CCA 6.4 Lesson 4: Developing a personal prospecting system

You need to consider a couple of items when developing a personal prospecting system for your product and company. A good prospecting system depends on many items like the sales professional, the product, the company, and the territory or environment. When putting together a prospecting system, avoid prejudging prospects. You will be surprised at how many people you have marked off your list that would purchase your product if approached. Attempt to tailor-make a combination of prospecting methods that serve you best. Use trial and error in the beginning, and try all methods and eliminate the unsuccessful ones. Keep accurate records of the methods you use. Find those methods that best fit your personality and product. Converse with other successful sales professionals in your industry and determine what is working for them. The most important concept to remember is that the most productive prospecting systems involve using the name of another person. The key element in prospecting is people, people, people. The human influence is the strongest tool you have.

Customize a personalized prospecting system that considers the following:

Your personality.

Your selling strengths and weaknesses.

The product you are selling.

The industry you are competing in.

What other successful sales professionals are using.

Past history and experiences in prospecting.

Trial and error in experimenting different methods.

Examining leads and prospects to determine if they might be potential buyers is known as qualifying. In all the salesmanship books we have read and reviewed, the area of qualifying customers is one of the selling steps that is least covered. If a sales professional does not spend sufficient time in qualifying prospects, valuable time and money will be wasted. At a selling seminar several years ago, and it was disclosed that the average professional sales professional spends around only one hour a day giving presentations. All the rest of the time is spent looking for new customers and servicing present customers. Many people spend this precious hour giving presentations to people that do not end up buying. To save you time and money and increase your productivity, learn how to qualify your prospects so that the one hour a day giving presentations will be a good return on your investment.


The quality of prospects is more important than quantity. Let me use an analogy between a sales professional and a prospector seeking valuable ore. Some mineral deposits may be five to ten times as rich as others. This is true with a prospect list–one list may contain 10 percent good prospects while another may contain 25 percent or more. The difference between the two is in the care and intelligence with which the sales professional qualifies each potential buyer on the list. These potential buyers are not merely names–they are people like you and me. They have the same types of needs that we do. Some are more likely to buy than others. Successful sales professionals will qualify and evaluate each name on their prospecting list before placing it on the list of people to see and then attempt a sales presentation. Qualifying, if done correctly, will save the sales professional valuable time and money.