Fanatical Prospecting Notes
Thesis: To be successful in sales, you need to be constantly prospecting (finding qualified leads and engaging them) using telephone, email, in-person, social media, and text messaging channels. Over time you will become more efficient at using these channels and prioritizing which ones are most important to your business, but the most important thing is to be persistent in your efforts and continually improving.
Chapter 1: The Case for Prospecting
Summary: Prospecting is hard, that's why only the most successful sales people do it.
Chapter 2: Seven Mindsets of Fanatical Prospectors
Summary: Fanatical prospectors are optimistic, competitive, confident, relentless, thirsty for knowledge/self-improvement, systematic in their efforts, and adaptable.
Chapter 3: To Cold Call or Not to Cold Call
Summary: Sales is about interrupting people. That's why prospecting is hard; we naturally don't like interrupting other people and look for excuses not to do it.
Chapter 4: Adopt a Balanced Prospecting Methodology
Summary: Learn to balance the various channels at your disposal for prospecting.
The relative distribution of your time investment in each prospecting methodology should be based on your unique situation."
This may include factors like...
- Industry vertical
- How long you've been working the "territory"
- Resources (premade lists, inbound sources, etc.)
- Experience level
Find out what the top salespeople in your organization are doing to generate qualified prospects.
Chapter 5: The More You Prospect, the Luckier You Get
Summary: Consistent prospecting is the most important aspect of sales success and avoiding sales slumps.
The Universal Law of Need: the more you need something, the less likely it is that you will get it. Other people can sense your desperation.
The 30-Day Rule: The prospecting you do in the 30-day period will pay off for the next 90 days.
The Law of Replacement: You must always be getting new opportunities into your pipeline to replace opportunities that naturally fall out.
If your close rate is 10%, that means for every deal you close 9 others statistically will fail. You need to be finding 10 new prospects for every one you close to make sure your pipeline is staying full.
Sales Slumps typically start when someone forgets the 30-Day Rule and stops prospecting, so even if their pipeline was full, the Law of Replacement means they are soon just talking to dead leads. As they fail in these conversations, they get more desperate and have less success due to the Universal Law of Need.
To escape a sales slump, start prospecting. "It is far more important that you prospect consistently than that you prospect using the best techniques."
The more I practice, the luckier I get.
Chapter 6: Know Your Numbers
Summary: The better you track your sales activities, the more you can keep yourself honest and improve your outcomes.
You will never reach peak performance until you know your numbers and use [them] to make directional corrections.
Efficiency: how much activity you generate in the time allotted to a given prospecting activity. Effectiveness: how many of your activities are successful.
Efficiency x Effectiveness = Performance
(Blount says Efficiency + Effectiveness = Performance, but this doesn't really make any mathematical sense. His definitions here are also semantically a bit weird.)
Chapter 7: The Three Ps That Are Holding You Back
Summary: Procrastination, perfectionism, and analysis paralysis are holding you back. Now is the time, just do it, don't over think it.
Chapter 8: Time (The Great Equalizer of Sales)
Summary: Take responsibility over your time management, use time blocking (dedicate specific hours to specific activities), learn to delegate better, and don't multitask.
Golden Hours: Time blocks dedicated to prospecting and customer engagement. Ex: a call block where you dial prospects.
Platinum Hours: Time prepping prospecting lists, researching, managing your CRM, and otherwise preparing so you can focus solely on prospecting during your Golden Hours.
Delegation relies upon...
- effective and consistent communication
- following-up on tasks
- respecting your support staff (say thanks!)
Don't fall back into the trap of "if you want it done right, you've got to do it yourself." Calculate your hourly opportunity cost (= income goal/number of yearly Golden Hours) and delegate tasks accordingly.
Horstman's Corollary: work contracts to fit into the time allowed. Chances are you can get all the prospecting that took you a day done in a dedicated hour block.
Multitasking is the devil. During your call blocks...
- Only focus on dialing.
- Print your call list and take notes on it instead of logging in your CRM immediately.
- Turn off all notifications (mobile devices/email/Slack/etc.)
- Put a sign on your door.
