In this challenging market today, consistent and sometimes aggressive prospecting will be key to keep your business moving forward. The idea of aggressive prospecting is hard for most sales and marketing guys to swallow. In a good economy, prospecting was easy. A sales guy didn’t have to do it! Instead, the office fed him quality leads all day long. If he was good, he’d close the deal 50+% of the time and continue this cycle. Now, being a salesman is a tough business, and it takes years of training and doing to become an expert. But, being just a good salesman isn’t enough when faced with difficult times.
Lesson from History
Years ago, during and after the Great Depression, prospecting, lead generation and closing was all the same thing. A salesman had to hit the streets, knock on doors, make cold visits and calls and learn all about rejection to make a sale. If he did not prospect he made no money. We can learn something from that era: aggressive and diligent prospecting works! If you want to keep ahead of your competition and grow your business in a down economy, you need to have a prospecting plan. You need to get outside of your comfort zone.
Where to Begin
To begin a prospecting plan in your service business, start by hiring the right people. Make sure they have NO head trash and are comfortable making phone calls and meeting new prospects. Once you find the right people, give them the proper training to refine their skills, agree to a good commission or salary and send them to the streets. Their goal is to meet and greet potential prospects that would be a good fit for your business and sign them up for an estimate or meeting.
If you already have a seasoned salesman who produces great results, he might make a good prospector. You will just have to break him down a bit and get him use to the idea of aggressive prospecting. In this market, you need “all hands on deck.” All your employees must pull their own weight too. If they are not onboard asking for referrals or selling additional work, replace them. You are building a team, a loyal team. Your job as the owner or business manager is to motivate, encourage, track results and reward for a job well done.
The bottomline is this: if your company is consistent in this market to actively look for work, outside your normal source of leads, you will sail ahead of your competition and leave them fighting an endless battle of survival. Be a maverick!