Steve Waterhouse

Article Summary:

What makes sales so difficult for some people and so much easier for others?

Effective Prospecting Makes For Easier Sales

This is an award winning article!

What makes sales so difficult for some people and so much easier for others? Why do some companies thrive and others fail to catch on, even when they have a great concept? What is the secret to success in sales? Obviously, there are many answers to these questions, but I have discovered one that makes sales easier for almost everyone.

John, the cable guy, was at my house to fix the converter box that had decided to erase all of the programs we had recorded and refuse to record any more. Not believing it was the box's prerogative to make those decisions, I called for help. John was very sharp. His ability with people was far beyond what I had observed from his peers who had been here on other occasions. I had an interesting conversation with him as he swapped out the box.

As he was leaving John asked, "What do you do?" When I told him that I was a sales consultant and trainer he lit up. "I did cable sales for a while. Then we ran out of good leads and it got too tough. I made good money when we had good leads, but when we had to just do cold calling, it took too long to find an interested person."

What he was saying is that selling is easy if you are selling to people who want to buy. What a concept! Better leads = more sales.

The answer is effective prospecting!

At its most basic, sales could be reduced to these two steps:

1. Find a willing party with a need.

2. Show them a solution that fits their need.

The better the willing party's need matches your solution, the higher the probability that a sale will be made. Even a relatively unskilled sales person can sell if the match is right. So, given that assumption, isn't it worth some effort to provide your sales team with better leads?

Unfortunately, too many companies put 100% of the prospecting on the backs of their sales team. Since many of the effective techniques for prospecting are more clerical or marketing related, shouldn't we reevaluate this approach? A $15/hour clerk can do mailings and free up a $50/hour sales person for real selling time.

Our local cable company is still advertising for sales people. Their turnover is awful. What would happen if they built a better lead generating system and kept their sales people in front of potential buyers? John might still be selling and bringing in new customers.

My recommendations:

A. If you are a company executive, build a prospecting system that generates good leads.

B. If you are a sales rep who has to fend for yourself, build a system and find someone cheap to manage it for you.

Good prospects = Good sales!

This article was chosen as top sales article of the week in January, 2008 at Top 10 Sales Articles.

Stephen Waterhouse is Principal and Founder of Waterhouse Group, a sales training company that helps companies increase their sales and profits. He can be reached at 1-800-57-LEARN or by email.

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