- Block out your calendar.
- Do research/set call objectives before the call block.
Chapter 9: The Four Objectives of Prospecting
Summary: When prospecting you should be trying to either...
- Set an appointment
- Gather information/qualify
- Close a sale
- Build familiarity
Don't get distracted from these four goals, since they are the only things that will meaningfully move forward the sales process.
Examples of Objectives in Context Complex, high-risk/cost sales require discussion and familiarity, so your goals will be prioritized as appointment setting, information gathering, and increasing familiarity. Selling software consulting services, these are generally my priorities.
In contrast, in transactional low-risk sales you can focus on closing the sale immediately. When I was a kid getting started and did door-to-door sales for a farm CSA, I had to close people on the spot.
Setting an Appointment means getting a firm commitment for a specific meeting time. Ideally you have the person confirm a calendar invite while you're on the phone with them.
Gathering Information/Qualifying means collecting information that helps you avoid wasting time on ugly deals, ie those that are unprofitable, unqualified, not in the buying window, don't have a budget, or don't have an identified decision maker.
Don't swing at anything ugly.
- Gather information on prospects with no qualifying data
- Gain familiarity with qualified prospects not in a buying window
- Set appointments with highly qualified prospects
- Analyze your company's successful (and failed) deliveries.
- Identify trigger events that indicate opening of buying windows
- Create a profile of your ideal long-term, profitable, happy customer
- Develop qualifying questions based on this information.
1 - 5 touches to engage a prospect familiar with your brand and in the buying window. 20 - 50 touches to engage a cold prospect who does not know you.
Familiarity sells. Prospecting activities (calls, voice mails, social media invites/retweets, emails, meeting them in person) will increase familiarity.
Chapter 10: Leveraging the Prospecting Pyramid
Summary: The prospecting pyramid runs from a large base of low information/unqualified prospects to a pinnacle of highly qualified and detailed prospects who are in their buying window. Prioritize the top of the pyramid for your lists, but make sure you keep the pyramid proportional (IE keep feeding new prospects into your funnel).
|1. Unqualified Prospects||Gather info and qualify.|
|2. No Buying Window||Find buying window and get all stakeholder info.|
|3. Not in Buying Window||Nurture the lead to stay in front of decision makers.|
|4. Conquest Prospects||Best/largest opportunities. Engage on all fronts.|
|5. Inbound Leads/Referrals||Immediately follow-up to qualify and progress in the pipeline.|
|6. Highly Qualified Prospects in Buying Window||Top of your daily list to get an opportunity into the pipeline.|
Chapter 11: Own Your Database (CRM)
Summary: CRMs remember things for you. Use them.
Chapter 12: The Law of Familiarity
Summary: Familiarity builds the ground for future sales, so be consistent in these familiarity building activities but balance it appropriately with other prospecting activities.
Familiarity Threshold: The point at which a prospect wants to communicate and build a first-name relationship, even when they aren't interested in buying.
Ways to gain familiarity include...
- Consistent prospecting.
- Referrals/introductions: Ask for referrals from happy customers, friends/family/acquaintances, and professional peers.
- Networking: let people talk about themselves. Don't pitch them.
You don't go to networking events to sell...you are there to create connections with other people.
- Company/brand familiarity
- Personal Branding: speak in public often.
Chapter 13: Social Selling
Summary: Modern social channels primarily helps you get sales information and build familiarity en masse. It will likely not GIVE you sales, but will help inform and reinforce your other prospecting activities.
People don't want to be pitched...on social media. The prefer to connect, interact, and learn.
Tips on Social Media
- Choose social channels where your prospects hangout and you enjoy engaging them.
- Make sure your personal branding is enhanced by your social media presence. IE, avoid poorly written profiles/outdated pictures/unprofessional content.
- Post content that "educates, builds credibility, anchors familiarity, and positions you as an expert who can solve relevant problems."
- Don't post gated content that requires submitting contact info to access it. Instead, post a link to publicly available info on your site that includes links to gated content.
- Be consistent.
Essential Profile Content All this info should be updated regularly:
- Headshot: consistent across all social media channels.
