Prospecting for new customers can be easy or difficult. As I’ve written in my book and dozens of articles, working at it consistently, providing value prospects, and having a little fun can go a long way toward your success. Even with that being said, however, I often find that salespeople unintentionally make lead generation harder than it has to be.
I’m not talking about techniques you use to find new clients. I’ve given you tons of suggestions for those. I’m talking about the mindset you take into the process.
Simply put, many salespeople put too much pressure on their calls, emails, and other prospecting activities.
How do you do this? By judging the success of your prospecting activity on the number of appointments they generate. Obviously, this makes a great deal of sense on a certain level, since appointments typically lead to sales, and that’s how most sales reps are evaluated.
What is easily forgotten, however, is that there are a lot of different things that can happen between an appointment and a flat-out rejection… and in fact, some of them might not be things you even notice at the time.
In other words, there are things you can do to bring yourself closer to a future sale that don’t necessarily involve setting an appointment.
For instance, suppose you send an email to a top prospect, and although they don’t agree to meet with you, they do look at one of your articles or white papers. It might seem like you’ve come up short of your goal, but what if:
- You left an impression in the prospect’s mind?
- They tell you they aren’t ready right now, but please call back next quarter?
- They appreciate your ideas and agree to meet with you in 4 months, partially as a result
of those steps you took today?
Taking the long view can help you realize that setbacks aren’t necessarily the same as a failure.
I think more salespeople and business owners should view prospecting and lead generation in the right context: Your job is to start forming relationships with potential buyers. While it’s certainly nice to have them agree to meet with you right now, it’s not an absolute necessity for you to consider the call or email a success.
Holding on to that mindset can change not only the way you feel about your prospecting, but also the results you get from it. Why? Because 10 hours spent cold calling, for example, could easily yield only 12 contacts, and two actual appointments.
Those numbers can seem pretty bleak when you view them on their own. But when you stop to think that each of those dozen prospects is now that much closer to doing business with you, and that many more could be more receptive to hearing from you in the future, you realize that your hard work is going to pay off. Those prospects will become customers sooner or later. That attitude, in turn, can help you bring the right amount of energy to task.
Prospecting can seem really unrewarding, if you’re using the wrong set of measurements to weigh your progress. Setting appointments will always be important, but I would encourage you to look past the obvious. There’s plenty of pressure to go around for any salesperson; learn to see your prospecting in the right way, and you’ll find more new opportunities than disheartening percentages.