Over the past 19 years, our parent company, Barrett, has conducted thousands of psychological assessments and interviews with both managers and salespeople about their prospecting and sales behaviours.
Their research has consistently revealed that salespeople often experience their greatest difficulties, dissatisfaction, and anxiety at the prospecting stage of the sales cycle. Meanwhile, we know that this it’s also the case for people that are not sales people but need to sell.
Prospecting requires a person to establish contact with people who might buy his/hers products or services. Whether it is phone, face-to-face or group prospecting, inbound or outbound, nothing gets sold until you get in front of and/or talk to potential buyers.
Definition of Prospecting
Prospecting is looking for, qualifying, and pursuing potential sales opportunities with new and existing clients and appropriately developing viable prospects into profitable sales.
40 years of International Empirical Research in Prospecting
(Research Reference: Behavioral Sciences Research Press)
The research showed that the main predictor for success in sales is the amount of contact initiated with prospective buyers on a consistent basis!
The hesitation to initiate contact with prospective buyers on a consistent basis is more responsible for the failure of competent and motivated people than any other single factor. Nothing else even comes close.
In order to achieve sales targets, a significant part of the process is going to come down to how well a person is able to apply themselves to the prospecting process.
Prospecting Comes First
Prospecting is not the only part of selling, or even the most important; however, if you want to grow your business it must come first. You need to consistently prospect for new business.
The Good News
Many of the issues that people feel around prospecting can be overcome and usually boil down to 2 key areas:
- Lack of training in how to prospect effectively: most people are thrown in the deep end and not given adequate training in clear processes and tools to show them how to prospect effectively. There’s an easy fix for that: get trained. There are excellent online sales training programs that will help you with prospecting, tools, and processes.
- Misconstrued beliefs and attitudes around prospecting: in other words they avoid prospecting because they are scared of it. These attitudes and behavioural responses are entirely learnt and can be easily unlearnt with the right support.