TALKING SALES 38: "Prospecting Consistency"

John Smibert

Locomotive

Feed the furnace or lose momentum -  3 Minute interview by John Smibert. 

Dan SymonsIn this interview Dan Symons tells us why it is vitally important for salespeople to ensure they are consistent with their prospecting.

We all know that one key to our success depends on having a steady flow of opportunities working their way through our pipeline (we need to consistently feed the furnace); However it is all too easy to focus on mature opportunities and forget to fill the funnel until it is too late.

Dan outlines how we should plan and manage our prospecting time in order to ensure we are consistently and regularly topping up our sales funnel.

Dan Symons is a business development professional, an author, a sales mentor and coach.

                      See more of the 'TALKING SALES' series here

Interview:

John: Welcome back! I'm here again with Dan Symons. Dan's a business development professional, an author and a mentor in sales. Welcome back, Dan!

Dan: Thanks for having me!

John: Dan, we've talked about passion, and we've talked about prospecting, and I know one of the things about prospecting that you're very passionate about is consistency, that is forever being prospecting. Or not forever being, but making sure you are doing it consistently. Tell me why, what's the importance of doing that?

Dan: Well, one of the things you often find in sales is we panic about not having enough in our pipeline, to the point we're sitting in a hole in our pipeline; at that point it's actually too late. Depending on our sales cycle, we should have been prospecting weeks, months, sometimes even years beforehand to actually deal with that hole; sitting in it is actually too late.

John: It takes a long time for stuff to get through that pipeline, and if you haven't put anything in the top they haven't even started coming through, right?

Dan: Yes.

John: So, that's what you're talking about.

Dan: To me it's very much a case of... Like anything in life, whether we talk dieting or sales, is doing enough on a regular basis that a) we stay good at it and we don't lose the skill, and b) we actually smooth out the peaks and troughs of what goes on in our sales life. So, to me, around prospecting, it's something all salespeople should be doing regularly. The only thing that should vary is how much we do.

John: Dan, I laugh because it's easy to say.

Dan: Yes.

John: And I've got to say, as a salesperson the thing I really love is the cut and thrust of working on a deal with a customer and trying to work out how I get value for them, and I might have three or four deals going at once. It's very easy to forget that, you know, where's the next deal going to come from. How do you get that consistently? What do you have to actually do? Have you got any suggestions?

Dan: That example is quite right, because I think when we get busy we tend to de-prioritise prospecting, because we have got work in front of us; we've got a tangible customer, we've got a promise to deliver. What that comes down to though is the fact that we haven't treated prospecting seriously enough as a discipline, to schedule time in our diary aside, to make sure we do it and treat it with the seriousness it needs to be done. It's ultimately why we're hired by our employers, is to go out and find business.

John: So, you're saying is to get a commitment in your diary on a consistent basis - weekly, monthly, whatever it is that makes sense.

Dan: Yes. A lot of people I talk to, I say "Have time in your diary on a weekly basis, to follow up on prospects and make new prospect calls." Because, invariably, if you don't do it, you will sit in a hole, and wish you hadn't, at some point.

John: Great advice, Dan - thank you very much!

Dan: You're most welcome!

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