8 “Must Avoid” Prospecting Mistakes

by Paul Castain on August 21, 2013

Sometimes we move so fast that we don’t slow down to think about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and if it’s the most effective way for us to get from “Point A to Point B”

I believe this happens with our “hunting” activities so I thought I’d highlight a few mistakes with the hopes that you will identify some areas where you might need to do a “course correction”.

1)   Failure To Schedule Prospecting: Hunting new business is too important to your sales health to schedule it around everything else. Here’s a radical idea . . . consider scheduling everything else around your money activities by using this way cool Money Hours Schedule or perhaps you should consider a 10 Before 10 strategy.  Here’s the bottom line. When you make an appointment with a client/prospect you keep the appointment. Right? Well its time you make an appointment with yourself. Oh, and guard that time my friend because no one else will!

2)   No Research: With all the ways for you to Pre Call Plan you need to hang your  head if you are still calling “cold”. Don’t even think about trying a stunt like that at the C Level. Big mistake muchacho!

3)   You Aren’t Compelling Enough: Pop quiz: How far into an email do you go before you decide if its worthy of your time? I’m good for about two sentences provided the subject line caught my attention. The suspicious side of my brain thinks decision makers might not be so generous. How many seconds does the average decision maker give you when listening to your message (voice mail or should you connect)? Seconds! Part of being compelling comes from the research and preparation you do prior to the call (hence the term Pre Call Planning) . Part of it comes from you putting yourself in their shoes. Otherwise, you aren’t standing out from an average of 110 emails per day (Radicatti Group research) 3,000 advertising messages per day(FastCompany Magazine) and an average of 6 other interruptions the same hour you called (Wendy Cole Time Magazine) And that’s only a partial list of the many things that you have to fight when fighting for your prospect’s attention!

4)   You’re Predictable: If you are entering your call info into your CRM, please stop with the same day/ time for a call back thing. If you keep calling me every Tuesday at 3:00 don’t you think I see you coming from like 100 miles out? How about being predictable in using tired, clichéd rebuttals. Can we all meet next week and put “Feel, Felt and Find” out of its misery?

5)   Confusing Professional Persistence With Being A Pain In The Ass: Consider using my handy dandy “Cool Down/Heat Up” technique. Its so simple it will blow your mind. Use your head and know when its time to let the contact cool down a bit to avoid having that “I just threw up in my mouth” feeling when someone tells you in great detail how annoying you’re being. Give it some time to cool down and then, heat that bad boy back up again! Also, is it me or can persistence also be misunderstood for desperation at times?

6)   Giving Up Way Too Soon: Things change every single day so stop taking every single “NO” you get as some door slammed shut for all eternity.

7)   Embracing The Phone As Your Only New Account Acquisition Tool. I’m not dissin the phone in fact, sooner or later all of this stuff comes down to a phone call . . . I just think your calls are lonely and need some companionship :) Consider embracing more of a “sales mix” of sales touches to include things like: Sending them a card, taking a direct mail piece and actually writing a note inside the piece, sending a Fed Ex, stopping by or dropping something off, creating a private, personalized Youtube video, social networks, sending an inmail via your social network, traditional networking, sending them curated content or content you create (think helpful not “salesy”) and creative approaches. I could go on and on but I’m hoping by now you understand that there’s a whole world of options available to you . . . Beyond the phone and emails?

8)     Distinction Disregard This is when we pay no attention to what works or doesn’t work. Being these wacky creatures of habit, we continue doing things simply because we always did it that way. When was the last time you taped your end of your outbound calls? When was the last time you looked at how you hunt and challenged it as in “Why am I doing it this way?” or for the gold star “What would be a better way?” When was the last time you asked someone else how they embrace their new account acquisition activities?

Well anyway, there you have it . . . 8 things that I believe will keep you out of trouble at least until our next blog post :)

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