Know When To Stop Prospecting

Mar 01, 2021

Getting out of sync with a relatively new habit is easy. Getting back into the flow with that new habit is exceptionally hard. 

 

Two habits I have started, stopped and restarted several times are daily writing and prospecting. So today, I’m going to write about prospecting… I’m not sure that counts as actual prospecting, but it’s a start. Who knows… maybe I’ll inspire myself. 

 

After two decades of working with sales professionals and sales teams across a wide variety of industries, there are two types of strategies regarding prospecting.

  1. A salesperson hunts for their own prospects and does all the follow up work.
  2. Someone else supplies the leads and a salesperson follows up.

 

In my career, I’ve always been in that first category, as have most of my clients. If someone is giving you a spreadsheet full of leads, you can stop reading here and go pick up the phone while I silently curse about wishing I had that deal. 

 

If you’re still with me, the first thing you need to get clear on is how many prospects are enough? 

 

Let’s face it, in a world of commissioned sales where the sky is the limit, there is always one more call to make, one more dollar to pitch, one more prospect to reach out to on LinkedIn. When you feel like there is no end in sight, it’s hard to get started.

 

Imagine running an endless marathon… you’d be running and running never feeling that satisfaction of the finish line. Um no thanks. (well, to be fair, I'm not running any marathons with finish lines so it's possible this is not the best example...)

 

We like closure. We like clean clear endings. It helps our brains when we can put something into a container with boundaries. 

 

Tip #1 to improve your prospecting practice is to know when enough is enough. Know how many prospects you need to reach your aggressive goals. 

For example, use this formula: 

Start with how much money you want to earn in one year… $100,000

Based on the previous year the average deal is… $5,000

 

With that you know that you will need to close 20 deals (100 divided by 5, are you with me?)

To close 20 deals, you’ll need 60 money conversations (that’s a 30% close ratio)

To get to 60 money conversations you’ll want 120 warm leads (that’s a 50% close ratio)

To get 120 warm leads you’ll want 240 qualified prospects in the pipeline (that’s a 50% close ratio)

To put 240 qualified leads n the pipeline you’ll want 480 semi-qualified leads (again, 50% rule)

 

Okay… so now the plan is to get 480 leads into your pipeline. From there you’ll end up with 20 deals and earn $100,000.

 

Knowing your numbers gives you power to organize your schedule to accomplish your goal. You could also look at that and determine you need some help along the way. 

 

In my case, finding the leads to put into the top of the pipeline was too time consuming so I crafted my ideal client profile and hired a Virtual Research Assistant to find leads that matched. Every month he finds 40 leads. That's why I have the layer of "semi-qualified leads" but hiring him to find 40 is much more efficient than me hunting for 20 qualified leads. It's all about the numbers. 

Using the same formula, that means it’s likely that 20 of them will be qualified to go into my pipeline, 10 of them will move on to become warm leads, 5 will get to the money conversation step and 2 will do a deal with me. 

Now you know when is enough so you can stop agonizing and start prospecting. Rinse and repeat every month and you easily achieve the goal. 

For more ideas about how to improve sales prospecting, tune in to

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