Prospecting is where we have the opportunity to really face rejection. Nowhere in the whole sales process does rejection figure as highly as at this point. It is at this stage of the sales cycle that we really pay the price of success. If we have our daily goals, it can help make prospecting into a routine. Now is the time for us to decide whether we are in control of our own future, our own destiny or are we going to leave it all to chance?
It is no good being the world’s greatest closer if we do not have the discipline to make the calls. If we cannot control next week’s activity, then we have given up control of our future. It is not easy to face rejection. It is important for us to remember prospects are not rejecting us, they are rejecting their own problems. We may feel the brunt of it but it is their own responsibilities that they reject. Those of us who are the most sensitive to rejection are the best equipped to achieve the greatest and most lasting success.
We are left behind to struggle on to deal with rejection. The very sensitivity that makes rejection hurt is the same sensitivity that we need if we are to truly understand what our prospects are telling us. The sensitivity which makes rejection hurt is the same sensitivity which, if tuned in to what our clients are saying, will carry us on to the greatness we seek. The price of living on a high hill is learning to face the high winds which blow from time to time.
Our success is the result of a simple equation:
Appointments X %closed X average sale = Productivity
Our average sale and the percentage closed are factors which improve with practice. Better quality referrals will produce larger sales more easily. However, these transitions take time. The number of appointments we make is something we can change now. The sooner we increase our number of appointments, the quicker our closing percentage will increase and the larger our sales will become.
However much we increase our activity, the increase in our results will always be greater.
Making the appointments is our responsibility. It is part of the sales process and should only rarely be delegated. Referrals are too valuable to allow them to be wasted by a non salesperson. Another important factor to consider is the relationship between salesperson and prospect, the finely balanced duet, commences with the first call. We cannot and should not delegate this essential part of the sales process. The most important appointment we ever make is the appointment with ourselves to fill our diaries for the following week, we need time set aside just for prospecting.
Do not forget the frequent use of both his and the referror’s name. The sweetest sound a man ever hears is the sound of his own name. Whatever our prospect say, our response must be followed by a close. The purpose of the call is not to try to educate them, it is not for advertising or public relations purposes, it is not to sell a product or a service. It is to make an appointment. The more times we have the courage to close, the greater will be our success in making appointments. Do not fear about the ten minutes spent with the prospect, once we start asking questions, showing interest in them and in their business, they will give us all the time we need or we decide ten minutes is enough.
Where should the appointment take place? Our office or the client’s home or place of business? The most important point is not where the appointment is held, but that it is held, in a situation where the prospect feels comfortable and not under threat or pressure. If the prospect runs their own business, we should go to them and we can learn about a business just by seeing the owner in their own environment. In their own environment, they will be relaxed and tell us more than if they are uptight and nervous.
If the prospect is retired, with capital to invest, always hold the appointment in my office and it gives people confidence in our company when they can see and touch our place of business. It is not possible for every appointment to be kept but we can do our best to ensure the minimum are lost. Other ideas for keeping the blown out appointments to a minimum is simply to phone and remind them a couple of hours prior to each meeting.
(Adapted from “It Can Only Get Better – Tony Gordon’s Route to Sale Success”, Chapter 6: Hello George by Tony Gordon)