Are You Guilty Of Cherry-Picking Prospects?

Why would you spend ages researching who to ring and put them into your diary for calls today, only to filter through them just as you’re about to ring? Sounds crazy doesn’t it?

Saying to yourself “he won’t be in today, I’ll call him next week”, “He’s just back from holiday, better not disturb him yet, he’ll be busy”, “hmmm, that would be some good business for me but I’m not ready to ring them yet, I’ll make a coffee first” and so on is just procrastination.

So why do you think this is?

Having worked with thousands of salespeople and business owners around the area of cold calling and sales in general it seems to come down to a number of things:

Reason Number 1 – Lack Of Confidence In Your Cold Calling Abilities

How do you feel when you know you’re about to pick up the phone? Enthusiastic? Motivated? or more like nervous? Afraid?

Reason Number 2 – A Poor Prospect List

You’ve got hold of the data somewhere and anywhere will do – there’s been no research done into the company or any initial call to find out the name of the decision maker, let alone any idea if this company is even a prospect for what you offer.

Reason Number 3 – The Last Call To This Prospect Was Rubbish

The last call to this prospect was really bad wasn’t it? So bad in fact that you’ve been procrastinating about calling them for days, or even weeks and months. It’s been in your call-back list for ages and you keep moving it back in your diary because you remember how the prospect treated your call last time – and you’d hate to go through that again, wouldn’t you?

Reason Number 4 – You’ve Already Decided That This Call Is Going To Be Terrible

You’re worried about this call aren’t you? Something is stopping you making it and you’re imagining it’s going to go very badly. Perhaps due to one of the above reasons, or it might also be that the prospect would represent a very good deal for you and you’re frightened of messing it up if you don’t do it properly?

Successful athletes talk about the value of “visualisation” or “mental rehearsal” – a process where they visualise the event happening in their mind, before it actually takes place, and see it happening perfectly – exactly as they wanted it.

What we tend to do when it comes to cold calling, or even warm calling, is what I call “negative visualisation” – we see the event happening, but always predict the result to be terrible. That would include not getting through to the prospect, them not seeing value in what you offer, having the phone put down on you.

When we cherry-pick prospects, we’re usually only making the easy calls, the ones where we feel most comfortable with the people on the other end of the phone! In fact, we’ve probably got a few favourite clients haven’t we? The ones we can call for a chat so we can feel like we’re doing something to develop our business, rather than avoiding calling – but they never seem to buy any more from us?

This is exactly the same as field-sales people doing what I call the “Tea and Biscuit Tour” – calling on existing clients or prospect they get on well with, usually for a drink and a chat, in order to avoid walking into potential new clients or trying to win new business.

Cold calling, or any kind of calling for that matter, is about energy – keeping up the energy and enthusiasm from one call to another. Which means you have to make call after call after call so you’re in the flow or the “zone” as an athlete would call it.

If you’re wasting time between calls – cherry-picking prospects, searching through the database, playing with your email, making coffee – you’re probably not aware of how much it is affecting your calls, or the results from them.

In summary, the big lesson in this article is – never cherry-pick your prospecting or cold calls – The next person you ring could have an order waiting for you or be giving it to someone else if you don’t make the call!

Follow the tips above and watch your sales soar! I look forward to hearing how you get on.


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