- Contact Info: phone/email/website/etc.
- Human-readable URL: on platforms like LinkedIn that don't do this by default.
- Complete Profile History/Bio
Chapter 14: Message Matters
Summary: How to craft a message that uses emotional empathy to tie your prospect's problems to your solutions and make a direct ask for an appointment, introduction, or other prospecting objective in the process.
Prospects meet with you for their reasons, not yours.
Find the problems of your prospects and show that in your messaging.
Delivery matters: "A relaxed, confident, enthusiastic demeanor and tone will open doors." Utilize posture, positive self-talk, smiling while you talk, dress-for-success...whatever makes you more confident and enthusiastic.
Your message should be quick, transparent, and relevant to your prospect's problems.
WIIFM: Always be thinking from your prospect's perspective "What's in it for me?"
Differentiation aka "Why do my customers choose to do business with me?"
Blount's Messaging Model:
Intro: Hi Prospect, this is Jeb Blount from Sales Gravy. Quick and declarative identification. Reason: The reason I am calling is to schedule an appointment with you to show you our new sales onboarding automation software. Transparent reason for calling. Bridge: Many of my clients are frustrated because it takes too long to get new salespeople ramped up. Empathizing with prospect's problems on an emotional level to bridge into... Relevancy: Our software cuts onboarding time and costs of new sales reps by 50 percent, giving you peace of mind that your new hires will start selling fast. ...how your solution solves those issues. Ask: I have 2PM on Thursday open, how about we get together for a short meeting so I can learn more about you and see whether it makes sense to schedule a demo? Direct assertive ask to achieve your prospecting objective. Assertive asks succeed 70% of the time (vs. 30% for non-assertive).
People make decisions based on emotion first and then justify with logic.
Prospects want to feel that you get them and their problems (emotional and logical).
After your initial message and ask, shut up! You will feel vulnerable, but you must give your prospect room to answer.
No is not bad, either it's a reflexive brush off (RBO), in which case you can train to answer it, or an honest no, in which case you move on and save your time for receptive prospects.
"Some people count nos. They play a game to see how many nos they can get."
Chapter 15: Telephone Prospecting Excellence
Summary: The telephone is the most powerful sales prospecting tool; it allows you to reach more people more quickly than any other method. Some tips on how to adapt the messaging formula to the telephone as a medium.
Blount's Five-Step Simple Telephone Prospecting Framework
- Say their name to get their attention. "Hi Julie"
- Identify yourself: "My name is Alec Reynolds and I'm with Tandem."
- Tell them why you're calling: "The reason I'm calling is to set up an appointment with you."
- Bridge (because statement): "Because I saw that your company's website is hard to use on a mobile phone and thought that you must be frustrated losing customers from it. We've helped a some companies in your industry upgrade their sites to be mobile friendly and they're hearing good things from their users."
- Ask: "I thought the best place to start is a short meeting to review the painpoints you have with your website. How about we meet Tuesday afternoon around 3PM?"
Delivery: No pauses! Say the entire thing, then wait until they respond.
Timing Calling: Consistency over gaming. The best time to call is now, and everyday. That said, calling in the morning (first two hours of your day) can help you get over this unpleasant task first thing ("eating the frog").
When to leave a voicemail: "When it matters." Blount emphasizes that you should use it for "high-value prospects," since it adds precious time to your calling, but acknowledges it will depend on your sales campaign.
The structure is essentially the same as the call structure, with some minor differences:
- Identify yourself: Who you are and your company. "This is Alec from Tandem."
- Say your phone number twice. "My number is 510.463.4193. That's 510.463.4193."
- Reason for your call. "The reason for my call is to setup an appointment with you."
- Reason to call you back (hook). "I noticed your website has some problems on my mobile phone and wanted to connect you with some resources on how to fix those issues."
- Repeat your contact info: "Let's get together this week. Again my name is Alec Reynolds, give me a call back at 510.463.4193, that's 510.463.4193."
Chapter 16: Turning Around RBOs
Summary: "RBOs" (reflex responses, brush-offs, and objections)