Building Your New Business Muscle
Prospecting Is Important Even During Your Busy Party Season
By Beth Standlee, CEO, TrainerTainment
This is a perfect time of year to round up new business. The holidays are a natural time for people to party. Celebration and family fun is in the air. The end of the year is near and businesses are motivated to do good things for their teams as they prepare for the coming year.
It’s a great time for the sales team to carve out 8 to 10 hours per week to focus on finding new business. I know everyone is busy during the holiday rush, so finding time may be a challenge, but I promise it’s worth it. My experience has shown that because it is an easy time of year to book “incoming” events, it seems hard and even unnecessary to try to carve out time to prospect. The easiness of the inbound business presents a great challenge in that you may feel like you don’t need to follow through with outbound prospecting. You know what happens to a muscle when you don’t work it? It gets weak and sometimes quits working at all.
Hopefully, I’ve made a decent case for new business development. When you maintain a consistent, persistent approach like dedicating 8 to 10 hours each week to focus solely on developing new business, you can expect to meet your sales goals, keep a full pipeline of potential new business and make a lot of new friends!
You may be thinking, “Okay, Beth, I agree. I do need to prospect even during this busy time. What now? How do I do it?”
My first recommendation is to pick up my new book “People Buy From People” about how to personally connect in an impersonal world. I realize it’s a shameless plug and much of what I’ve written in this column you may recognize in the book. However, it is a good way to get all the information in one condensed place.
With that said, let me share a couple of concepts from the prospecting chapter and see if that helps you get started. First and foremost, I would like to acknowledge that it is a rare bird who loves to prospect for new business. Arguably, it can be one of the toughest jobs in sales. But it is the most rewarding! When you create something that wasn’t there, you know you’ve done something.
I have two tips to help change your mindset around the difficulty of outbound sales.
1. Great selling is about helping others. When you are talking with someone about what they do for fun, it’s going to be a great conversation. Go into each new prospect encounter thinking about how you are going to help the buyer.
2. Think of yourself as a journalist or a private detective. Your job in a new prospecting situation is to find out what your target client does for fun and how they decide where to go. If during your interview you learn enough about the buyer to know you have an opportunity for them, then you invite them to your center. So often, salespeople roll into a new relationship a by simply giving the “me, me, me” pitch. That doesn’t work very well.
Have a HIT mindset. In our discussion, HIT means: habitual, intentional and tenacious. These concepts are straightforward and important to cultivate within yourself and your team.
If you are going to get good at prospecting for new business, you have to make it a habit. If not, it will be something you only do once in a while. Typically, when sales begin to dry up, prospecting becomes a thing. Can you imagine, if you start building the habit of prospecting during this “time of plenty,” what your future months could look like?
It takes time to convert new sales. Don’t expect overnight results. However, when you make prospecting a habitual part of your weekly sales goals, the payoff promises to be big. With a regular, weekly 8 to 10-hour focus, you should expect no less than 12 to 15 new prospects. Can you imagine if you only sold 20 percent of these leads? Your business would realize 50 to 75 new group clients every year! Shouldn’t you begin to build the habit of scheduling your outbound prospecting time?
This leads us to being very intentional about scheduling the time. It’s too easy to let anything else get in the way of something that feels difficult or new. I would go one step further and say the time is sacred. It’s non-negotiable. Nothing gets in the way of this effort. I hope you’ve already paused as you’re reading this article to book prospecting time on your calendar! It’s that important.
Finally, sales takes tenacity. When you are tenacious about connecting with ideal buyers, time-blocking your calendar and making new business a real priority, then you will set yourself apart as a sales pro. It takes tenacity to make one more call to make sure you hit your target for the day. Only tenacious people can stand up to the rejection salespeople face. It takes a “never say die” attitude even within the non-sales activities to create the kind of sales that come from being a pro.
I hope I’ve encouraged you to start prospecting now…even when it feels like it’s not necessary. This is the best time! You want every time of year to be great for group events. Consistently building new business can make that so!
Beth is the CEO of TrainerTainment LLC, a training company devoted to the family entertainment and hospitality industries. Beth and her team are focused on helping the companies they serve make more money through sales, guest service, leadership and social media marketing training. Training products and services are delivered in person, through books and DVDs, and virtually with e-learning courses, webinar development and 24/7 online access. Visit her company’s website at www.trainertainment.com.