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Myths of Sales Prospecting

What Your Sales Mentor Never Told You

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Business man looking towards the city.
Tim Robberts/ Stone/ Getty Images

Sales prospecting is a key activity for most sales driven small businesses. Take the time to revisit your assumptions about sales prospecting...the results will surprise you.

For years, I dreaded the prospecting part of sales. The constant rejection was excruciating until I learned the myths toward sales prospecting.

The 5 Myths of Sales Prospecting

Myth #1: Prospecting is sales.

This is the number one mistake made by small business owners and sales reps. Prospecting is a separate function from sales. Just as marketing is distinct from sales but closely linked.

Prospecting is simply discarding all the unqualified leads and retaining the "gold". The job of prospecting is to find qualified leads that may buy your product. Only after this process is complete, should the selling begin.

Myth #2: Prospecting is a numbers game.

The old school of prospecting for business relies on contacting large numbers of cold contacts. However, quality supersedes quantity. You must find prospects that have a propensity and possible motive to buy your product or services.

I know of a large financial powerhouse, who provided sales reps with contact lists for mortgage and investments. The only problem was most prospects lived in a low income area and were highly unlikely to buy any financial product.

Myth #3: Scripts are for kids.

Many sales people insist on prospecting without any script. Scripting provides the framework of a successful prospecting campaign. It allows you to test what key benefits and qualifying questions work. The script must be personalized by the individual so the presentation does not sound "canned".

Myth #4: Prospecting takes time.

Prospecting takes only a few minutes to determine if the lead wants your benefits and can afford your company's product or service. Don't waste time on people unmotivated or unable to buy. Remember to focus on the "gold".

Myth #5: Close them on the appointment.

Far too many sales reps focus on setting the appointment. "Would Friday morning or afternoon, be better for you?" Next week only 20% of appointments show. What went wrong?

Prospects will sometimes find it easier to agree to an appointment rather than saying they are not interested. If a prospect is remotely interested, then offer a much subtler approach...send them an information package. This allows you to build interest and turn the lead from warm to hot.

Sales prospecting done right can have a huge impact on your sales revenue. It doesn't take an armor suit and great courage to deal with the fear of rejection during prospecting. Just keep an open mind to challenge the old school of sales and the myths of prospecting.

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