Escape the Numbers Trap: 4 Steps to Target Prospecting for Increased Sales
If yours is like a lot of sales organizations, you may have intensified prospecting efforts lately as old customers downsized, cut spending, and in some cases went out of business altogether. The problem is that prospecting is often time-consuming, costly, wasteful, and hard on the morale of the sales team. Why? Look at some of the typical tips for successful prospecting: “Schedule a minimum of two hours a day for phone calling.” “Spend the first 30 minutes of each day making at least three calls.” The idea is that if you make enough calls, sooner or later a certain percentage will result in meetings, and a certain percentage of those will eventually result in sales.
“Usually lumped in and buried with the total cost of sales, prospecting can represent anywhere from 25-50% of total cost of sales. It’s a bigger number than most believe.”
Consider another set of numbers: as a rule, the ratio of unscreened suspect-to-prospect ratio is 10:1, with a prospect-to-sale ratio of 3:1. This means that the suspect-to-sale ratio goes up to 30:1. With this low rate of success in reaching real prospects, little time or energy is left over for the actual sales calls that bring in revenue. This is the “numbers trap.”
Yet clearly, it’s vitally important to maintain a healthy pipeline of prospective business – especially when established customers are cutting budgets and delaying spending. So what’s the alternative to the traditional “dialing for dollars” approach?
Step One: Stop Chasing Numbers
The secret? Find the customers who meet two simple criteria: They are good for you, and you are good for them.
Step Two: Identify Quality Suspects
To answer this question, each “suspect” company should be carefully vetted through pre-call research, and compared to a profile identifying what’s most important for your organization in predicting the probability of a sale.
-Matches your economic and strategic priorities
Once these questions have been answered for each suspect, the list should be sorted, and companies that don’t meet the “good for us” criterion should be discarded. The remainder will constitute your short list of potential prospects.
Step Three: Find Your High-Quality Prospects
-What’s our unique value?
Once the answers to these questions are clear, they should be linked or matched to each suspect on the list, and when a good match is found, that company should be promoted to the prospecting list.
Step Four: Select the “Quality Few” to Contact
The result of escaping the numbers game is to decrease the suspect-to-prospect ratio, increase the prospect-to-sale ratio, and achieve an overall increase in the value of each new sale.
Ed Tittel, a senior consultant with Wilson Learning. His extensive experience ranges from sales executive, to facilitator and consultant, to project manager and instructional designer. His work includes solution creation for Wilson Learning clients and the design and development of client programs and Wilson Learning brand offerings with special expertise in the sales arena.
Carl Eidson, Ph.D., VP, Business Development, Distributor Network, Wilson Learning. Eidson leads and coaches a virtual team of over 100 independent distributors stretching from Toronto to Buenos Aires. His articles are published in scholarly journals and business publications. Eidson is a frequent speaker at professional conferences.
To learn more about them call 1.800.328.7937 or visit www.wilsonlearning-americas.com
In This Issue
June / July 2010
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