Prospecting is the key to long-term success in sales, which is why the top salespeople put a significant amount of time toward this activity. In fact, if you allocate 80 percent of your schedule to prospecting, you will seldom, if ever, experience peaks and valleys in your revenue stream.

In addition to consistent efforts, here are 7 other ways to improve your prospecting results:

1.  Develop a killer call opener. You have less than 20 seconds to capture your prospects’ attention, so skip the BS about your company, your product and your service and focus on what is important to them.

2.  Conduct the appropriate amount of pre-call research so you can speak directly to your prospect’s potential pain points. Be careful, however, not to develop “paralysis by analysis.”

3.  Pick the right time to call. You stand a better chance of connecting with senior executives by calling them early (7:00-8:00 AM) or late (after 6:00 PM).

4.  Never open a cold call with “Hi, how are you today?” Contrary to popular belief, prospects don’t view this as a rapport-building question.

5.  Get directly to the reason for your call. In fact, you could say, “Mr. Prospect, I know you’re busy, so let me get right to the point.” It may sound abrupt, but your busy prospect will appreciate it.

6.  Be persistent. It used to take 7-8 touches to connect with a new prospect, but now that number has doubled. That means you need to be persistent when trying to make a connection.

7.  Use a variety of prospecting methods. Networking, social media, cold calling, referrals, direct mail, email, trade shows, newsletters and conferences are just some of the prospecting strategies you should consider.

What’s the secret to sales success? Prospecting, prospecting, prospecting. So pick up the phone and get calling.

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Kelley Robertson helps sales professionals master their sales conversations so they can win more business at higher profits. Get a free copy of “100 Ways to Increase Your Sales” and “Sales Blunders That Cost You Money” at http://www.Fearless-Selling.ca.