10 Tips for Prospecting Success

by Jacques Werth

The ability to prospect efficiently, effectively and enjoyably will enable you to meet with prospects that need, want and can afford your products and services – now. Your confidence will soar and empower you to develop a consistently superior income stream.

1. Start with a highly targeted telephone prospecting list, consisting of people or companies that are most likely to buy your type of products and services. Use a highly reputable list broker to find such a list. Start with a list of no more than 600 names. You cannot afford to develop your own list; It is much too time consuming. If you already have a book of business, follow this prospecting process with your existing clients as if they are new prospects.

2. Call every name on your list every 3-4 weeks. Understand that only a small percentage of your list will be ready to buy the first time that you call. Many more will be ready each successive time that you call. People buy in their own time for their own reasons; not because you have to make a sale this week. Calling them frequently is vital to prospecting success.

3. Present a “prospecting offer” of no more than 45 words that clearly states who you are, what you are selling, and two features of your product or service. Finish up with “Is that what you want?” Each time you call, change the two features. That will prevent most prospects from getting annoyed. It will also eliminate most of the rejection that is caused by traditional cold calling.

4. If the prospect says “No” or “I am not interested,” you say “Okay, good bye.” Do not press for an appointment. Do not try to engage the prospect in a conversation or ask any questions. This will be the most pleasant sales call they ever get. It will assure that very few prospects will ask you not to call again.

5. Schedule your prospecting sessions for 3½ hours. Take a fifteen-minute break between each hour. This is more productive than five prospecting sessions of one hour each.

6. Tape yourself. Use a tape recorder with an open microphone to tape your side of each call. Start the tape when the prospect answers. Listen to how you sound. The goal is to hear yourself using your usual conversational tones. Do not try to sound like a professional salesperson. Do not come across as overly enthusiastic, unusually friendly, or enticing. Just relax and present your offer without persuasion.

7. Always be in a “Disqualification” mode. Be determined to spend your selling time only with High Probability Prospects. Disqualify Low Probability Prospects quickly and courteously. Don’t allow desperation or anxiousness to deter you from your mission. If the prospect says “Yes,” you ask “Why?” Let the prospect convince you that he/she is a High Probability Prospect.

8. Accept the fact that prospecting really is a “numbers game.” The most important numbers are your Dials per Hour and the ratio of prospecting Offers to Dials. Most agents dial at least fifty numbers per hour.

9. Keep accurate records of your prospecting sessions. We have trained thousands of agents to be successful prospectors. The most successful keep accurate records. The least successful don’t. The act of keeping records will enable your subconscious mind to constantly improve your results.

10. Most top producers make fewer appointments, but close most of the prospects they meet.

You can learn more about efficient, effective, and enjoyable prospecting by going to www.HighProbSell.com.

10 Tips for Prospecting Success

12 thoughts on “10 Tips for Prospecting Success

    1. Ted,
      Jacques normally recommends that your time is better spent calling the next person on your list, rather than taking the time to leave a voice message. However, a few prospectors have had some success with leaving voice messages. If you decide to try it out for yourself, remember to keep accurate records of your results. That’s what High Probability Prospecting is all about – keeping track of what actually works.
      Carl Ingalls

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  1. I found this old post and have been putting it into practice. Does a prospect disqualify themselves if they say, “We use ABC Company, we like them, and we’re never going to switch.”? It seems strange to call them back in 3 weeks after they say something like that.

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  2. Joseph,

    Prospects who say “no” in any form disqualify themselves, and you should end the conversation quickly and respectfully. Whether you can call them again or not depends upon two things. The first question is how much of your business the disqualification covers. The second question is whether the disqualification is temporary or permanent.

    If you used a broad prospecting offer that encompasses everything you sell, then the prospect’s “no” applies to your entire business. Unless you can offer something that is clearly outside of that scope, you have to wait a long time before calling the same prospect again.

