There may not be anything more distasteful in the entire realm of business than prospecting. For most, it is painful, unfruitful and down right unpleasant. It is usually done under extreme inner protest, and done extremely poorly. It is any wonder that it produces disgusting results? The big culprit in all this misery over prospecting and marketing comes from not understanding the process and having a wrong perspective of it. Far too many professionals view it as begging people to do something they do not want to do and finding great pleasure in slamming the door shut in our face.
Okay, maybe they don’t articulate it that way, but I promise you that is the mechanics going on inside their noodle. Rejection is always painful; I do not care how tough you say your skin is, or how much you say it does not bother you. Getting a No and rejection to your offer is like taking a straight kick to the McNuggets. It hurts even if you are wearing a Cup or don’t have any McNuggets to be kicked into your stomach!
The good news is there are some pro-active things you can do to soften the blow and pain, and in fact make prospecting a lot easier.
Prospecting is about…
Timing: Timing is everything. When we show up with our offer to people it is more about timing in their life than our selling skills. If the timing is right, you can sell hard candy to people with no teeth. If the timing is not right, you could be exchanging hundred-dollar bills for twenty-dollar bills and people will not take them. If you think I am exaggerating, I run a lot of sponsorship programs where we offer people $11,000 with no strings attached and hundreds refuse to take it! I used to think it was due to complete stupidity but I leaned its more about wrong timing for them.
Finding: Effective and successful prospecting is about people finding you and not so much of you finding them. It is about attracting customers, not hunting for customers. You must become visible in the marketplace so that your ideal customers can find and locate you. They are spending money on the exact same thing you are selling and they might as well spend it with you. And they will if they can find you.
Identifying: When you are prospecting you are really going into the marketplace to identify the people you can help, whose timing is just right and want what you are selling. When you go to the fruit section, do you just close your eyes and pick any fruit on the table? Hell no, you spend 10 minutes expecting, turning over, poking, touching, picking up, putting back and finally identifying the best ones to put in your basket. Do you put rotten, bug ridden fruit in your basket? No…then why are you accepting rotten customers for?
Eliminating: When people say No to your offer they are simply eliminating themselves from your target market list. You are eliminating them from your radar of ideal customers. When people say No, they are doing you a big favor, they are saving you time, energy and money. I had the best experience last Sunday when I went to the Flea Market. A vendor there had a couple of models I was interested in. When I asked him the price and he told me, I countered with an offer. He smiled and said, “No, but thank you for the offer”. I was so impressed with his come back reply, and one I never heard before that I paid him his asking price (then I grumbled to everyone the whole day that I paid too much for the item!). When I made my offer to him, he immediately identified me and basically but extremely politely and tactfully said “Your ass is out of here”!
When you understand these four dynamics about prospecting, not only does it become easier, but you will find it more productive as well as profitable. You will be marketing from an intellectual stand point instead of an emotional standpoint. I guess you could compare it to wearing a cup made out of iron instead of plastic…
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Don and Melinda Boyer