We regularly hear from business owners and sales professionals “we haven’t got time for prospecting, we’re too busy delivering work to current clients” only to be followed a few months later with “we’re prospecting like mad at the minute because we’ve got nothing on right now”.
Call it feast or famine … boom or bust … all or nothing. For some reason people attribute prospecting to the times when they’re desperately searching for business instead of doing it from a position of strength when they’re really busy.
When you’re in need of the business you’re much more likely to visit a non-qualified prospect who’s shown a little interest or curiosity in your product/service. Only to find they haven’t got a budget. Or worse still, they just wanted to know your prices to beat down their current provider.
As a direct result of prospecting when you’re not busy your diary fills up with appointments of non-qualified prospects who you wouldn’t normally even approach. You then end up ‘winning’ business that isn’t profitable. You then need to find even more business. Meaning you’re more desperate. Meaning you’ll see more non-qualified prospects with less money in their budget, resulting in … you guessed it … more non-profitable work you don’t really want!
Imagine if you’d been prospecting when you were really busy. What’s your mind-set likely to be? Probably something like “I’m financially independent and don’t NEED this business”.
When you’re not desperate you’re much more likely to question why your prospect is so keen to see you. Do they actually have a problem that needs solving? Have they got a budget to fix the problem? Are they able to make a decision based on what you show them?
Buyers can smell desperation from a mile away.
Successful sales professionals realise that the best time to do your prospecting is when you’re really busy delivering work.
But most importantly they ask themselves “does this prospect DESERVE to be our client?”. And if they don’t, then they don’t. Shake hands and leave on good terms, instead of leaving with a deal you don’t even want!