Today I want to explain how to win the numbers game in prospecting. I’m in the midst of the best sales book I’ve ever read. I highly recommend Fanatical Prospecting by Jeb Blount. The information in this episode comes from my reading. This book has really had an impact on my understanding; I’m excited […]
Sales IS a numbers game! The best sales people are absolutely prospecting. You may hear some saying cold calling is dead. I totally disagree! That is just ridiculous. I have never met a successful sales person who wasn’t a maniacal prospector. Perhaps you know a seasoned sales person, someone with ten or twenty years of experience, who hardly ever prospects. Instead they get lots of referrals. The reason for their “good fortune” is ten years of prospecting five days a week!
Prospecting is also a numbers game. There are contacts and closing rate. Another variable which I rarely address is the pipeline. Because of the short sales cycle in merchant services there isn’t much occasion for a lot of prospects in the pipeline. However, there is a big problem concerning the pipeline and prospecting. Basic math can solve this problem.
A normal day of full time prospecting for me would include walking into twenty businesses. I would probably talk to seven or eight business owners in that day, so I would have those contacts. Of those seven or eight, two or three will become prospects who I would enter into my CRM system for a next action step. Perhaps they’re going to give me a statement. Or they gave me a statement and need a proposal. Or maybe I closed them on the spot. So, I’ll say for this example that there are four prospects. If I repeat that process for five days, there will be twenty people in my data base system. I’d anticipate in an average week to close three of them. Thus, I’ve closed three out of twenty. Seemingly I would then have seventeen prospects left in my pipeline. However, the truth is that I have none left!
The reason I start with twenty, sell three, and have none left is because of my close rate. In this case, the close rate (3 divided by 20) is about 12.5% to 15%. If I’m not careful, I’ll spin my wheels with those seventeen remaining prospects. Putting a shelf life on prospects is important. If I know I’m closing 95% of my deals within seven days of the first contact, all the prospects I made eight days ago should be shelved.
Here is a more philosophical viewpoint. Consider I’m closing one out of seven people. If I close one person, that means there are six other people I won’t close. I just don’t know which six they are; they are in my prospecting pipeline. I close three people, and I know I’m closing one out of seven. Therefore, since three times six equals eighteen, there are eighteen prospects I’m never going to close. The temptation is to keep focusing on those even though mathematically I’m done – I already closed the three. I must constantly replenish my pipeline!
Now, I’ve illustrated two different ways of viewing this concept. I encourage you to think about this. It is more difficult to implement than many concepts I present. Much depends on the CRM system being used and the method of tracking prospecting. Find a method to know how many prospects are in the pipeline. Have twenty good prospects in the pipeline all the time. Every single day put prospects off your radar screen who haven’t been closed in seven days. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t follow up with one of those people if you have an extra hour. But in order to continue closing sales regularly, accept that there are a lot of deals you aren’t going to close.
Obviously, be very careful to keep track on this. You should know how many good prospects you are working on at any given time. The ones you think are good prospects shouldn’t be from more than seven days ago. Unless you’re working on really big accounts, seven days is the limit – definitely no more than two weeks and DEFINITELY not more than thirty days!
I strongly encourage you to buy Fanatical Prospecting.I am listening to it on audible right now. Whatever it costs is a worthwhile investment! I got it on my audible subscription. This book will motivate you to get some good prospecting done! Prospecting and sales is a numbers game you CAN win.