For many salespeople, prospecting is the most difficult activity they do. They dread the thought of picking up the phone to make a living. Long-term success in sales is built through solid prospecting. In order to be successful and profitable, sales people need to apply these seven secrets of prospecting daily.
1. It gets easier after the first call.
The first call is always the most difficult. I prospected solidly for over eight years in real estate. I never got over the difficulty of making the first call. Getting yourself to make the first call is the highest hurdle. The only solution is to just do it. After you make the first call, you realize it was not as difficult as you imagined. The person on the other end of the line was not as difficult as your mind had created. In many cases calling begins to get fun after a few calls. The problem is most people just never break through the initial barrier.
2. Establish a routine.
To be successful, you should have a scheduled time for prospecting daily when that is the only activity that is being done. Treat prospecting as an appointment. Do not allow anything to interfere with your prospecting. We often allow distractions to creep into our prospecting time. The salesperson who has a set routine daily of making prospecting calls at a specific time and adheres to his or her schedule without distraction is guaranteed to succeed. This person will not only succeed but will be a "top gun" agent, the best of the best.
3. Big "Mo"
At first prospecting will be very difficult. Your skills will not be developed to the level of an expert. Once you start the process, do not stop. Momentum is critical to prospecting. Once you get the process going, your skills will improve to generate more leads and to set more appointments. Do not break your momentum.
Another agent in the real estate office where I worked once issued me a challenge. The challenge was who could list more homes in a month. I knew that I would win, since I had momentum and he did not. He had not been consistently prospecting, so he had no momentum. I must say that he did have the best month he had ever had. But that was because he was consistently prospecting and had been following up on the leads he was generating. At then end of the month, my team had taken eighteen listings and he took six. Do not underestimate the power of momentum - the Big "Mo."
4. Exploding the best time to prospect myth.
The best time to make prospecting calls is when you have the most energy and when you actually will call. There have been tremendous arguments over this point by agents and trainers. Set a time to prospect and call at that time. Do not worry about things you cannot control, such as someone being home or not. Focus on your skill level, avoiding distractions, and prospect. These factors you can control. I always prospected early in the morning because that was when I had the most energy. It also got my day off to a great start, which would carry me through the rest of the day. I always thought if I had a good disciplined day of prospecting that I had a good day regardless of the number of leads, number of appointments set, or anything else that happened that day.
5. Focus on the goal or objective.
Set a specific goal of what you want to happen on each call. Know what you want that prospect to do. It is hard to achieve success in prospecting without a clearly defined objective.
The true objective is to set a qualified appointment with the prospect. If you are unable to accomplish that objective, then the next best objective is to get an agreed upon action by the prospect within a specific time frame. For example, the prospect is going to be interviewing agents next week. You and the prospect agree to speak on Thursday about getting the appointment scheduled for next week. The last objective is to generate a lead who will buy or sell in the future. This objective depends on your definition of what a lead is for a buyer or seller.
6. The power of scripts.
Highly successful sales people use scripts. To effectively prospect, it is crucial to know what to say before you start to prospect. Scripts provide a guide and logical sequence of questions to follow. They allow you to focus on the response of the prospect rather than fumbling around to find the words.
The only way to move to the highest form of communication is to know what you are going to say to the prospect. The words you say only account for 7% of the communication. If you know the words, you can begin to focus on your tonality and body language. Tonality accounts for 38% of all communication and body language accounts for 55% of all communication. If you are focusing and stumbling through 7% of the words you will be ineffective in prospecting. We have all heard an unskilled telemarketer stumble through their scripts and dialogues. Develop, learn, and practice your scripts so you can effectively communicate and reach your prospect through your tonality and body.
7. It is a numbers game.
Prospecting is truly a numbers game, for two valid reasons. The first is the more prospecting you do the less rejection bothers you. The best way to deal with rejection is to get as much as you can as soon as you can to reduce its effect on you. Most people you call are very nice and pleasant. They may not need your services at this time, which is fine. Rejection is rarely as bad as you imagine. The only way to find this fact out is to make more calls.
The second reason is you can replicate your business via numbers. Prospecting will allow you to plan your income and results. If you track your prospecting efforts, you will find you have ratios in your business. I would make 25 expired listing contacts and get a listing signed. If I wanted to list a property a day, I needed to make 25 expired contacts daily, which would then create the desired income for my family. Contacts are defined as a prospecting call that results in talking to one of the decision makers in the household.
What is your desired income? How many prospecting contacts do you need to make to achieve it? As you get more skilled, the number of contacts needed will decrease. When I first began prospecting, I needed to contact over 100 people to get a listing. Start tracking your numbers so you can play the game. To play the game well is to know and understand the game.
Michael Jordan was the best player of all time because of his abilities, but also because cerebrally he knows the game better than any other player. His physical skills were not at his highest levels late in his career, but his mental skills were beyond compare. Develop your verbal and mental skills.
Prospecting is truly an integral part of success in any sales profession. Do not be fooled by the prospecting-free system to success. Develop and apply the seven secrets of prospecting success. Develop the habit of daily prospecting, and you will become one of the "top gun" agents in the world.