    If you used a very narrow and specific prospecting offer that covers a small percentage of what you sell, and the prospect says “no” in a way that does not cover other things you sell, then you can call the same prospect again with a different offer in 3 to 4 weeks. To make this work, you need to have at least 6 different offers.

    Most of the time, “no” simply means “not now”. That is a temporary disqualification. When someone says they are “never going to switch”, then the disqualification may be permanent for everything your prospecting offer covers.

    I will ask Jacques Werth to respond to this.

    Carl Ingalls

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  3. Joseph,

    A prospect who says “no” is a name on your prospecting list that cost you less than a dollar.

    The value of your first phone call can only be estimated. It’s probably quite low.

    Whether you call the prospect again, or not, is a judgment call. In general, disqualification is usually a good strategy.

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  4. I’ll add this contribution to the conversation: I leave voicemails for VERY well-qualified prospects, generally people who are in my top two vertical markets. My company has very strong name recognition there and it is likely they will remember my call later or will call back if they have current need. The others I don’t bother UNLESS they are an active lead.

    I’m constantly amazed at so-called salespeople that do not know their prospecting “numbers”. That is, the number of qualified prospects they need to hit the sales goal, the number of sales meetings needed to find the right number of qualified prospects, and the number of phone calls/e-mails needed to schedule the right number of sales meetings. This should be ever-present in your thinking.

    With all of the technology today, I find it best to know EXACTLY how the customer will benefit from your product when you call the FIRST TIME. I’m not perfect on those assumptions, but I’m not picking up the phone unless I’ve thought for about a minute on exactly why I think they’re a good prospect. If I don’t have an answer for their situation, I don’t call. It’s that simple. I’d rather spend the effort contacting someone whom I can see buying our product.

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  5. Thank you all for the comments. So far I’ve made 441 dials and have made no appointments. My offer is “Hi, Bob, this is Joseph Schoolland with Populi. We have a student information system that is web-based and fully hosted. Is this something you want?”
    I’ve had some people ask for information and I email them a brochure.
    I work in the education industry, and almost all schools are registering students for classes right now and it is a very busy time. Most schools are not looking to buy anything this time of year.
    Is it safe to say that the reason I haven’t made any appointments is because 1) this is my first time through the list, and 2) this is just a bad time of year? Or is that a cop out?

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  6. Joseph, I suggest that you stop presenting that prospecting offer.

    It is very rare that anyone can design an effective prospecting offer without fully understanding the underlying principles.

    When you do have an effective offer, it’s also important to know how to present it.

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  7. Jimmy Mathew says:

    How does this work in a complex sales situation?

    Currently I sell pipes, fittings, valves and pumps for water transmission projects.

    There are four companies / organizations involved in the decision making.

    1/ The client, owns the pipeline – mostly a govenement department or govenement company.

    2/ Consultant, designs and oversees the construction of the pipeline.

    3/ Contractor, buys the materials and builds the pipe line.

    4/ The tender board of the government, decides which contractor wins the contract.

    The contractor is free to buy from any vendor listed in the “approved vendor list” of the client.

    How does high probability prospectng and selling work in this situation ?

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  8. Ian says:

    One thing confuses me. What do you do when you get a voicemail, or whoever answers says they are not in, they are busy, etc, do you still call back in 3-4 weeks? Call them back again until you get the decision maker on the phone? Then call back in 3-4 weeks if they say no? The reason I ask is with Caller ID, if you keep getting their voicemail, your number will be recognized, and you’ll come across as annoying or something along those lines. Thanks.

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    1. Ian –
      Yes, Call the prospect back again until you get the decision maker on the phone. Then call back in 3-4 weeks if their answer is no, but be sure to change the two features in your offer.

      If you get voice mail, hang up before the recording starts and it won’t capture your phone number.

      If you can’t ever get a prospect on the phone try to find their gatekeeper and treat that person with the same trust respect as you would the prospect.

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