A Question from a Reader:
I have a question for you about the position prospecting places you in.
I participated in a discussion on LinkedIn about prospecting. Someone in the discussion chimed in with a comment that prospecting puts you in a weak position because it tells people that you need work. When I pointed out that all ads indicate that the company or person need/wants more work, he replied very emphatically, in capitals, that one should never make cold calls when selling professional services or anything else.
I’m just trying to get a better perspective on prospecting which I have been doing not very successfully. And, I’m confused.
Do you think prospecting puts a person in a weakened position?
You are absolutely correct in your thinking: Any company, business owner and/or sales professional that is looking to grow sales revenue needs and wants more work. Your colleague on LinkedIn is reading minds. The truth is you do not actually know what a prospect is thinking until you have a conversation. Remember, the definition of a cold call is that you’re calling a stranger. Your prospect could be thinking… “I really need and want (fill in the blank with whatever you’re selling.)”
prospecting absolutely works today, it just doesn’t work the way it used to work. If you are making calls the way you did 10-15 years ago, or even 5 years ago, then it’s not surprising that you’re not having much success. It is no longer enough to rely on sheer volume of calls. And this is still the strategy employed by most people who are making cold calls. If that’s your strategy today, then prospecting won’t work for you.
In order to be successful in 2014, prospecting must be strategic, targeted and skilled. A prospecting campaign that is all three will succeed in developing new business. Anything else will waste your time.