Prospecting is a science, not an art. Prospecting is the never unending quest to seek buyers for your product or service. I’ve said it before, and will keep shouting from the rooftops. If you don’t prospect, you die. If you do not have anyone to buy your product, it’s as good as useless. Quite unfortunately, despite the grave consequences of not prospecting, few sales people approach it with the gravity it deserves. In fact, the bulk of them gamble with prospecting, and a chosen few invest in it. Investing in prospecting ensures that you have a prospecting strategy (plan); investing in prospecting reaps you untold returns. And investing in prospecting means treating it as a science. And a science it can be measured.
Separating prospects from suspects
First though, not everyone is qualified to buy your product. Simply because they can afford it doesn’t mean they need nor want it. A client who sells holiday homes that go for 80million a piece, knows firsthand that those that do not like the finer things in life are not qualified to be his prospects even if they are billionaires and can buy three such homes on a whim. To qualify as prospects, potential buyers must need, want and afford your product or service. Everyone else is a suspect. This is the first metric to measure. Suspects to prospects ratio. How many suspects do you research or pitch to before you get those that qualify o be prospects. The ratio should narrow to the ideal 1:1 as you learn to clearly define your prospect.
Prospecting is a science but not all prospects will buy
Simply because they need, want and afford our product does not mean they will buy from you. They may be qualified prospects but because they didn’t like you, your pitch, or because they are awaiting board approval, they don’t buy. But because prospecting is a science, then the progressive seller measures how many prospects he pitches to buys. This is called a closing or conversion ratio. Stellar sellers easily clock a 1:2 ratio. 50% of those they pitch to buy. Just as with the first metric these are captured in a prospects list. A simple Excel sheet will do.
Sales Management made easy
These two metrics alone can dramatically improve the management of a sales team. The sales manager can determine what ails or triggers a salesperson’s performance. If their suspect to prospect ratio is low, it could speak to their quality of prospecting. They could be searching for wheat among chaff instead of vice versa. With this information the manager has something concrete to correct. Just as he would if the closing ratio is low. This could mean the pitching is poor or the attempts at closing are weak.
The art and science of prospecting
Admittedly, today’s chaff can become tomorrow’s wheat. In addition, growing to the ideal ratios is not black and white. To that extent, there is an element of art. However, treating prospecting purely as an art, to be done leisurely, is a significant cause for sales failure. Treating it as a science, on the other hand, is a sure fire way to sales success.
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