My friend and colleague Mike Weinberg recently said, “No one defaults to prospecting.” What he meant is that when salespeople have time between calls or meetings, they don’t automatically pick up the phone and start prospecting. And he’s right.
When I was a young salesperson, there was only the phone. Every morning, I would seclude myself in an office to make prospecting calls. I would begin at 8:15 AM and stop for lunch at noon. After lunch, I’d return to making calls until it was time to go home.
As I made calls to every number in the business section of the phonebook, I would write down every “good” lead on an index card. If someone told me they used what I sold, that was a good lead. The next day, I’d flip through all those index cards, knowing that they were better than the numbers in the phonebook. Then I’d start back through the phonebook—no targets, no business intelligence, no social networks, no LinkedIn, no research.
It was prospecting—all day, every day. And then the appointments would come. And after I’d made a sales call, it was back to prospecting. Lots of people were better salespeople than I was, but no one made more calls. And no one had to tell me to prospect; prospecting was my default setting. And, these days, when you need new business, there still aren’t many alternatives to good old-fashioned prospecting.