Just finished up this book and wanted to share my notes as I found a lot of value in it.
I’m interested in learning more about prospecting and the processes and strategies that I can use and this book delivered – lots of actionable content and good advice. I really liked that Mark Hunter went into detail on nearly every topic and provided scripts to get started with for people like myself who don’t have an extensive history of using the phone for outreach.
Another high point was his insistence of scheduling – getting your process down and making time for prospecting is really important and like many other areas, you HAVE to make time for it in order to be effective.
I recommend grabbing it for yourself if interested. You can see it on Amazon right here.
Below are my notes from each chapter:
- Definition of prospecting: An activity performed by sales and/or marketing departments to identify and qualify potential buyers
- It’s not rocket science
- Need to use all tools
- Old school cold calls
- In person visits
- Internet / Email
- Sales is an art
- One and done – blast emails doesn’t work.
- I’ll prospect when done with current clients – you’ll never get around to it
- It’s impossible to have dedicated time to prospect – stop being lazy and schedule it or you’ll pay for it down the road
- We’ve made it this long without prospecting – good for you. Enjoy the good times and start prospecting now or your pipeline will be empty eventually.
- If we provide great customer service we don’t need to prospect – customer service is very important but will rarely deliver the amount of NEW clients you need
- Only “born salespeople” can prospect – wrong, anyone can.
- Your attitude is your problem
- Prospecting can be difficult, don’t make it harder by having a bad attitude – prospects WILL feel your attitude
- You will be rejected, and you don’t know if it’s because of a bad day, they don’t like you, or something else entirely. Get used to it
- View each contact as an opportunity to positively impact that person
- Prospects don’t want average
- Answer these
- What about my process is compelling to the customer?
- Does my prospecting process result in the customer having false expectations about what I sell, and thus force me to spend time later in the selling process reshaping them?
- Is my prospecting process effective enough to help reduce the amount of time I spend negotiating with customers?
- Is my prospecting process focused more on sharing with the customer what I have to offer or is it more about uncovering information about the customer?
- Is my prospecting process segmented enough to allow me to uncover customer needs faster from different types of prospects than if I used the same process for everyone?
- How does the customer see me and how I can help them?
- How long does it take for a lead or prospect to have confidence in me?
- Additional 30 questions in the book to help measure your effectiveness and process
- Notice – no mention of CRM. Don’t blame your CRM – fix your problems and process.
- Fit prospecting plan to your market
- Who are you selling to, what are you selling?
- 7 questions
- Do I sell a consumable or something people buy on a regular basis?
- Is what I sell considered a routine purchase or is it a capital expenditure / major expense (various depending on who you’re selling it to – keep that in mind)
- Are my customers professional buyers who interface with numerous salespeople?
- If the customer chooses not to buy from me, are they buying from my competitor, or not making a purchase at all?
- Are my prospects currently buying what I sell from someone else?
- Is what I sell purchased via a contract, quote, or some other type of deadline process?
- Are customers familiar with what I sell or is it something I need to educate them about?
- One size DOES NOT fit all
- Prospecting is NOT the last thing on your to-do list
- Time for prospecting means actually prospecting
- Not setting up to prospect
- Not reading about prospecting…
- Does your clock match your prospects clock?
- When are they most likely to be responsive to your call/email/visit?
- Who you prospect will determine the price you get
- Ask current customers who else might benefit from what you sell
- Engage competitors customers frequently
- When they fail to deliver, you’ll be a known entity who can help them and win their business
- Tip: Out of office emails may have CC of next person in line or another contact…hit them up!
- Don’t ever think you should only have 1 contact at a company
- Use industry events and organizations
- Don’t forget your past clients
- Surprising amount of work / sales can be made here
- A “No” is never permanent
- Who are your customers customers?
- Dig in and know the industry, will help you sell to your customer
- Calling your friends is NOT prospecting!
- 6 ways to separate prospects from suspects
- Have they told you when they are going to make a decision?
- Have they shared with you a piece of proprietary information?
- Do they have a need you can help them with?
- Are you sure they’re the decision maker?
