Prospecting in Tough Times

The only thing certain about the current economy is uncertainty.

For sales pros faced with selling to businesses that are cutting budgets, cancelling orders and dodging calls as they wait for the uptick, getting a foot in the door can seem like an insurmountable challenge.

It doesn’t have to be, if you take a few pages from “Selling in Tough Times,” by Bill Brooks of the The Brooks Group.

In it, he identifies seven pointers for power-packed prospecting in difficult times:

  1. Treat prospecting as the lifeblood of your sales career:  Focus on quality, quantity and consistency to ensure you have a full pipeline and that you’re spending your time on qualified prospects.
  2. Treat prospecting as your most valuable time management tool: Use it to avoid wasting time on people who are not decision-makers and to ensure you always have enough qualified prospects to keep you productively busy.
  3. Take an organized approach: Use a contact management program instead of relying on scraps of paper to organize your leads and prompt you on follow ups.
  4. Remain alert for “suspects” who have the potential to become qualified prospects: People’s needs are always changing, which means today’s dud may be tomorrow’s hot prospect. Always assume everyone is a prospect until proven otherwise, cultivate mutually beneficial relationships with everyone who is a good source of leads or can get you past the gatekeepers and always be alert to new prospecting opportunities.
  5. Stay in touch with active prospects: Top of mind is the best place to be and the only way to get there is to ensure your customers think of you first. That requires frequent, repetitious contact including phone calls, emails and meetings.
  6. Rework your “suspect” inventory regularly:  Try to upgrade your suspects to qualified prospects by finding people willing to make referrals or even initiate contact on your behalf, and stay alert to the tiniest clues that the suspect’s buying status might be changing.
  7. Continually upgrade your prospecting system and strategies: Keep ideas fresh by staying informed. Read books, newspapers and magazines; attend seminars and network with other sales people.

Click here for information on how to get a free copy of “Selling in Tough Times.”