In 1991, I wrote a series of articles called “I Love to Prospect.” I titled it that because most people hate prospecting and would rather get deep root cleaning than prospect for new business.
If you have not converted over to the “Good Way,” the reason you hate it is you have been trained to apply hateful methods. You have been taught to grind on people, overcome their objections, not to believe them until they have said “No!” three, six or 27 times. I’ve spilled countess buckets of pixels writing against this approach.
When you apply the “Good Way” prospecting methods, you don’t hate it. Maybe you’ll never love it, but you can do it without all the angst.
Many in the same crowd who hate prospecting also hate selling. You go through a mental flogging of the flesh when sales are lost. You are nervous going into a big presentation, and you are mytified why this sale works and that one does not.
So I’ve decided to write “I Love to Sell.”
Personally, I love it. It’s exciting to engage another person and gradually bring them to understand that they really will benefit from buying my product.
I love the rough-and-tumble of it, the contact and in many cases the lifelong clients who become lifelong friends.
A Definition: “Selling”
Selling is a step-by-step process intended to increase desire to own the benefits of a product or service to the point the desire outweighs fear of change.
In selling, you are dealing with emotion, which is undoubtedly the raw material of life itself. You’re dealing with times they’ve been burned in the past, unstated history between husband and wife, disagreements between them, and a nearly overwhelming lack of knowledge in the area in which you have decided to build a career.
From this perspective, it should be completely obvious that sales must be a process, if it has any chance of being effective. If you study the people who are effective in this business, you will find, one for one, they have a process. There’s no flying by the seat of their pants, not with these boys and girls.
The people who make it work have a process.
Prospecting vs. Selling
Prospecting and selling are not the same thing. Ideally, they should not be done by the same person.
Salespeople should not prospect. Entire teams of people should exist to ensure the salesperson only sells.
Duh. Sales professionals are worth at least $1,000 an hour in gross revenue to the firm when meeting with and talking to interested, qualfied clients and prospects.
So where does the prospecting end and the sale begin?
Prospecting ends with the production of a hot prospect.
A hot prospect is someone who is very interested, qualified as regards to money and ability to buy, and is willing to set an appointment to begin the sales process.
In an ideal world, salespeople should spend full time doing what they came into this business to do, and not do other things, like prospect, handle service, set up seminars or process paperwork.
The frame of mind of a prospector is totally different from that of the sales professional. The prospector is discarding the non-buyers. He or she understands that when a hot prospect is turned over to a salesperson, the most valuable resource of many companies is being spent. So the prospector discards the sand, gravel, grit and mud, keeping only that which glitters.
Some of the glitter of course is fool’s gold, but we can say for certain: If it does not glitter, it is not gold and should be discarded.
When the salesperson takes over from the prospector, the frame of mind changes. Now we’re going to use all our persuasive power to convert this prospect into a client. We’ll deal with procrastination, objections, ignorance, misunderstanding and stupidity, and do so with a smile.
Yet another reason why salespeople should not prospect is this: They tend to apply selling skills to prospecting and wind up talking with people whom a good prospector would have long since chucked.
So in this series, we’re going to talk about the core set of skills that make up selling.