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3 Winning Strategies for Prospecting

Right Prospects, Right Message, Right Attitude

By David Yesford(傅大卫)

Everything has changed in the current COVID-accelerated selling environment, putting pressure on salespeople just to make quota and continue to drive revenue for their organization. At the same time, nothing has changed with respect to the skill and discipline required to be successful at one of the most critical aspects of the sale: prospecting. You may have intensified prospecting efforts lately as customers have stopped buying, downsized, cut spending, or, in some cases, switched suppliers. The problem is that prospecting is often time-consuming, costly, 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.

The fundamental flaw in this strategy explains why most salespeople hate prospecting—they hear a very large number of “No’s” for every “Yes.” If the great majority of their calls are to people who have no interest in their offering, the time they spend has little effect other than to lower motivation and drive up the cost of sales.

Consider another set of numbers: As a rule, the 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.

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. —

David Yesford(傅大卫)

作为Wilson Learning 全球资深副总裁、亚太地区董事总经理,傅大卫有着30多年在全球范围内发展和实施人力绩效解决方案的经验。 傅大卫先生总能以其宝贵经验、策略方向和全球视角为客户和团队带来价值。多年来,他在Wilson Learning的核心领域——销售、领导力、e-learning和策略咨询业务上扮演着重要的角色。

傅大卫先生是多部书籍的合著者,其中包括《双赢销售》(Win-Win Selling),《灵活多变的销售人员》(Versatile Selling),《社交风格手册》(Social Styles Handbook),《销售培训2》(Traning Book 2)等。并在美国、欧洲、拉丁美洲、亚太地区的商业出版物中发表了多篇文章。他经常被邀请在国际性会议上做有关销售、领导力、员工和客户参与度提升、品牌和战略实施的演讲。