We all have favorite things we like about our jobs, and I’m not talking about closing sales. Of course we all love that. I’m talking about favorite job activities.
What are your favorites? Are you fascinated by pre-call research? Do you love strategizing with colleagues or chatting with favorite clients? Most sellers can relate to that last one!
Most can talk to a favorite client for hours on end, while other things are left undone. Which brings me to my point…the things that never seem to get done, even though they’re important to the job, even though not doing them can derail one’s success.
What is it for you? What always seems to get put on the back burner, sabotaging your success?
Is it prospecting, proposal follow-up or account management? These are the top three procrastination magnets for most of our clients. And because prospecting seems to be a universal challenge, I’d like to tackle that first.
When you’re avoiding something, the first thing to do is try to figure out what’s behind it. Usually it’s either fear or a need for more discipline. What’s behind your prospecting avoidance?
Are you afraid you’ll get hung up on or yelled at just for calling? Do you worry that you won’t get past the gatekeeper or know how to handle negative feedback? If fear is your issue, training can help by teaching specific techniques to get past the challenge. Consider a prospecting refresher course or attending webinars.
If fear isn’t your issue, then maybe you need a little more structure around your prospecting.
Start by re-evaluating your priorities and your prospecting plan. (If you don’t, there’s a good chance your manager will do it for you. Do you really want your manager telling you how many calls to make each day?)
Is prospecting high on your priority list? It should be. Do you plan specific activities for it, like calling, attending networking events, or sending email campaigns?
Next, schedule time on your calendar to get these activities done, and you might need to limit the activities you enjoy most. Then, protect the time just like you would a vacation or a call with an important client.
If you try these things and still find yourself struggling to stick to your plan, your mentor may be able to help. He or she can likely see your blind spots and offer some good, personal advice. If you don’t have a mentor, this article, “How to Find the Right Sales Mentor,” could set you on a path for success not only with prospecting, but throughout your sales career.