author: Matt Sykes is founder of Sales Training company Salescadence. He works predominantly with Personality-led Business Owners to help them convert more of their leads into customers via transformational products which improve their Sales Mindset, Sales Ability & Sales Process.