We as sales professionals have been told to be prepared—that the more preparation we do to understand a prospect, the more likely we are to close the deal. However, this isn’t true. Too much preparation simply amounts to procrastination.
Though we should always do some research on our prospects, too much of a good thing is a bad thing, converting to delaying what we ultimately need to do: making that call.
Three Tips for Doing the Right Amount of Research Without Procrastinating
#1. Create time limits for researching each prospect. Yes, research on every single prospect is important, but if it starts resembling an entire thesis paper, you’re now crossing over to the world of procrastination. Set a time limit, say, three, four or five minutes per research session per prospect. Or, if you have only a small pool of prospects, you can stretch that out to a long timeframe; it depends on your particular field. But keep it finite.
The bottom line is to be very conscious of how much time you devote to research. You may even want to consider outsourcing the research to someone who can do this legwork for you.
#2. Be more focused on what questions to ask rather than on what to tell them. So often, salespeople focus on what they need to say to knock the socks off of their prospects. However, the reality is that there’s nothing you can tell prospects that will be so truly groundbreaking that they’ll be transfixed enough to buy your product or service. Instead, spend more time thinking about what specific questions you should ask prospects to better understand their situation. Script out those questions and then follow through on that script.
#3. Stop falling in love with prospects. It doesn’t matter how great of a fit a prospect seems during the research stage. The reality is that there are many circumstances that will cause a prospect to be ill-fitting for whatever reason. Maybe that person doesn’t have the budget or is already working with a great supplier. Perhaps the prospect simply doesn’t have the challenges or needs that your service or product addresses.
It doesn’t matter what the reason is for the “rejection.” Never fall in love with prospects and waste time researching and following up on those who will never do business with you. Be comfortable disqualifying prospects and moving on to the next.
By applying these three very simple tips, you’ll limit (and thus save) time spent on researching and trying to understand every single prospect beyond your initial interaction. This saved time can then be used for making more contacts and connections, and following up with more promising prospects and ultimately, making more sales.
Which of these three tips do you find most useful? Please share below in the comments.