When looking for ways to increase your effectiveness, you probably have to deal with new theories or trends in the field of sales techniques. Their creators stubbornly preach about ‘the end of the cold call era’ or about ‘sales 4.0’. One thing remains unchanged - prospecting, or the art of acquiring new clients. The most common reason for the failure to sell is an empty sales funnel. That is why it’s so important to systematically search for new sales opportunities.
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I'm writing this article the day before running a marathon. Completing the 42.195 km race is a serious test of the body’s endurance. It requires prior preparation and systematic, planned workouts, implementing successive training goals. At the beginning, the final result seems unrealistic, and the effects come over time and by performing successive activities. The same goes for prospecting. In order for the process of searching for new clients to be effective, it requires systematic, planned activities and the implementation of specific objectives.
Just as it is impossible to prepare for a marathon by just ‘working out’, you won’t fill your sales funnel when your search for new sales opportunities isn’t carefully planned and implemented. Effective prospecting is a planned process that you implement with unwavering consistency. It is a collection of regular and systematic actions whose effects are visible only after some time.
Balance, or a happy medium?
Salespeople often rely on one method of acquiring clients - usually the one that creates the least resistance and resentment. It’s the one that gives mediocre results. The most effective salespeople conduct much more diverse prospecting activities. They look for new ways to reach potential clients, are open to unconventional solutions, and thus increase their chance of finding new sales contacts. Their wide range of prospecting activities brings them closer to success.
Balance in acquiring clients using various methods is the most effective way to ensure a regular stream of sales opportunities. Combine various activities: calls, meetings, emails, social media, sales through recommendations, networking, trade shows, inbound marketing, etc., in a way that suits your needs and your current situation. Applying many techniques and methods is the most effective way to achieve sales success.
There is no ideal, universal pattern for acquiring clients in a sustainable manner. It’s important that you understand when you’re working against yourself. Depending on the industry, different methods can produce specific results, better or worse. The key to success is to create an optimal search plan based on the methods most effective in your industry and for your product or service, depending on the complexity of your offer, and on your client base and your experience.
If you are a beginner salesperson, you should be ready to make endless calls or walk door-to-door. When prospecting, a novice should not imitate experienced salespeople and get discouraged quickly. You don’t know how much work this old timer has had to do to get where they are. If you already have experience in the industry, you’ll largely base your activities on recommendations, social media, or communicating with clients at the right time.