Research & Insights


Want to Hear "Yes" More Often From Your Prospects?

Part 1: Target the Right Prospects (February 1, 2010)

Almost every salesperson I know hates prospecting. It’s understandable—they spend hours calling people who aren’t interested, and waste a lot of time and energy on too many “No’s” before finding the few who will say “Yes.” No wonder prospecting is viewed as a necessary evil—something that has to be done if you want to keep the pipeline full and develop new business.

Yet, some experienced professionals manage to get appointments with most of the prospects they contact, and they’re able to turn a big percentage of those meetings into sales. How do they do it?

There are two parts to the answer. The first part is this: Instead of playing a numbers game, they ask, “Which companies are most likely to be good for us?” With this question in mind, they filter their initial list of “suspects” to create a short list of the most likely prospects. Now they can make earlier go/no-go decisions and invest their time in a smaller group of companies most likely to offer good business opportunities.

Here’s how it can work for you:

Instead of making an indiscriminate list of every company in your territory, develop a profile describing the characteristics of your “ideal” customer. Use the profile as a guide to do some up-front research on your possible prospecting candidates.

For example, you might be looking for evidence that a company. . .

  • Matches your economic and strategic priorities
  • Has the right level of profitability and fits your industry/market segment requirements
  • Has healthy annual sales/net income
  • Is the right size and has the right number of employees
  • Has the budget and ability to spend for what you sell

Once these questions have been answered, you can sort out the list of suspects and cross off the ones that don’t meet the criterion of “good for us.” What’s left will become your targeted list of potential prospects.

Using this list could actually make prospecting a positive experience, leading to more satisfying calls, more sales, and increased revenues.

What have you tried to make your prospecting activities more successful? Do you try to set aside a certain amount of time each week for prospecting? Do you know what percentage of your prospecting calls result in sales? Let us hear about your experiences.

About the Author
Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel was a Senior Performance Consultant with over 25 years experience in human performance improvement. He was experienced in instructional design and program development for traditional face-to-face and distance learning. Abilities and interests included accelerated learning processes, cultural adaptations, and the visual / usage design of developmental materials.

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