In this blog I will discuss the 3 thought processes you MUST practice to become a great prospector and sustain a full pipeline all of the time. Let’s dive right in.
1. Develop the practice of Convenient Amnesia
You must immediately forget the negative things that happen throughout your day. Dismiss them from your mind at once. They don’t pay the rent; so don’t give them any space in your brain. In other words, remove emotion from the equation while you are prospecting.
You can start your day over at any time, and the pros often do!
I don’t know how many times in my sales career I’ve started my day over. I’d sit in my car for a moment, maybe even put on a song that I like, refocus on the activity number and just start the day over. The only thing you should focus on while you are out there is the quality of your efforts and your daily prospecting goal. If your daily goal is to contact 50 prospects, well, then that’s exactly what you do. Work unconsciously while you’re doing the work; then, after your day is over, you can stop to analyze the results.
A gentleman named John Jamelkowski was the greatest real-life case study I’ve ever seen for this type of unconscious behavior. If you’ve heard me speak, read my book, or you follow the blog, you will recognize John’s name. He was my inspiration for the Chili Dog Epiphany. http://www.thecapequation.com/the-chili-dog-epiphany/
I spent a day in the field with John and it was a remarkable day. It’s a day I still think about today. I watched him go from door to door, there were plenty of people that didn’t bite, we even got thrown out of a couple of places…
”Didn’t you see the sign that says NO SOLICITATION?”
John’s emotions never seemed to falter and the expression on his face never changed. He was 100% committed to the task, doing the work and hitting his prospecting activity number. “We’re going to walk into 40 doors before we have lunch,” he instructed when we started the day, and that’s exactly what we did.
If you recall the story, we didn’t have a leisurely lunch that day. We wolfed down a few chili dogs in under 10 minutes, and that was our only break for the day. We worked until 6:00 PM that night. He was so focused on the quality efforts and his prospecting that nothing else mattered. He probably analyzed his results after the day was over, but he didn’t do it midstream. Amateurs stop their activities midcourse and second-guess themselves. Pros don’t do that. Pros work unconsciously and they stay in the middle. There is no emotion. If something negative happens they blow it off. They stay level.
2. The Metric Result Philosophy
This important practice is all about using the right labels, and when we are NEW, we often label things incorrectly and handicap ourselves. I’ve seen it over and over again in sales. We allow our negative and destructive thoughts to creep into the equation as we are pounding through the numbers. We allow the destructive labels to dominate our language and self-talk. We completely sabotage and short-circuit our energy with the wrong words and labels.
So, here’s how it works…
There’s no such thing as failure or rejection; there are only RESULTS.
Failure doesn’t exist. (Unless you want it to)
Let me explain that. If you don’t stop working and improving your skills and mindset each day you can’t (and won’t) fail. It’s not possible. Failure is a final thing, not an incremental thing. To “fail” at sales you have to walk away. Give up. Quit.
So, simply resolve that you won’t quit and, by default, that removes “failure” from the equation!
Instead of labeling something a “failure” simply label it “feedback,” or a result. It’s the feedback you need to move closer to more favorable results. Think of it this way, “yes” is a destination; “no” is how you get there. Every “no” gets you that much closer to a “yes”. By the way, there is a great book out, its title is: Go for No! Yes is the Destination, No is How You Get There. It’s a short read, but I love that subtitle.
Let me comment on the word we often use called, “rejection.” New salespeople often use this label and they use it incorrectly. Allow me to explain this. You’ll hear newer salespeople say, “I’m having a problem handling all of this rejection.” But that label doesn’t make sense. You’re not being rejected. They don’t even know you. They can’t possibly be rejecting you personally.
Your products and services aren’t being rejected either.
To completely and thoughtfully reject your products and services the prospect would first have to totally understand what you are offering them. If they actually took the time to completely understand your offer, they would have to say, ”Yes.” So, in many cases, they’re simply saying, “No” or “Not right now”, so that they don’t have to invest the time it would take to thoroughly understand your premise. So, they aren’t rejecting you or your products or services.
If you’re presenting and closing competently, then remove emotion and play out your string. What I mean by this is if you’re in a slump, if you’re out there and the results aren’t immediately happening (but you know you’re saying the right things and you’re saying them the right way), then let your string play out. Let the law of large numbers work for you.
When I was with the best selling author, Jack Canfield, for a mastermind session last year we had a sidebar conversation. Jack was commenting on The CAP Equation, remarking that he loves formulas and he dug what I was doing. He talked about a night when they were telemarketing for a seminar he was doing and they were dialing for dollars. He said they would close about one out of nine people they contacted on the phone. “We had one young man go something like 90 calls without a yes. Kind of unheard of,” he said. “And then the same guy closed 9 people in a row, also unheard of. This guy’s attitude never changed. He was playing out his string. In your example he was employing the Metric Result thing.”
Watch a short video of Jack Canfield and Joe B. discussing that subject by clicking this link: https://youtu.be/EtRRzG2ntLc
If you’re presenting and closing competently, if you’re asking for appointments proficiently and you’re selling the appointment-not the product, then simply play out your string. Remove emotion from the equation and let the Metric Result Philosophy work for you.
3. NEVER stop prospecting.
This is the final piece of this puzzle. After you build solid skills and a dependable prospecting system, and you trust your system, you never flip off the switch.
You pay a big deferred penalty when you stop prospecting.
Typically, 60 or 90 days after you stop prospecting, your pipeline will wind up bone dry. If you stop prospecting tomorrow, it’s not going to hurt you next week; it’s going to hurt you in 60 or 90 days. The funny thing is that there are typically only two reasons salespeople stop prospecting.
They either have too much success, or too little success.
When salespeople have too much success they sometimes freak out and stop prospecting, but they don’t tell anyone. Their manager has to be astute enough to say, “Whoa, what happened here? Where’s the activity?” The salesperson is thinking, “How can I handle all of these new clients I just created?” I think every sales manager would say, “Hey, that’s a good problem to have and we’ll help you with it. Don’t stop prospecting.”
The other reason salespeople sometimes stop prospecting is they have too little success. They lock up, become paralyzed and that’s really not the answer either. That’s when you actually need to play your way out of the slump. As long as you’re asking for appointments competently, if your mechanics are sound, then you actually need to double down. You need to shift it into a higher gear, put your foot on the gas, and go.
One last thing…
If we agree there’s always going to be some pain when prospecting, and if you’re new in your sales career or you’re restarting your your pipeline, wouldn’t it be smart to front load the activity and get through the pain quickly? This is an old saying:
“When running through hell, keep running.”
Okay, these are the 3 most critical paradigms regarding the prospecting process. Practice them and you will always have a full calendar.
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Joe Buzzello is a nationally recognized expert on direct selling and sales leadership. He has built legacy sales teams and experienced unprecedented success in individual and business-to-business markets as well as the network marketing industry. Joe has held executive level positions for Fortune 500 companies, but he has never strayed far from the art and science of selling, which he loves. In early 2014, Joe began writing, speaking, and coaching through his proprietary platform, The CAP Equation©. Please visit Joe at: http://www.CAPequation.com