The new year brings with it resolutions, fresh goals and perspectives, and if you’re like most businesses, increased sales objectives. In an economy that has made sales much more challenging, you can find the ever-elusive hot prospect, and it’s probably not where you think.
Just like there are only six degrees of separation between you and every other person on the planet, there are only six degrees of separation between you, current clients and your hot prospects. You can uncover hidden prospects by looking three degrees in either direction of where you are right now.
Here are some tips to find hot sales prospects:
1. Use the three-foot rule to increase your prospecting awareness.
The idea is to talk to anyone who is within a three-foot radius and find out what they do. You’d be surprised how many leads you can find by talking with people. The same is true on planes. People in close quarters for hours are good audiences. Give a quick, 30-second introduction of who you are and what you do, and see if they are interested in chatting.
2. Sit in front of your current customers and find out who else they know.
Find out their top three suppliers and top three customers. Going two or three degrees away from the customer can usually generate additional leads that are similar to your current customers.
3. Look at the sales rookies.
Veteran salespeople sometimes haven’t prospected in years, but new salespeople do not have the luxury of relying on their little black books. Oftentimes, these new prospects have to work harder at finding leads, so they are knowledgeable about where to look. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Check with other salespeople within your company and your industry. Most salespeople have 10-15 sources for finding prospects.
4. Understand how many new customers you have to talk to in a month to get to your end goal.
To do this, you just need to reverse your sales funnel. You need to know how many sales meetings you need to reach your quota, and you know how many conversations you need to have in order to reach your sales objectives.
Stop managing your quota and start managing your prospecting plan. Start managing your sales funnel, and the results will come.
Dave Mattson is the CEO and a partner at Sandler Systems, Inc., an international training and consulting organization headquartered in the United States. Since 1986, he has been a trainer and business consultant for management, sales, interpersonal communication, corporate team building and strategic planning throughout the United States and Europe.