Five Reasons Your Prospecting SucksReaching your sales goals starts with great prospecting. But too many people don’t prospect effectively. If you don’t have a full pipeline of qualified buyers, odds are you’re making one or more of these fatal mistakes.

1. Not spending enough time on it
I know, I know—you’ve got 18,000 things to do every day. But really, how many of them are more important than prospecting? What can you delegate, outsource, or stop doing completely in order to free up more time for prospecting?

2. Going after the wrong prospects
Typically when I ask a salesperson, professional, or business owner who their market is, the response is “everyone.” That’s the wrong answer! Because you can’t possibly sell to everyone. If you want to make the most of your prospecting efforts, you need to focus on your ideal prospects—the ones who most need and appreciate your product or service. And not just have a need, but also have a budget to afford it, the authority to make a decision, and the motivation to act.

3. Using the wrong tools and approaches
If you’re targeting CEOs, Facebook and Twitter are the wrong places to find them. And conversely, if you’re going after consumers, LinkedIn is the wrong place to spend your time and energy. Where does your ideal prospect spend their time? Where do they go, what do they read, who do they talk with?

4. You don’t really believe in what you sell
For a brief (very brief) time in my youth, I was an appointment setter for a company that sold replacement windows. I hated that job. And the single biggest reason is that I didn’t care about—and thus didn’t truly believe in—the product. If you don’t fully, completely, totally believe in whatever it is you’re selling, do yourself—and everyone else—a favor and quit. And go sell something you can truly believe in. Because enthusiasm and passion matter—not just in prospecting, but in every element of the sales process.

5. Bothering people rather than delivering value
If your ideal prospects aren’t responding to your outreach efforts, there’s a good chance it’s because they perceive you as an annoyance. If all of your messages boil down to “Give me some of your money!” then there’s no reason for your prospects to engage with you. How can you be of value to your potential buyers? How can you serve them in a way that builds trust and appreciation, thus making them want to do business with you?

Before you can close more deals, you need more prospects. How many of these mistakes are you currently making? And what can you do about them? Correct these problems and you’ll not only meet your sales goals, you’ll exceed them.

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