A key for prospecting success:
There are three simple rules I use for prospecting success in the competitive insurance industry:
1. Get out and see the people.
2. Get out and see the people.
3. Get out and see the people.
–Raymond J. Gorzinski
The first major step in the sales process is the step of prospecting. Prospecting is a process of looking up and checking out all possible sources for leads. Some sales professionals in the industry classify prospecting as one of the least appealing tasks of the selling process because they have not practiced this step properly and have not learned the its value. Sales professionals must learn that the step of prospecting is essential for their growth and survival.
Prospecting is very similar to detective work. A detective learns to consider everyone associated with the crime as a suspect; each person is potentially a valuable lead in finding the person who committed the crime. Sales professionals also must look at everyone in the realm of their activity as a suspect or a lead. Detectives gather information and clues to find their suspect list so that time will be spent on the alibis and motives of those with the greatest chance of having committed the crime. A sales professional refines and reduces a list of suspects to create a good list of prospects with a better than average chance of buying. Prospecting creates a list of potential buyers that will later be reduced through the second step of selling, which is “qualifying.”
Prospecting is not only the first step in the sales process, but is also a very important step. The first illustration of this chapter points out that prospecting accomplishes two main tasks: First, prospecting develops a list of new leads or potential buyers. Most companies lose between 15-20 percent of their customers each year. Some reasons for this reduction are customers that go out of business, move away, switch to a competitor, cease to qualify financially, go into another line of business, or simply no longer has the need, want, or desire. A sales professional must replenish the list daily so that he or she can spend time giving presentations. If you do not make prospecting a daily habit, your prospecting list will soon dry up. Second, prospecting produces a steady stream of sales for the future. The continued use of prospecting is a “must.” Your attention to this step will provide you a work schedule for the future. Prospecting takes time and must be worked into your weekly schedule to help secure prospects for future presentations and sales. Successful sales professionals commit one hour a day to prospecting so that a constant list of sales are generated.
➫ Develop a list of potential buyers.
➫ Produce a steady stream of sales.
As you become engaged in the step of prospecting, there are several terms that will become part of your daily vocabulary. The term prospect generally refers to any person who is interested in your product. The term lead refers to one who wants, can afford, and can benefit from your product, but is not yet qualified. Whether you use the term prospect or lead, you are referring to a potential buyer who may be interested in your product. The term referral simply means a lead or prospect given to you by someone else. The last term, a hot prospect, is a qualified person who is ready to buy. A hot prospect would be a car buyer who has just walked into a dealership and quickly identifies the car the buyer wants and has the cash to pay for the car on the spot. These types of customers are the ideal ones that come your way every month or so.