First off, I basically equate that to a mother not teaching her son how to cook and do laundry because she knows he’ll find a wife to do it for him! Learning how to prospect is a life skill in sales. You have to get it down pat in order to be successful in this career. Being handed leads are the reward after you have proven yourself, you know?
OK … now to get off of my soapbox and offer a solution.
Network with everyone and anyone if you are starting out. Book lunches, coffees and drinks with other salespeople and business professionals in different fields. Get your elevator pitch down and be specific about who you want to be introduced to that are good lead sources for you (CPAs, attorneys, etc.) Be specific about your ideal client, too; if you say “business owners,” they are going to hear Charlie Brown’s parents talking and you’ll go nowhere.
Call on your clients.
I know that some people have tremendous results asking clients for referrals to prospects, but that makes me feel sleazy. Instead, I ask for the lead sources, because, hey, I’d rather meet one person who can refer me to 10 potential clients each year than get one referral to one half-baked prospect.
When I see a client I’ll say something at the end like, “Hey, Michael, do you like your CPA? I had a client that asked me for one last week and I have a couple people I send clients to but I like to give clients a list of options.” This ALWAYS WORKS … unless the guy hates his CPA, and then you ask for his attorney! When Michael says yes, I ask him to introduce me via email (and oftentimes I’ll write the email for the client to make it easier for him). After that, I book a one-on-one to learn about the CPA’s practice and so he can learn about me.
Go where your niches are.
Like minds like to work with like minds. For me, I used to be in entertainment and hospitality, so guess what? Those are two of my niches. I have instant credibility and trust because I speak the same language. Where do I go to meet these people? I live in New York City, so I go to openings of galleries, food shows, food incubators (place where startups launch their businesses and share office space), Comic-Con, music festivals and so on.
I once had a mentor who often said to me, “Susan, you have to have a stretch in your life, something that is bigger than yourself. If you don’t have a stretch, you cease to grow.” I think this applies to your situation. Right now you are a little outside your comfort zone and need to go back to the basics and lay the groundwork that most had to do when they started in the business. Just know that it doesn’t happen overnight and that you will have to work hard to develop yourself as a brand. There will come a time where the switch will flip and the phone won’t stop ringing for you. I just know it!