You can’t solve today’s revenue needs with yesterday’s prospecting methods and if you’re using yesterday’s prospecting methods, you are creating a problem for you (and your team) in the future. Customers were already searching and buying differently before the pandemic and have significantly changed during the pandemic.
Prospecting, like everything else, needs to evolve – or suffer extinction.
How will you change how you find and engage potential (new) customers?
How will you identify customers today (when they need it) versus using year-old data (when business conditions and needs were different)?
What can you offer that they cannot find themselves?
In today’s prospecting world, playing it safe is ensuring you have more competition and less chance of success.
For me –
I would rather be removed from consideration for being bold and creative than play it safe and fight for survival as a commodity.
This applies to developing a proposal, how to approach a presentation or, even an interview.
Distance yourself, your brand, and expectation from the competition.
It’s the only path to sur-thrival.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Post After Party – where character limits are removed and Bill gets to rant!
So the phrase in the image above is a healthy corollary for both positive and negative situations. “You can’t solve tomorrow’s problems with today’s solutions” could just as applicably be “You can’t grow tomorrow’s revenue line with today’s products/customers/etc.”
The beauty of this is not in the negative outcome but in reminding us that we should be in a constant state of growth. In some cases – evolution. And in some cases, that necessitates a step backward. In others, a leap forward.
The one constant in each of these is a plan.
But when the pandemic hit – many of us did not have a plan. A plan for an economic downturn. A plan for a challenge to the status quo in technology. A plan for a pandemic. We, as salespeople (and yes – whoever is reading this is a salesperson; maybe not in title/role – but in life) are constantly “winging it,” flying by the seat of our pants and measuring our success with how high we bounced, and not by how well we planned to land.
In the sales world, prospecting has always been the most important of sales skills. Yes – even more-so than closing. Prospecting affects the entire funnel – not just the end. Mastering prospecting means that you own the entire funnel – not just who finds their way there. Prospecting is about inviting the right customers into the funnel, not just what the competition brought in the form of a required “third-bid.” And in today’s world, prospecting and the ability to find viable customers and segments, will mean the ability to provide sustenance to your family – and those in your organization.
It is not hyperbole to say that a marketplace that was on autopilot is now akin to the African savanna where life plays out in a brutal way.
And those that can prospect will be at the top of the food chain.
But then again – they always were.
My words of advice are this:
If you are still doing what you did 6-months ago in terms of prospecting – stop. Whether you are in an industry that has been affected by the pandemic or not, ask yourself these questions:
– How are you testing what you are doing to see if it is working (hint: it involves your customer)?
– Are you offering any information to your customer that they can freely find themselves (hint: if you are, considering finding something unique)?
– If you are using a lead source that is more than 48-hours old, someone else is using lead information that is 24-hours (or less) old.
– If you are using email to reach a customer, someone else is using a phone. If you are using a phone, someone else is using Zoom.
– If you are comfortable in your prospecting processes, someone else isn’t – as they are evolving (along with the customer).
– If you are simply looking for what is “ripe” today, someone else if planting relationship seeds for their future – not yours.
– If you are trying to score a “YES” on the first call, there are a LOT of people building to “YES” through small, value-add, and consistent touchpoints.
We have more rules that we cover in prospecting and traditional sales training events.
Given where many industries are at in the economic/pandemic cycle- the above questions should be a solid foundation on how to reflect on your prospecting tactics and strategy.
And it is a solid way to improve the way many people look at sales and salespeople.
Luckily, politicians are far more hated today than salespeople.
But really – do we even want to be in the same sentence?
Until next time – Stay Optimistic!