How to Create a Consistent Sales Pipeline
Early in my sales career I sold to law firms, working directly with the senior partners to show them how technology could help their staff be more productive. Because I was young, new to sales and eager to succeed, they often saw it as their role to coach and guide me.
There’s Always a Need for New Customers
One day one such wise and witty partner and I were talking about prospecting, sharing how we each find new prospects, because yes, even in law firms there is prospecting. (They refer to it as rainmaking.) No matter what type of company you have, there is always a need to find new customers. That’s what sales prospecting is all about regardless of the fancy name you give it.
This senior partner talked about how hard it can be to put yourself in a rainmaking mindset. Even in law firms where they primarily prospect through referral gathering and networking, they still have to deal with prospecting rejection and objections.
What Gets in the Way
In sales, it’s easy to find other more critical things that need to be done – progressing real opportunities already in the sales funnel, writing proposals, checking in with current customers. If you don’t call, your prospects don’t care. In fact, they are glad you didn’t interrupt their day!
But if you don’t prospect, over time there are no more opportunities to work. Your sales pipeline dries up and eventually your business is in jeopardy.
5 Sales Prospecting Tips
This senior law partner shared that he learned no matter how frustrating (and I would add the adjective, fearful) rainmaking is, you have to do it.
- His advice to me was to set aside time every week to prospect. Schedule two or three hours so you can see progress.
- No matter what’s happening in your business, honor the time you have scheduled. If you don’t prospect, your sales pipeline will dwindle and eventually you won’t have a business.
- Consider sales prospecting equally important as a sales call. Because it is.
- If you find you must schedule something else during your sales prospecting time because there is no other option, reschedule your prospecting date with yourself. Don’t just let it drop. It’s just as important as any other client meeting and you wouldn’t ignore one of those if you had to reschedule.
- Prospecting isn’t something to be done haphazardly. True success comes when you hold yourself accountable to it and are consistent whether your sales manager is monitoring it or not.
In our sales prospecting classes, webinars, and laser coaching I’ve shared the importance of setting and honoring prospecting time. The people who have done it are the sales reps who far exceed their quota and every time. They’re the ones who earn awards, trips and bonuses consistently.
Are you one of those salespeople? Put your prospecting time on your calendar and honor it. Then let the opportunities rain on you instead of your completion.