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  • Rohit Akkewar

Prospecting, just like Boxing, is a contact sport.



Prospecting, just like Boxing, is a contact sport.


Boxing, a contact sport, needs you to be effective with every block, every punch and the way you maneuver. And to be efficient – you need to land those punches avoiding the opponent’s block.


Prospecting is for setting the appointment, qualifying, building familiarity, and when it makes sense, moving into the sales process right on the spot. You don't need brilliant scripts. You surely can do without complex strategies and you don't need to overcomplicate it.


To be efficient, you've got to get in, for as many prospecting touches as possible, during each prospecting block.


Just like in Boxing where you need to have a clear mind to avoid getting hit, landing those punches and get the KO or win by points.

Focused, time-bound and intense!


You have no time to waste on small talk or scripts (or emails) written by some dude in marketing who has never been within 50 feet of a prospect.

Get to the point, Ask for what you want, and Move on to the next touch.

Land a Punch - Set an Appointment


The most valuable activity in the sales process is a set appointment—no matter where you are in the pipe: initial meeting, discovery meetings, demos, presentations, negotiations, or closing meetings.


A punch must land to be counted for a point and give the advantage. To be absolutely clear, an appointment is a meeting that is on both yours and the client’s calendar, either in person or telephonic or on a video call. This should be a firm commitment.


Many salespeople confuse “Just stop by,” “I'll be here anytime,” and “Call me sometime” statements from their prospects to be a commitment for an appointment. That’s the prospect landing a punch on you.



Gather Information and Qualify


Some leads are unprofitable and unqualified. Mostly it happens when the prospect is not in buying window, doesn't have a budget, doesn't have an identified decision-maker, or lacks the ability to buy.


Qualified buyers are typically scarce, the time spent with a prospect who will never buy is very high when compared to the time spent finding prospects that will buy.


It all begins with gathering information during prospecting.


While setting an appointment should be your primary objective with prospects you have already prequalified as potential buyers, gathering information must be your primary objective with prospects you have not qualified yet.


As a salesperson, you should:

  • Set appointments with the prospects that are highly qualified

  • Nurture the prospects that are not yet qualified.


Define the Strike Zone


It is imperative that you define the ‘strike zone’.


Many companies (especially start-ups and small businesses), sales organizations, and sales professionals fail to develop a profile of a qualified prospect.


The profile should typically include — decision-making roles, account size, buying windows, budgetary windows, contractual obligations.


If you are a small company or a start-up, start by analyzing your product and service delivery strengths and weaknesses. Look for patterns and common aspects among your top or initial customers. Analyze the deals you are closing and gain a deeper understanding of key events that open buying windows and have transpired the sale.


This is called the Ideal Customer Profile.



Once you have developed the profile of your ideal customer, you can now develop the questions you'll need to qualify your prospects and ways and methods to identify the best opportunities (Qualified Leads).


In some cases, it makes sense to measure every prospect, lead, and customer against this profile.


When they don't fit, walk away.


Close the Sale


When you are selling low-cost products or services which are transactional in nature and you are able to generate value for the clients by prospecting via phone or in-person, your primary prospecting objective must be closing the sale right on the spot.


If you are prospecting via e-mail, text, or social channels, your primary objective is to convert that prospecting touch into a sales conversation that will lead to closing the sale.


When closing the sale is your objective, the prospecting interaction gets a bit more complicated because you've got to engage, qualify, and ask them to commit to giving up their time for a sales conversation right on the spot.




Final Thoughts


The bottom line is, if you don't have a plan and you don't know your objectives, your prospecting punches will be far less effective and you will waste time.


However, when you build more effective prospecting lists, with clear objectives, centered on specific prospecting channels, your prospecting blocks are easier, faster, more impactful, and generate far better results.



_________________________________________________________________________


The author is a Business Development and Inside Sales veteran with over 14 years’ experience and helps small companies with Inside Sales Consulting.


Book a free consultation session with him if you are facing challenges in setting up Inside Sales Teams, Sales Training, and Coaching.

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