Thursday, June 19, 2008

Fixin' to Prospect

Last week we ran an article from Paul McCord in which he described Rachel, a young salesperson who was always busy, yet never really connected with prospects. McCord recently revisited the story to explain what he suggested Rachel do to fix her prospecting problem and kick start her sales.

"Rachel's problem is one well known to us Texans," says McCord. "In the vernacular of Texas, she had a "fixin'" problem. We Texans spend a great deal of time "fixin' to." We're always fixin' to prospect, fixin' to eat, or fixin' to take a shower. We're so involved with fixin' you'd think we never actually do anything. Rachel was always fixin' to prospect and seldom actually engaged in prospecting. The solution was to change her focus from fixin' to doin'."

McCord's three new prospecting activities for Rachel:

1. Calling
Her company's primary prospecting method is cold calling. She had a list of several hundred names to call of which she had made contact with very few. Her first task each day was to speak with a minimum of 15 individuals. That in itself is a big task. She may have to make 100 to 150 dials to connect with and speak to 15 prospects. If she makes 20 dials an hour, she could be on the phone 5 to 7 hours a day.

2. Networking
Rachel loves to network, but she had been spending her time at networking events that by their very nature presented limited opportunities. She attended three or four networking events a month held by various local chambers and she also attended two networking breakfast groups. During her 8 months of selling, she had made contact with less than a dozen quality prospects and had acquired none as clients.

Rachel was encouraged to change her networking focus from chambers and breakfast groups to organizations where a large number of prime prospects would gather - the associations of various industries.

3. Speaking
Rachel has developed a presentation about financial independence for women and is beginning to book presentations at various business, industry and women's organizations in town. The presentation is educational, not a sales pitch. Her goals are modest - get in front of and meet as many potential prospects as possible.

"Although Rachel and I have been working together for only three weeks or so, she has already tripled her monthly average of new prospect contacts," says McCord. "Her new secret weapon? She isn't fixin' to do anything any more - she's actually doin' prospecting now."

Author of "Creating a Million Dollar a Year Sales Income: Sales Success through Client Referrals," and "SuperStar Selling: 12 Keys to Becoming a Sales SuperStar," Paul McCord is president of McCord & Associates, a sales training and management-consulting firm.
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