At that point I would disarm my prospect by saying, “please understand that my persistence before the sale is only exceeded by my service after the sale.” Most of the time, the prospect would laugh, agree and I would get an appointment.
Several times I have been asked to write a summary of my entrepreneurial success, and what was the secret sauce to it. As I said in my speech at the recent UNO(University of Nebraska Omaha) awards ceremony, “Nothing happens until a sale is made”, that’s where all the success begins. You can have the greatest product and/or service, but if the organization does not have a formal sales process in place, it will be very difficult to grow and build the business.
There is an art and a science to selling. When asked what I thought was the hardest part of the selling cycle I said that answer is easy. Finding a viable prospect and being able to get in front of the decision maker is without a doubt, the hardest part of the overall selling process. If you give a good sales person ten qualified leads, he/she should be able to sell at least half of them. However, a great salesperson, first of all, will find and cultivate his/her own leads and once in front of the decision maker, will sell nine out ten of the prospect!!
Get in front of the right guys
So how does one go about developing prospects? In order to be successful at selling one’s products/services the business must institute a formalized selling process. The first step in the process is prospecting, (the acquisition of viable leads to interact with and create a sale). It is critical that you identify who the market of prospects is that you want to direct your efforts toward. Once this has been done, then formalize a disciplined approach and implement it. How you do this should be tailored to your product/service and who the target audience is. Remember, you must target your efforts to the companies that are real prospects. Calling on people who aren’t real prospects is a waste of your time. And, in sales the most valuable asset you have is your time. It is the only exhaustible asset you are working with, so please don’t waste it.
Have a process in place and be disciplined
Several common characteristics that must be incorporated into prospecting include persistence and determination. In your efforts to prospect you will experience plenty of rejection. However, a great sales person uses rejection as a motivator and continues their efforts in search of a WIN. Wins can come in small steps such as getting the right person on the phone; getting the right person to agree to a meeting. And of course, the greatest win of all is when someone says YES!! To get to a yes, always remember that you must be very disciplined in your efforts. You cannot let up off the gas, you must continue to push and push.
Another by-product of rejection is that it creates a sense of urgency. Great sales people have a sense of urgency that is usually off the charts, almost to a point of being dysfunctional but not quite. Just enough to be driven. I coined a phrase that I used when I was prospecting and knew I was close to crossing the line. At that point I would disarm my prospect by saying, “please understand that my persistence before the sale is only exceeded by my service after the sale.” Most of the time, the prospect would laugh, agree and I would get an appointment.
As I said before, every company must have a formalized selling process. Prospecting is just one component. Stay tuned, I may address the subsequent steps in later Blogs.
About The Author
SANFORD (SANDY) L. FRIEDMAN
Most recently Sandy received an award from UNO as an outstanding Alumni graduate from the Department of Economics which is now part of the Business School. He is a retired entrepreneur with a proven record of success in buying, building and selling businesses. In January of 2001 he sold the last business he owned, Customer Service Profiles, Inc. which then became part of The McCarthy Group. Since that time, he has helped different privately held businesses to grow their operations, such as Turnkey Solutions Corporation and The Maids Home Services. Sandy is always ready to help a fellow entrepreneur and is willing to share his knowledge and experience to help small to mid-sized business owners grow their companies.