Before you start prospecting or distance running

by Jennilyn Howell
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Pick up distance running and you’ll learn some weird things about yourself. You develop sensitivity to things that were once normal, essential garments; toenails turn black even though nothing has been dropped on them; and you need Mountain Dew on an unpredictable basis even though you’ve set a training schedule, planned each route and measured the distance before each run.

(click to watch short video)

My mom and I are about to finish the Swamp Rabbit Half Marathon, which is how I got my black toenail.

Prospecting is a similar undertaking. Just like couch potatoes aren’t likely to just get up and run 13 miles, companies who are hesitant to reach out to strangers can’t have conversations with new prospects. Achieving goals requires time and effort.

So before you warm up your sales pitch, strategize your efforts in three areas:

Where are we going? Take some time to consider your clients’ demographics. What is their industry classification? Where are they located? What size companies are they? What’s the title of the person you usually talk to?

How long will it take? If you’re accustomed to selling based on referrals, expect prospecting to take more time; new prospects don’t know you, and they certainly don’t know that they need you yet. They need to get to know you, and, they need to need you. For example, if your prospects typically consider a new cloud services provider once every two years, don’t expect to be closing deals in 90 days. Use that first 12-18 months to build brand awareness and conduct early-stage conversations.

What should I do with my hands? This is a common question for new runners, and it relates to good form (and less fish-arm). Good form for prospectors means sending emails, making calls and working through a prospecting process every day!

The destination? Meaningful B2B conversations. No fancy socks or extra showers required.

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