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While recently working with a client, I noticed one of the participants was a bit troubled during the session. He seemed to be struggling with a few of the concepts we were working through. It's not that unusual given the topic - developing and executing a prospecting plan. That topic seems to wake up those little gremlins we have swirling around in our mind.

With some level of anxiety, he shared, "I'm really struggling making cold calls. I make them...I mean, I just force myself to suck it up and do it. But the truth is, I don't make nearly as many as I need to make. And they just don't seem to work. I'm just not good at it. I can make 50-60 dials and am lucky to set 1 appointment."

I asked him, "Why do you think that is?"

"I don't know...they just don't seem to work for me. I'm sure my attitude is part of my problem." I smiled. "You think?"

He then abruptly said, "I think I'm just going to stop making them."

I replied, "You certainly can do that. It's your choice. If you don't mind me asking, when you stop making calls, how will you book the appointments you need to reach your sales goals?"

"I dunno. I guess I'll just have to work harder in the other areas."

I probed, "Tell me about your goals around referrals. How many referrals do you ask for each week." He admitted that he didn't have one. "I'm not all that consistent when it comes to asking for referrals. I mean, I get referrals. But I guess I don't really have a goal for asking for them."

You'd be surprised how often I hear this sort of thing.

What it amounts to is a salesperson who is operating in reactive mode. Johnny-on-the-spot when the phone rings or someone calls to give a referral. But no proactive plan for outreach. It's akin to "aggressively waiting for the phone to ring."

A good prospecting plan is built around setting goals for the various behaviors that yield appointments and meetings. What are the prospecting activities that you can engage in to ensure your pipeline stays full? Write them down. Track them weekly. Set goals around them. Choose behaviors that you can control. Getting a referral? I can't control that. Asking for a referral? That's within my control.

Often, a simple plan is all it takes to energize and jumpstart your sales team.


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