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10 steps to better prospecting

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Are you at the cusp of something new? Perhaps you’ve taken a new sales position or are selling to new markets or buyers. Maybe you’re launching a new product or service or are taking on responsibility for on-boarding a new rep. Or maybe you’ve finally realized that you’re doomed unless you figure out how to deal with today’s savvy, frazzled, sales-averse decision-makers.

What’s common among all these scenarios? You (or your new reps) are once again thrown into learning mode. You’re overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the task at hand. You’re not sure you’ll ever figure it out. But here’s the deal: To make things happen, you need to take control of your learning. It can’t be done in bits and pieces, with no rhyme or reason to what you’re learning.

In my book Agile Selling, I lay out a complete 90-day sales plan, which starts with a deep dive into the information and/or skills you need to focus on. Why 90 days? Because this timeframe is short enough to feel manageable yet long enough to get results.

Here’s what I recommend for the first 10 days of the sales plan:

1.    Obtain company-specific training (for example, products, sales and industry).

2.    Map out and prioritize “need to know now” info necessary for situational credibility.

3.    Immerse yourself in relevant product and marketplace knowledge.

4.    Fill out a buyer’s matrix on primary buyers.

5.    Create a dictionary, cheat sheets and checklists to aid recall.

6.    Map out and research buyers’ decision-making processes.

7.    Clarify reasons buyers choose to maintain the status quo.

8.    Identify business cases that will encourage buyers to make changes.

9.    Get up to speed on the technology needed to do the job.

10.    Start collecting customer stories; learn how your solutions have made a difference.

Notice how the plan focuses on understanding your customer, even at the expense of your company or offerings? That’s because that’s what matters most—you need to establish situational credibility as soon as possible. The full 90-day plan is filled with opportunities to deepen your knowledge, sharpen your skills, increase your prospecting effectiveness and engage your customers.

Selling is an activity like any other. When you map it out ahead of time, you get lots more done and end up being more productive. 

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Jill Konrath is the author of SNAP Selling, Selling to Big Companies and Agile Selling. If you’re struggling to set up meetings, click here to get a free Prospecting Tool Kit.