Keep in mind "simple" is not synonymous with "easy".
It's simple to set goals, yet few people do, and fewer stick to them. (How are your New Year Resolutions going?)
It's simple to lose weight. Just burn more calories than you consume. (How are those pants fitting lately?)
It's simple to hit your sales numbers. Just make prospecting your #1 job, but how do you do that when you're doubting yourself?
Yeah, yeah, Wes! I know I need to prospect more...it's just...well...I just don't."
There's a Lot of Bad Advice Floating Around
Selling is the oldest profession in the world, despite what many speakers may say, because before services were rendered, they had to be agreed to along with the price and duration, but I digress.
Wisdom does not come with age. Wisdom comes when one seeks wisdom.
There are countless 50-year-olds who stopped growing at 20, so they're just people who have lived the 20th year of their lives for 30 years.
There's a saying that the truth doesn't matter if you can get them to ask the wrong questions.
Add to that the adage,
A lie can travel halfway around the world before the truth can get its boots on"
and multiply it by the powerful technology we have today in the hands of unscrupulous people, and you can see why it's harder than ever to find the truth now.
It's why "master classes" pop up within minutes of something new coming out, be it real estate investing, crypto, AI, or Meta's new Threads.
It's why you, your customers, and your prospects have more spam emails than desired emails.
It's why you, your customers, and your prospects have more spam LinkedIn messages than wanted messages.
It's why you, your customers, and your prospects have more spam phone calls than scheduled calls.
It's noisy, crowded, ugly, and manipulative out there, but your boss is telling you...
"It's a Numbers Game"
How many times have you heard that?
I mean, it's not wrong advice. It's just not helpful.
Once you get beaten up for an hour or a day or a week or a month...once you miss your numbers for a quarter...then another quarter...then get put on a PIP...it's hard to psych yourself up by repeating the mantra, "it's a numbers game."
"Have a Positive Attitude"
How much money would Mr. Rogers or Big Bird make if they showed up to work on Monday just being their happy-go-lucky selves smiling and dialing with their positive attitudes?
They'd be pounding energy drinks by lunch on Tuesday, and they'd have a drinking problem by Friday of their first week.
"Focus on the Close"
How do you close someone who won't take your call?
How do you close someone when you don't know what they need, if they need it, and if they're the decision-maker?
"Don't Take 'No' For An Answer"
This is related to "focus on the close," but people do tell you "no" earlier in the conversation, so this can make you come across as a typical, pushy salesperson, talking over people, never giving them a chance to elaborate, throwing in various trial closes you learned from your dad's dusty sales book he got from his best friend who worked at IBM in the 80s, and not recognizing that the
Great, please send me more information,"
is a brush-off to just get off the phone and never speak to you again.
"Get Them Saying 'Yes' Early and Often"
Oh, good grief.
Look, if you're selling Girl Scout Cookies or Pampered Chef® to newlyweds in their 20s, knock yourself out, but you will have your head, ass, and both kneecaps handed to you if you play that junior high bullshittery with a serious buyer responsible for major purchases.
I promise you the CIO of a $100 million corporation with five locations isn't nodding and closing himself to questions like, "So security is important to you, right?"
Do This To Remove All Self-Doubt When Prospecting
The items listed above—and that's only a fraction of the "expert" advice floating around the interwebs today—are not necessarily wrong or bad.
Sales really is a numbers game. All of life, business, gambling, and every sporting endeavor is a numbers game.
Losing weight/getting in shape is a numbers game.
But does that remove your self-doubt?
It's great to have a positive attitude. While it won't enable you to do anything, it will enable you to do everything you do better.
So, by all means, have a great attitude.
But it's hard to think sales is all shits and giggles when your company is in the middle of a major recall while a recession is hammering away at your customers and your company's roadmap has slipped three quarters, and you're at 12% of your quota with 50% of the year already gone.
Yes, you must close business to get paid, but to focus on the close is like going on a first date and focusing on the wedding.
It won't happen if that's how you come across.
Commission breath is the worst smell in the world, and when you have it, you can't close a spring-loaded screen door.
The way you overcome all of that and more is to internalize this sales mantra my sales mentor, Steve Clark, pounded into my thick skull back in 2006:
Selling is a calling.
Serving is its purpose.
Questioning is the process.
A sale may be the solution.
A heart surgeon doesn't meet with a patient and think,
Boy, I hope this person has a bad heart so I can operate on them and make a lot of money."
They seek the truth with the commitment to "first, do no harm."
When you simply seek the truth, you don't worry about the opening, the middle, or the end.
You don't worry about the outcome.
When you seek the truth with the end goal being to best serve your prospect, you'll stop focusing on and thinking about yourself and pay more attention to your prospects.
When you do this, you'll pick up subtle hints and cues, known as reading between the lines, that will make all the difference in your prospecting efforts because small hinges swing big doors.
There are no bad prospects, just bad prospecting efforts.
Yeah, yeah. Of course, this is assuming you're calling the right job titles in the right industries with the right offer.
When that is the case, you should get at least one of the following from everyone you speak to:
- A sale.
- An appointment to discuss a sale.
- A referral.
- Information on the company, the industry, the economy.
- Feedback on your offering and approach.
Your job is to find a need and fill it.
Focus on uncovering the truth, which your prospect may not even know until you engage them.
So get going.
Market like you mean it.
Now go sell something.