Are Some Prospecting Calls Just a Waste of Time?

SQC smallProblem:  Jenny came to sales training class one morning and asked the class to assess what had gone wrong on a sales call that she had made the week before.  She was frustrated that she had spent 45 minutes on one call with no results.  She explained the call in detail and after a short, but very focused Q & A, it was determined that the “suspect” she had spent her time with was not a good prospect after all.  Jenny reluctantly agreed, but said that this happened more than she liked, and lamented that “some prospecting calls are just a waste of time.”  With that admission, she received much sympathy from some class members who agreed with her perspective on prospecting.  Jenny admitted that her prospecting activity had declined in recent months and that she was no longer the leading salesperson in her region.

Analysis:  Depending on the industry you’re in, some, perhaps even many, prospecting calls lead to a dead end, to be sure.  Unfortunately this perceived “failure” can lead to the conviction that prospecting efforts are indeed a waste of time.  That perspective starts to affect the salesperson’s attitude.  What becomes perceived as a reality can become a self-fulfilling prophecy, and slowly but surely the prospecting activity starts to decline, and with it the sales results.

Solution:  Don’t permit “unsuccessful” prospecting calls to affect your attitude about one of the most important functions in selling. Nobody bats a thousand and in selling it’s the number of attempts that’s important. Every prospecting call pays dividends.  An old trick they used to teach in insurance sales was to keep track of the number of prospecting calls made and divide it into your income.  While the results would vary by salesperson, one might easily find that every call was worth ten or twenty dollars.  So if you knew that you were actually “getting paid” for each call, no doubt you’d be inclined to make more calls.  Remember, every time you dial the phone to make a cold call, you make an investment in your success.  Every call pays dividends.  Now go make some cold calls.

Good Selling!