For many salespeople, prospecting for new business can be overwhelming. Typically, it’s because their prospecting list is disorganized, or they don’t know how to create one in the first place. Having well-defined prospecting categories should be the first step in creating your prospecting plan.
When you don’t have an organized list, you don’t know who to call next. So instead of spending time thinking about who to call, take the time to create an organized list. Once your prospects are broken up into types, build time into your schedule to call each type of prospect.
Here are the prospecting categories I use with most of my coaching clients:
- New Lead – Someone that you want to call. This could be a business you drove by, a referral, someone you met at a networking event, or a contact you found on LinkedIn. For many, it may be a lead from a purchased cold call list. Basically, this is your funnel to the promise land.
- Qualified Lead – Once you have a decision maker’s name and contact information, they become a qualified lead. Qualified leads are your bread and butter. Spend your Golden Hours (the time your prospects are most likely to answer) calling these leads. As soon as this list starts to dwindle, you need to spend some time turning new leads into more qualified leads (Note: I call this my “100 Strong” list. Click here to see why…).
- Contact 1 – When you speak to a qualified lead (decision maker), but you are not able to set an appointment, move them to this category. Don’t spend your prime dial time calling the prospects you’ve already talked to – save that precious time for your qualified leads.
- Contact 2 – Decision makers you have talked to twice (but you still were not able to set an appointment).
- Wait (Contact 3) – You’ve talked to the decision maker 3 times and still haven’t set an appointment. Put them in the Wait category and set a reminder to call them in 3, 6 or 12 months – or whenever you think they may be truly interested. Click here for my post on how long to call your Maybes…
- Appointment Set – Just like it sounds – you have an appointment set with your prospect.
- Proposal – This may not apply to everyone, but if you have a proposal between the initial appointment and closing the business, then use this category.
- Active Client – Your entire book of closed business – you have to follow up with these clients, too. I recommend spending time once a month on this. I’ve set aside time on the first Friday of every month to call a portion of my active clients (the size of your active client list will dictate how much time you need spend).
- Past Client– Any previous client of yours. Call your past clients once a year. Stay in touch with them so they think of you when they’re ready to make another move.
- Not Today – Prospects that were too busy or gave some other lame excuse why they didn’t want to talk or weren’t interested. You could put them in the Wait category, but I have a separate category for this because I use a different drip marketing campaign for them. They may have said no today, but they are still a lead.
I don’t count dead leads as a prospecting category (they are no longer prospects), but it’s important to track them as well so you don’t waste time calling them again. These are your no’s – they were rude, have no need for your services, or you labeled them Mr. No Joy. Mark them as dead leads, and get them out of your prospect list.
Until next time – go sell some stuff!
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