5 Myths of Sales Prospecting

What Your Sales Mentor Never Told You

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Do you dread the prospecting part of sales? The constant rejection can be excruciating until you learn about the myths involved. Sales prospecting is a key activity for most sales driven small businesses, so all of us need to take time to understand the myths.

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.

There is 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 salespeople insist on prospecting without any script. Scripting provides the framework for 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 percent 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.

Take the time to revisit your assumptions about sales prospecting...the results will surprise you. 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, and you will see your sales funnel begin to grow.