Here is an email that we recently received from a new reader of this newsletter:
“Wendy, I want to let you know that I apparently suck at prospecting. I’m not a very good bullshitter.”
Wow! I feel for her. Talk about starting out from a difficult place…
But it’s not really her fault. prospecting has been so demonized, people believe so many negative myths about prospecting that sometimes it’s almost impossible to see beyond the murkiness of the various stereotypes about what is essentially just a phone call.
This new reader unfortunately seems to believe that she needs to make stuff up and be incredibly manipulative in order to succeed at prospecting. Not true.
Here are some of the things that people believe about prospecting:
1. It’s a numbers game. This myth goes: “Make 100 dials every day. If you’re not getting traction, make 200 dials every day. If you’re not getting traction with 200 dials, then make 300 dials every day. And so on… Unfortunately, these days sheer volume of calls is not enough to help you succeed. It’s simply too hard to get people on the telephone. Today you have to be targeted, strategic and skilled. The real numbers game is conversion: Conversion of dials into conversations with decision-makers and then the conversion of those conversations into appointments.
2. prospecting is manipulation. Many people (see email from reader, above) believe that prospecting is about manipulating people into buying things they neither want nor need. Not true. Your cold call is simply your introduction. There are many ways to meet a prospect, this is one of them.
3. Go through the ‘no’s’ and hang ups until someone finally says, ‘yes’ to you. This is my personal favorite. Who in their right mind would want to do this? I call this myth the “Warrior Madness” because a lot of prospecting training centers on how to deal with rejection. Instead, of learning to handle the ‘no’s,’ it’s a much better idea to learn the skills that you need so that prospects say ‘yes.’ Couple that with some strategic thinking and targeting and you’re in a much better place to succeed.
4. The Born Sales Person. This is a very insidious myth because it keeps people from taking action. (See the email from reader, above.) No one is born knowing how to cold call. It’s a communication skill and like any communication skill it can be learned and improved upon. (The Queen was lucky. Early in her career she learned this skill and it enabled her to build a business. You can learn it too.)
Bottom line what we’re talking about is a phone call—the basic tool of any sales professional. It doesn’t have to be painful. It doesn’t have to be brutal. It’s simply a phone call.