By Eric Warner, President
Praxis Growth Advisors, Inc. | Sandler Sales Training in Boston
Close to 15 million people lost their chance to win a billion dollars last week playing Warren Buffet' s billion-dollar NCAA bracket challenge. Not many people realize how hard picking a perfect NCAA bracket actually is to do. There have been several attempts to assess the odds. Math experts believe it is some where between 1 and 10 pentillion and 1 and 9.2 quintillion. I am not even sure those are real numbers! However, after the first set of games only 5% of the entrants still had a chance to win and midway through round one no one remained with a chance to win a billion dollars! Who says Warren Buffet doesn’t know how to make money and assess risk?
In many ways not winning the lottery or this crazy hoop challenge leaves us with the same empty feeling we get after prospecting for new clients.
Yes, I actually did just make that connection. Think about it for a moment, many of us look at prospecting like we are out to find that one big deal that will make our numbers or land that whale of a client – hit the prospecting lottery. As a result we put huge amounts of pressure on ourselves to get it right. But, what does "getting it right" actually mean? Is it closing a deal, getting an appointment or just not getting hung up on? It's very rare that anyone closes a massive deal during the first phone conversation. (and that’s the way it should be…) It’s probably about the same odds as picking a perfect NCAA bracket!
So before you get yourself all stressed out about prospecting, think about what you are really trying to accomplish. Are you simply looking for a reason to continue a discussion, or to uncover a need, or get a referral, or an understand who actually makes a decision to purchase your offering?
Your odds of achieving success increase exponentially when you thoroughly understand what you want to achieve. The odds go up even higher when you structure your process to hit realistic goals rather than dialing away just to make the pitch and hope that the reaction on the other end of the phone turns into a close.
I’d like to suggest some tips to improve your prospecting odds:
- Know the basics about whom you are calling
- Set realistic goals like simply finding out if they actually have problem you can help them solve
- Find out who the corporate decision maker is so you know you are interacting with someone with power to act on your recommendations
- Know your odds to hit your goals (how many dials do you really need to make)
- Relax! Prospects are uncomfortable when you are uncomfortable.
- Remember, you aren’t selling anything – you are looking for an opportunity to have a discussion.
- Don’t get emotional – what you have isn’t for everyone so be patient until you find those who will benefit from using what you have to offer.
What are you doing to focus your prospecting and engage new clients?