9 Reasons Why Prospecting Does Not Work!

By Janice B Gordon | sales training

Jul 02
Stop Prospecting - Janice B Gordon

Stop prospecting! There is not a pot of gold, too many people have already mined here.

You need to rethink the goal of your prospecting endeavours? Is it to make a sale or to make a relationship with an unquantified purpose?

You might think, ‘why would you nurture a relationship without having an ulterior motive!’

Here is the reason why?

First, let’s drop the word prospects, you are not digging for minerals, you are working with people who are by nature individual and unpredictable, the buyer and decision-maker are your potential client relationships:

  1. Your prospects know you are prospecting, it does not feel authentic, and so buyers avoid sales calls!
  2. Prospecting suggests a ‘hit and run’ one-time event, after all, you would not dig in the same area twice!
  3. No matter how much research you do on your prospective buyer, things change, a relationship allows you the space to adapt to these changes.
  4. Your prospecting purpose is always opposite to your buyers; you do not want to be on opposing sides.
  5. If you do not have an ulterior motive, you are more likely to ask open questions and get honest answers.
  6. A quantified purpose can limit your opportunities.
  7. Your solution may be perfect for the buyer but not the decision-maker.
  8. If you let the cooperative relationship drive the pace, distance and destination, you will likely go further for longer.
  9. The fact is, buyers are in charge, and no amount of prospecting will change this.

All prospects are the same while every relationship is different!

A typical scenario is a crucial relationship in a company changes due to changing jobs, organisational restructures or a host of other reasons not in your control. Research suggests the average B2B purchase now involves 6.8 decision makers. Highlighting the danger of having one main relationship in a key customer account, and the importance of building multiple cross-functional relationships.

Scale Your Sales helps you develop trusted relationships and grow profitable partnerships to create predictable increasing sales.

There is a resistance to the sales presentation; however, there is little resistance to buyers and decision-makers talking about their perspective and concerns.  You must ask their permission to continue the conversation and find a way to take the tension out of each meeting. You need to stop selling and start attracting buyers and decision-makers that want to buy a solution to their unique problem.

If the ground is parched and the soil hard, it does not matter how many valuable seeds of insight you deliver, it is not going to grow until water the parched environment.  Water hitting the hard ground will initially run off, if you load it with water it will go to waste.  However, if you water little and often; eventually it soaks through the surface barrier and then the more water you give, the deeper it will penetrate.  It is only at this stage when the soil is moist and fertile that a seed you plant will survive. Prospecting is giving the seedling solution and planting it in hard ground.  Whereas, drip feed the relationship, allow your nurturing message to soak in and then the environment will be crying out for fertile insight.

Do you really know what is on your buyers and decision-makers list of concerns?

The better able you are at aligning your purpose with your buyer’s goal, the closer you are aligned to your buyer’s perspective and agenda.

Although solutions may be similar, the circumstances are always different.

You must aim to get the specific buyer to say “I did not know that” about something that is on their agenda. Then the buyer will want to find out more; you now have their attention, they are open to hearing about your ideas. The more you push your agenda on the buyer or decision-maker, the further they will withdraw.

Unless you are privy to internal meetings and individual personalities, you cannot know all their priorities and influencing factors to be able to present a sales solution right for any B2B buyer.  The level of personalisation required prevents this. Communicate that you are working with them to provide a solution that fit their specific needs.

Reach out to your network to help you refine your research. Your network can help you to understand the cultural and social circumstance and help you to engage at the right level with value adding solutions.

We are more interconnected than ever before. Now there is no excuse because connectivity tools are abundant. Utilise both personal and business networks for a professional, proactive relationship building. You would be silly not to leverage the power of the social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to build your connections and develop trusted relationships.

Stop selling start building relationships. The relationship will help you to present the right solution.

I talk about Scaling your Sales which show you the strategies on how to build your relationships into social partnerships, with strategic account management and social selling tools and techniques. Contact me for more ways to stop prospecting and start scaling your sales.

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About the Author

Janice is a Visiting Fellow at Cranfield School of Management. She is passionate about helping companies adapt their sales approach to the economic, social and technological challenges. This has led her to create the popular the sales enablement system, Scale Your Sales. Janice is the international Strategic Account Sales Speaker, author and consultant, achieving many noted accolades including Sage Top100 Global Business Influencer 2017. Contact Janice today about Scaling your Sales