If you thought the golden rule in sales is Always Be Closing (ABC), we’re happy to inform you otherwise. Sure our goal is to close deals, but ABC is hardly prescriptive. It doesn’t get us closer to the goal.
When looking at all our sales activities the biggest contributor to our success is having a full pipeline. To have a full pipeline you need to prospect. And for that reason, the golden rule in sales is Always Be Prospecting (ABP).
It may seem obvious but it’s often overlooked as the greatest contributor to a sales person’s success. And while many are looking for tricks and shortcuts to hit their sales quotas, nothing beats the tried and true activity of constant prospecting. The best sales people carve out time every day to prospect and add quality leads to their pipeline.
There are many benefits:
More shots on goal - afterall sales is a numbers game. Only a small percentage of conversations will convert to sales and the vast majority of the prospects you engage with won’t be ready to buy. The more prospects in the pipeline with a fixed rate of closing means more deals closed won.
Make better decisions - when you have a lot of prospects in your pipeline you feel a sense of abundance. We make better decisions when we feel relaxed. Knowing who and what to spend time on is crucial in sales and operating from a place of abundance helps greatly.
Choose better prospects - a weak pipeline results in desperation and grasping at proverbial straws. The more prospects in a pipeline lead to sales people being more selective in who they want to engage. It allows you to fire prospects who you know aren’t a good fit and focus on the highest quality prospects. Quality prospects are the most likely to convert.
Better negotiation - knowing that you have plenty of prospects to engage with and sell to allows you to negotiate with great confidence and strength. When you feel desperate to close deals because you have very few fallbacks to hit quota then you start negotiating poorly. Either you push suboptimal terms or you behave in a way to shows the desperation which is highly unattractive.
More creativity - stress inhibits creativity. When you your options are limited you’ll often rely on what you know. But creativity and trying new things is also how we grow and find better ways. A full pipeline gives us the confidence and security to experiment even at the risk of failing.
Improved mental health - sales is highly stressful. It’s also filled with rejection. This can have an important negative impact on your mental health. The best antidote to this is to not feel that each rejection is so consequential. In fact, the more prospects in your pipeline makes each rejection that much less consequential because it has a relatively smaller impact on whether you hit quota or not.
It’s not fast and it takes work, but prospecting is arguably the single most consequential activity a salesperson can do to succeed. Spending a couple of hours each day prospecting has an unbelievable ROI. The golden rule is both obvious and time tested.