Megan is a National Sales Trainer for a global technology company.
What Is the Most Effective Prospecting for Beginner Sales Reps?
As social media has become more and more popular in terms of prospecting, you may be asking yourself which method is most effective when it comes to generating the most opportunities.
As an account executive turned National Sales Trainer, getting to the bottom of that common sales introspection was critical to how I taught new hires to build their business. The last thing any sales leader wants is for their entry-level sales reps getting used to an ineffective method, becoming discouraged, and inevitably leaving the organization.
If small and medium-sized businesses fall into your category of prospects, researched in-person prospecting is still the unmatched method of choice. A true sales professional can create a compelling case for further interaction with a simple, quick presentation on a cold call that can rapidly lead to a meeting, and possible close.
How Much Activity Does It Take to Generate Meetings?
Sales reps with no experience will build a pipeline by generating a lot of activity within their territory or vertical market. In fact, for beginner sales reps, it may take 20–25 touches before you find yourself in front of the right person. However, if you have no value to add and you are not confident in your skillset, product, or services, it will be incredibly obvious to most everyone you interact with. The key to avoiding this awkward situation is to train and be the expert in consulting and what you have to offer.
Practicing with your peers your presentation, handling objections, etc. is the only way to become the master of your craft, and the kind of partner your clients deserve and will pay to work with. Beyond the cold call, the follow-up is everything, as on average you have 19 in-person interactions a day that had no progression on the initial call. Utilizing email, phones, social media, and networking is important here.
I've broken it down to Seven Touches to a Meeting:
- In-Person Sales Call
- Follow up email, same day
- Follow up phone call, next day
- LinkedIn Connection with message, same day
- Follow up email, next day
- LinkedIn follow up message, just send "Any Interest?"
- Handwritten Note
If you work your way through those seven touches, and you still do not receive any interest, you can feel good about giving that client space, and then revisiting the organization in a month.
Talented Sales Professionals Consistently Generate New Business
Truly talented sales professionals generate new business- period. Upgrading and maintaining current clients certainly takes technique, but not discovery. There is nothing like discovering an opportunity on your own, and using a question-based, consultative process to identify if there is an opportunity and following that through from the cold-call to the close.
The only true way to identify new business and keep competition minimal is to discover the opportunity yourself and to use a structured, consultative process. The key is to create urgency, by identifying pain and using that to speed the process along. The key is to have a selling strategy that appeals to both positive reward and risk aversion buyers.
It takes dedication and a good momentum to be consistently identifying new prospective clients—in fact, without a structure to your process, it will always be a guessing game and you'll always be spinning your wheels. The goal is to create a consistent, predictable income for yourself. The only way to be consistent at generating new business is to apply a tried and true process and stick with it day after day, even as you experience rejection.
When you are in a new industry or new to sales, it is important to understand the law of averages that helps you predict what your closing ratio will be. Typically, 20 in person cold calls = 1 new in-the-market prospect = 5 in-the-market new prospects per week = 20 in-the-market prospects per month. On average new sales reps close one in five opportunities.
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As new sales reps gain experience and understanding, the closing ratio will become greater, and it will take less activity to generate the same amount of sales.
The key to building enough endurance to find your momentum is to find your "Why?". The answer to the question "Why do I do this? Why do I work?" and holding on to that when you are feeling rejected and want to give up. To a seasoned professional, rejection is just a part of the sport, and after a while it will not have as much of a negative effect.
If you can celebrate your daily wins, such as uncovering a new opportunity or having a successful meeting, it will be easier to stay positive and keep going.
How do you structure your day to prioritize prospecting, and how do you stay motivated when you face multiple rejections?
Prospecting Method of Choice
This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.
© 2018 Megan Metcalf
Jeff McElwee on May 13, 2018:
“To a seasoned professional, rejection is just a part of the sport, and after a while it will not have as much of a negative effect.” Fantastic.
rogerskurt1 on May 11, 2018:
Megan, this article was well thought out and very helpful! I also am a strong believer that you can't match the benefit and experience created with face to face interaction.
Kerri Goff on May 11, 2018:
Nailed it! Great article Megan!
Cynthia Guzman on May 10, 2018:
I enjoyed reading your article, great job!