The 13 Biggest Myths About Sales Prospecting

April 13, 2018

Still telling yourself that all prospects are equal, or that cold calling is dead? Think again.

With more than 40% of salespeople saying that prospecting is the most challenging part of the sales process, it’s time to stop getting sidetracked by myths about prospecting and start getting to the truth about how to deliver results.

Superstitious or not, we’ve got a special place in our hearts for sales people, and with Friday the 13th known for being an unlucky day, we’re going to use it to debunk 13 of the most common myths about sales prospecting to get you back on track.

1.) Buyers Don’t Want to Hear From You
Contrary to popular belief, prospects often find salespeople to be helpful in the decision making process – in the right context, obviously. Prospects are more likely to accept meetings with salespeople who are proactively reaching out at the right time, with the right approach. So stop feeling sorry for yourself, call those prospects!

2.) I’ve Maxed Out The Opportunity In My Network
This isn’t a credit card, this is your network – a growing pool of opportunity. Stay in the know of problems your clients may be having, and use those to facilitate a solution that could be provided by someone else in your network. Now you’ve created a relationship between two parties who will both grateful for your help. Bonus: now you’ve become top of mind when someone in their networks have a problem that you could help solve – referral!

3.) Time Spent Networking Face-to-Face Is Time Wasted
Wrong. When it comes to successful sales prospecting, face-to-face networking should be included. People like to put a face to the name, and buyers are more likely to trust a seller that they feel like they know personally. As sales prospecting strategies evolve, don’t put a classic face-to-face interaction on the back burner – it’s an oldie but a goodie.

4.) Nobody Uses Social As a Real Networking Channel
As sales prospecting tips go, this should be an obvious one. People use social for just about everything else, so why would it not be used as a serious networking channel? According to HubSpot, four in 10 reps close two to five deals directly using social media, and 65% of salespeople who use social selling are able to fill their pipeline, versus 47% of reps who do not. In other words, if you’re not using social to prospect, then you’re missing out on a huge chunk of opportunity.

5.) All I Do Is Email Prospects
In case you skipped over three and four, email is NOT your only sales prospecting tool. Click rates for B2B emails are down to less than 3%, which should be an indicator that you definitely shouldn’t be relying primarily on text-based email. Can’t secure a face-to-face? Don’t forget about video!

6.) No One Has The Time To Stay In Touch With Every Contact
You have the time, you just may not be using it wisely. With things like social media, and even more tailored prospecting publications like WinmoEdge, you can easily track all of your clients’ career paths, and be the first to know when a change is made that could signal new business opportunities.

7.) R.I.P. To Cold Calling
When it comes to myths about sales prospecting, the death of cold calling is one of the most common. While we may not like being on either the sending or receiving end of the cold calling spectrum, the truth is, it’s a time-old tale that we just can’t seem to shake. In fact, according to a study from the RAIN Group, 54% of prospects agree to meetings over the phone. However, you’ll find the most success with this if you’re persistent. The same study reported that it takes between five to 10 touches to connect with a new prospect for the first time.

8.) Prospects Don’t Want To Read Your Content
Many salespeople are convinced that most content is downloaded and forgotten, but this isn’t always the case. While there can be some truth to this, it is often shown that content customized to a buyer’s needs or including relevant data to the buyer’s business, increases the likelihood that the prospect will accept a meeting. In other words, prospects don’t want to read content that doesn’t matter to them, so just focus on the relevant stuff.

9.) Dedicate A Few Hours Each Month To Prospecting
I don’t know who thinks that you only need a few hours each month to prospect, but the truth is, you should be prospecting every day. With sales intelligence providers like Winmo that source accurate data for you, or Salesloft, which lets you build email cadences continuously to engage your pipeline, there are so many tools you can use to make your prospecting strategies more time efficient.

10.) Tell Them About All Your Products
If they ask, by all means tell them, but don’t steer the conversation this direction from the get-go, this is a rookie mistake. Your initial sales call you should be focused on asking the right questions and listening, that way, you can suggest the right solution for their problem. If instead, your first interaction primarily consists of promoting all your products, you increase the likelihood to potentially confuse the buyer and lose their trust.

11.) Focus On Results
When you’re prospecting, your focus should be on the potential customer and their needs – not your sales goal.  If you are only focused on the end results, you are setting yourself up to fail, and will quickly lose trust.

12.) All Prospects Are The Same
Among all the myths about sales prospecting, this may be the biggest of them all. Whoever said that all prospects are the same, either isn’t in sales, or isn’t a human. In other words, it’s very important to understand that no prospect is the same, so your prospecting efforts need to reflect this. Tailor your outreach to each person’s specific needs and situations.

13.) The Gatekeeper Is Your Enemy
They aren’t. In fact, if you turn you charm on, the gatekeeper could be your key to connecting with the prospect. The whole point of the gatekeeper is to filter qualified traffic to the decision maker, meaning if you can get in the good graces of the gatekeeper, you can figure out exactly what you need to say and do to win the decision maker over –  or at least get a call back.

Economic recovery is in full swing, which means budgets are back, baby. Subscribe to the Winmo blog to receive actionable insights you can use now.

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