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Finding new customers is one of the hardest aspects of being a sales person. We call it prospecting. Let your mind wander. Imagine a filthy man toiling on a snowy mountain by a cold stream. He has a tin pan in his hand and is sifting sand in search for gold. The image is one of hard work with little or no gain. Let’s face it, many prospectors died in those mountains with nothing to show for their efforts. They died in an unforgiving world.
Prospecting in an Unforgiving World
As a salesperson or business owner, you can feel like the prospector sometimes. Day after day you feel the pressure to find the next client or sign the next deal. The pressure never goes away. One new client doesn’t remove the necessity to continue the search for more. You must find another, and another, and another. The repetition of prospecting and being told “no” can seem overwhelming. To many, it is this repetition that drives them from their business. It is not a lack of skill, knowledge, or resources. The fact that prospecting is difficult and unforgiving causes many to give up their dreams.
They settle for an easy path leading to mediocrity. It does not need to be this way.
Love the Process
In their book, The Prosperous Coach, Steve Chandler and Rich Litvin explain that to be successful you must learn to love the hard part of selling – Creating Clients. The product or service you sell is only part of your business. The other part is client-generation. I find it helpful to think of it in these terms. Prospecting is the process of creating a client. It isn’t the process of making a sale. It isn’t the process of generating revenue. It is the process of meeting new people, discovering their needs, and building relationships with them. By doing this, you demonstrate that they can trust you and you can help them.
But to do this, you must focus your efforts few key items.
- Know your client
- Know your purpose
- Know and trust your process
- Know Your Client
I have one or two people in mind when I write every blog post. The first person is the entrepreneur or small business owner who has grand dreams and passion. He is looking for resources and people who can provide clarity, wisdom, and direction. The other is the corporate business person aspiring to advance her influence and leadership within the organization. She envisions making a massive difference in her company, and she is open to a coaching relationship that is transformative. Can you describe your client with this level of precision? If not, get to work – you need to know your client.
Know Your Purpose
The advice to know your purpose may sound simple, but it is critical. This one element makes the difference between pushing forward and quitting. What is your purpose? Dream big for yourself and your client. What do you want to see come to reality in your life? What do you want to see come to reality in the life of your client? Your purpose should make you nervous. Its grandness should scare you. When you say it out loud, you should feel a growing sense of excitement and apprehension. It should be that big.If it is not, then it lacks the necessary emotional energy to drive you forward in the difficult times. So, what is your purpose? Does it move you?
Know and Trust Your Process
I plan to write more specifically in the future about the issue of knowing and trusting your process. For now, know that your focus must be on the process, not the results. In the forward to Executive Toughness by Dr. Jason Selk, Andy Hill writes about Coach Wooden. He says Coach taught “you don’t control the outcome, but you do control your preparation, you do control execution, and you do control effort.” Wooden believed that focusing on the process gave him the utmost control over the results.
I’m a process person. If I have a big project ahead of me and I fail to document the process necessary to complete it, then I become paralyzed with worry about the result. But, if I stop and prepare a process and then execute the process, the worry goes away and the results take care of themselves. Do you know your process? Do you execute it daily? If you do, then the clients will come and you need not worry about the result.
Know your client, know your purpose, and know and trust your process. Eventually, you will love prospecting!
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