- Do they have the financial ability to buy?
- Has one of your competitors already clearly developed the customer’s expectations?
- If you’re being invited in late to quote…it’s probably too late
- Price does not belong in prospecting
- Your prospects don’t care about you
- Don’t start with crap about you and your company, how can you HELP or BENEFIT the person you’re contacting?
- You want 2 things from first contact
- Find out 1 piece of information about the company and/or person with whom you’re talking
- Secure a next step, either in-person meeting or another call at a designated time
- DO NOT overcomplicate first contact. Dig deeper in second contact.
- 3 ways to get first contact
- Key insight/info (you provide to them)
- Value statement (what benefits them)
- Phone calls (cold calls) still work
- Don’t do a real “cold call” however
- make an “informed call”
- maybe as simple as being in the same industry as other clients and you know you can help
- Don’t ever stop at 1 point of contact
- Prospecting takes perseverance – many people might just miss the email/phone call, etc
- Book has list of 10 ways to get phone numbers
- Make early morning phone calls
- Can also finish day with “5 calls after 5” or something like that
- Prospecting during holidays works well
- May get you through to people you would normally not reach
- Higher level people rarely take as much time off as their assistants or employees
- Telephone best practices
- make it about prospect not you
- Speak with energy and believe in yourself
- If a door closes on you, find another door
- Be prepared – 3 possible things can happen, you need to be ready for each:
- Person you want answers
- A gatekeeper (assistant) answers
- Always use a quality headset for good audio
- Use the day wisely, keep records of what was said and when you called
- Never think 1 call is all it takes
- Never leave the same voicemail twice with the same person
- Call right before top of hour for busy people (between meetings)
- Never give up
- Telephone scripts – see book
- voicemails – keep them short – everyone HATES long voicemail
- Examples in book
- Can be effective if done right
- Keep them short and to the point
- Does email have a call to action?
- Does it carry a benefit the receiver can relate to?
- Does it have a personal connection with the receiver?
- Is it time sensitive?
- Examples of subject lines and intros in book
- How to leverage interests and strategic words
- Email scripts in book
- ASK FOR REFERRALS
- For god’s sake, just do it. It’s easy and you can do it anytime you deliver something positive to a client
- keep person who gave referral in the loop
- You need a social media strategy
- Use it, don’t abuse (overuse) it
- It’s part of your process, not the whole process
- List of questions in the book to help you decide who and where to use it
- Some more info on social media
- Getting past gatekeepers
- Always treat gatekeepers with respect
- Talk to them like you would talk to their boss
- Don’t overcomplicate large business prospecting
- What are the goals/objectives they need to accomplish?
- What barriers are they facing?
- What is the timeline they operate under?
- Where is the power within the company?
- What is the company’s tolerance for risk?
- Challenge is in finding who can help you answer these questions
- Avoid being routed to purchasing department
- Reaching the C-suite
- May not always be the best route
- What you’re selling needs to deserve their special attention
- special budget considerations
- strategic value
- helps them achieve annual objectives at risk
- implications on long term goals and objective CEO has set
- They think differently from average prospects
- (long list in book) Basically:
- longer time frame mentally
- high integrity and regard for integrity
- Emailing and calling C-suite techniques in book
- Connecting is also possible via mutual friends – bypass caution with referral
- Can take much longer than normal prospecting
- Walk away from lead – have plan for when you will do this. Highly dependent on your business, but stick with your plan.
- It’s a prospecting pipeline, not a parking lot
- Don’t keep people on “active” list who aren’t moving forward
- You don’t win prizes for prospects you can’t close…
- 6 rules
- Never provide the prospect with enough information to make a decision without you
- Never allow a specific price to enter your discussion during the prospecting phase
- Never forget the most valuable asset you have is your time
- Never become mesmerized by the lead who claims they want to do business with you right now
- Never make contact with a prospect just for the sake of making contact. YOU MUST HAVE A PLAN. Don’t send those bullshit “just checking in” emails or voicemails.
- Never forgo the quick sale for the sake of landing “the big one”