“I hate prospecting.” Have you ever said that? If so, you’re not alone.
As the Cybersecurity Sherpa who helps MSPs unlock their sales genius, I hear this all the time. So many of my clients complain about how they hate prospecting, how they’re not good at it, or how they must be missing the right script.
What’s more, it’s estimated that 40 percent of salespeople find prospecting to be the most challenging part of the sales process.
Which is why I’m here to tell you that prospecting doesn’t have to be that difficult! Sure, you want the leads to magically show up ready to buy from you, but you will probably have to do prospecting too. After all, you have large goals to hit.
So, let’s get rid of prospecting angst. Here are three different ways to look at prospecting.
1. Reframe How You View Prospecting
I know, I know. “It’s not that easy, Jennifer. I hate prospecting!”
The thing is, every single situation you encounter in life is influenced by your perspective. Research actually shows that mindset plays a major role in determining the outcomes of your life. Having a growth mindset can help you become more resilient to life’s challenges, as well as decrease your levels of stress and anxiety.
So, let’s reframe how you think!
When you think about prospecting, what’s the first idea that comes to mind? Is it smiling, dialing, and speaking on a daily basis to a bunch of people who don’t want your services?
If that’s the case, no wonder you’re so anxious! Living with the constant feeling that you’re intruding on others’ lives would stress anyone out.
That’s not what prospecting is, though. At its very core, prospecting is about building relationships. It’s about being human, plain and simple.
It’s unlikely you would think you’re not good at being human, right? “I’m really not feeling human today.” No one says that. (Well, I might say that if I haven’t had my coffee yet.)
The point is, being human comes naturally to each of us, and the same applies to building relationships with others. I recommend you take what feels natural to you and apply it to how you view prospecting.
Here are some ways to reframe your mindset:
- “I’m trying to build relationships.”
- “I’m looking for people in my community who might need my services.”
- “Prospecting is a way for me to grow my network.”
When you change how you see prospecting, you will automatically find it less anxiety-inducing.
You’re not bothering people with services no one cares about. No. You’re looking for those who need and value what you offer. You’re expanding your community. You’re growing as a person and a business owner.
Don’t you feel lighter already?
2. Don’t Take Prospecting Fails Personally
This is crucial. Do not ever let your prospects bring you down.
One of my clients once told me, “I’m terrified people are going to scream at me on the phone. They’ll swear, they’ll call me names, they’ll hang up. I just can’t stop stressing out about it!”
First of all, stressing about something that might not even happen is pointless. Trust your future self to deal with the situation if it ever comes, and focus on what’s truly important right here, right now.
If someone ever does scream at you, though, don’t take it personally. Some people carry the burden around with them for days, weeks, months even!
Here’s a secret, though – while you’re drowning in misery, your prospect has already forgotten about you. They’ve completely moved on. What’s more, they most likely weren’t angry with you, they were just angry in your direction.
They might have just walked out of an awful meeting. They might have woken up on the wrong side of the bed. They might have gotten into an argument with their partner, and you just happened to call them right afterward!
Whatever the reason, someone else’s negativity does not have to impact you. To quote the great Vince Lombardi, “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get up.”
Take it as a win when someone screams at you on the phone because it means you’ve managed to elicit an emotion. If you can get one person shouting at you, you can get two people interested in what you offer. Emotions are a powerful marketing tool.
If a prospect is screaming at you, hang up and count it as a win. Then it’s time to move on!
3. Remember That Prospecting Does Not Have Instant Results
When it comes to prospecting, good planning skills are a must. This is because the prospects you find now will provide you with income in the future.
The prospecting you do in the next 30 days will feed you for the next 90. If your sales pipeline is looking like the Sahara desert at the moment, you might not be doing anything wrong now – but the past is a different story.
Did you do enough prospecting last month? And the month before that? That’s the foundation upon which your current sales are being built.
Prospecting does not offer instant results. There is a natural delay between when you plant your seeds and when you harvest them, which means you should always start prospecting before you need new prospects.
Remember to add prospecting to your weekly work schedule. It might seem like you have enough clients now, but things might look completely different three months from now.
Trust me. Your future self will thank you.
Final Thoughts On Prospecting
Seven in 10 buyers love to hear from salespeople early on in the buying process. This makes prospecting a highly effective sales strategy. The more genuine connections you build, the better!
Don’t get me wrong, lead generation is great. However, nothing beats building the prospecting muscles.
If you’re looking for a way to take your prospecting skills to a higher level, here are a few tips:
- Research your prospects properly in order to see if you can provide significant value. (But don’t obsess over every detail.)
- Personalize each message to each specific prospect.
- Prioritize your prospects based on how likely they are to become customers.
- Make sure you’re always helping, not selling. Remember? Be human.
With these tips in mind, let’s get prospecting!