You need cutting-edge prospecting strategies to obtain and develop leads to ensure you can grow your business in any economy, but before you can get to the advanced stuff, you have to learn and understand the basics of prospecting. This skill will make you an invaluable asset to your company. Learn what prospecting is and why it is vital to your success.
What Prospecting Is—The word prospecting comes from Latin, prospectus, which means a distant view out into the distance. To prospect has 4 different meanings:
- Something expected, a possibility.
- Chances and financial expectations.
- Potential client or customer purchases.
- Location of minerals.
Looking for minerals where there is an actual deposit—the gold miner, silver miner, oil miner—these guys are out prospecting for a hole to discover whatever valuable thing they are after. People, sales, opportunities, attention, minerals, girls, it’s all prospecting. If you want the right spouse, you have to go prospecting. If you want more clients and more money you have to go out and prospect. If you’re going to find the minerals, you have to prospect.
The definition of prospecting is creating a potential customer or client for your product or service. I’m selling me every day. Some people think that’s wrong but I want people to know me. Without attention, they won’t buy my product or service. Your prospecting only will improve when you take your pipeline and go big and fill it up. You need to prospect for clients, attention, referrals, opportunities—your future finances depend on your ability to prospect.
Prospecting is important because if people don’t know who you are, it doesn’t matter what your price is, how good your product is, how good your service is, none of it matters if people aren’t thinking about you. You have to not just have clients, but quality clients. And you can’t just have quality clients, but quality clients in the right numbers. This is where people fail.
Businesses fail not because they run out of money, they fail because they couldn’t produce enough prospects for their business quick enough that would fund their activities. The number one reason a salesperson or a business fails is the inability to find qualified, ready, willing, and able to buy people. You could be the greatest salesperson with the greatest product with the greatest location, but without people talking about you, coming to see you, reaching for you, you’re dead.
You have to confront this prospecting thing. That means cold calling. There’s 4 actions that people take with any prospect and only one of them works.
- None—they simply don’t lift a finger to do anything.
- Retreat—they actually see a customer in the grocery store and decide to retreat.
- Average amount of action—doing whatever is expected of the people around you.
- Massive amounts of activity—the only way that works.
Action is the middle finger to doubt. If you are ever in doubt, take action. Of the 4 levels, the most dangerous is the 3rd level—average amount of action. The guy that does nothing or retreats is not as dangerous as the guy who only operates at normal levels. Why? He actually believes he is doing something. They believe they are doing something based on what others do. Most people are losing in the marketplace. In prospecting you must begin to think in massive amounts. You want to be omnipresent and have people looking for you. You want people talking about you. You need blogs, videos, and people promoting you. If you do prospecting right you can command a higher price for your service or product and give yourself confidence. What happens when you don’t see anyone for 2 or 3 days? Your confidence drops.
Purpose of Prospecting—The purpose of prospecting is to keep your pipeline so full, so abundant, so loaded up with opportunities, that you create an economy regardless of what’s happening in the outside world. You don’t want to be dependent on the economy—you want to create your own economy by making your own efforts and investments. Make your pipeline full of opportunities, people, and prospects.
Look, you have to have numbers of people. You have to have quantity to be successful selling anything, whether it’s furniture, cars, or computers. Have a full pipeline. Industries that are dependent on traffic, like brick and mortar retail, are losing because they are just hoping someone shows up. This is why malls are failing all over the country. People have to go there, park, get out, walk in, and find a store. If you can generate your own opportunities and traffic, I’ll be much more valuable to the company and independent of the economy.
If the company drives opportunities to the store and you just sit there and wait on people, you become dependent—a slave—to the company. When I generate my own traffic and bring people in asking for me, the company becomes dependent on me. Isn’t that what you want? Do you want to be dependent on them, or you want them dependent on you? I know I would want the company I work for to be dependent on me, to value me more than the money they give me. How can you do that? One way. Generate your own traffic.
You cannot be successful without prospecting. Most salespeople never embrace this skill. The wealthiest people have gigantic pipelines. A contact only becomes a contract when an R is added, and the R stands for relationship. Your job is to create the relationships. Whether you sell a product or a service, you are in the people business. You need traffic and opportunities, people talking about you, people coming to see you and people for you to go see. Prospecting, short of closing the sale, is the most valuable skill you will ever develop. And the truth is if you are a great closer but have no prospects—you have nobody to close.