How I Went From Sales Prospecting Like the 99% to the 1%

10 min read
Jun 21, 2022

You can solve most business-related problems by improving your sales prospecting process.

There was a time I struggled so hard with prospecting that I thought I was lucky to generate just one lead. Most other salespeople resonated with me.

However, things eventually came to a head when I realized that a small minority of sales professionals dominated prospecting at their companies.

While other sales reps thought it would be difficult to prospect like the 1%, I realized that top sales pros used the most simple approach to attract more prospects than anyone!

To help you start sales prospecting like the 1%, I’m sharing how I went from lead gen zero to lead gen hero.

Revolutionizing the way I prospect helps me accomplish more than generating more leads in less time. I also ultimately:

  • Shortened my entire sales cycle
  • Gained my customer’s trust
  • Closed more new deals in less time than ever

Whatever business-related issue you’re experiencing can likely be solved by upping your sales prospecting game!

 

A Minority of Salespeople Generate a Majority of the Prospects

 

Most salespeople site generating leads as one of their biggest sales challenges.

However, that isn’t true for every salesperson.

For a minority of salespeople, prospecting is simple. These elite prospectors generate a majority of the leads in their businesses.

The truth is that unless you and your entire sales team get on the level of these elite prospectors, you’ve got more than just a sales problem on your hands!

Instead, your entire business is virtually in jeopardy.

 

If You Can’t Prospect, You Can’t Close Deals.

The unfortunate reality of struggling to generate leads is that you can’t convert any new leads into new customers if you can’t generate leads.

Moreover, if you can’t prospect, you can’t close deals at all!

Yes, other sales-related problems like building trust online and negotiating pricing make closing deals more challenging, but they don’t stand in your way like failing to generate leads does.

Therefore, if you want to consistently grow your business or even keep up above the water, you’ve got to get prospecting in order!

If you can’t prospect, you can’t close deals, and if you can’t close deals, then your business doesn’t even exist.

 

What are the steps of prospecting in sales?

 

Here’s What My Old Prospecting Methods Looked Like

 

These are the old prospecting methods that I used to follow.

Following them put me in the 99% of sales reps league who struggle to generate new leads.

Therefore, if you’re reading this, there’s a good chance that these methods will resonate with you!

But Brian! Most salespeople use these methods to generate new prospects, so how could they be as bad as you say?

The fact that everybody else is doing something doesn’t mean that it’s correct or effective. 

Think of all the times you saw the majority doing or thinking something obviously wrong, but you went along with it just because everybody else was doing it.

 

Targeting Any Prospect Who Would Listen to Me

I used to have a scarcity-based mindset.

I used to believe that target customers who fit my ideal customer profile were scarce, so I expanded my outreach to target anybody willing to listen to me.  

Even if the prospect was obviously not a good fit, I pursued them.

Unfortunately, this backfired on me: The truth I eventually realized is that there were more qualified leads out there than I could make cold calls to.

There was no reason to have a scarcity mindset and subsequently target anybody who is anybody.

By targeting anybody who would listen to me, I had tons of unqualified leads in my sales pipeline who eventually ghosted me.

 

Building (Stupid) Rapport on My Potential Customers

When prospecting, how often do you find a potential fit and then build rapport on the prospect?

For example, you write down little facts like ‘Likes dogs’, ‘Has two kids’, and ‘Lives in trendy NY suburb’ because you saw a picture of them on LinkedIn with their kids and dog?

Yeah, if you’re doing that (which I bet you are), ask yourself if that ever does you any good.

Do you ever end up getting on a phone call and saying, ‘So, do you like dogs?’ or ‘Tell me about your kids’?  Of course not!

That said, STOP building stupid potential buyer rapport because it wastes time. 

Who cares what their hobbies are or how many kids they have?

Unless the information directly impacts the sales process, then don't waste time searching for it.

 

Cold Emailing

Cold emailing used to be my first line of outbound prospecting defense.

However, this rarely did me well.

Sure, I did generate leads through cold prospecting emails, but it took me many more follow-up attempts and significantly more time than other strategies.

If you are like most salespeople, then cold emailing or social media messaging is probably your first line of defense.

I’m not saying to stop using those strategies! 

I’m saying cold emails and messages should not be your first line of defense because they take more time to generate responses than other strategies.

 

Sending Free Initial Proposals to any Prospect Who Asks

Before I started prospecting like the 1%, I used to hand out free initial sales proposals to any potential customer who asked for one.

However, I DESPISED doing so.

I invested countless time and energy into developing a full-proof proposal, only to have the lead ghost me after getting the proposal in their hands!

In the few cases that prospects did respond after receiving the proposal, it would be after several months of waiting.

Sound familiar?

Again, I would spend so much time putting together the perfect proposal only for prospects to not have the decency to respond or even say thank you.

 

Jumping In Without a Repeatable Sales Prospecting Process

When I used to prospect, I would jump right into it without having a reliable, repeatable lead generation process to follow.

It is as if I wanted to reach some final destination, yet I didn’t have the directions open on Google Maps to help me get there.  

Instead, I just got in the car, drove around, and wondered if I would ever make it!

Most salespeople have a sub-par sales prospecting process at best. They might have an outline to help them generate qualified prospects, but that outline isn’t easily repeatable.

As a result, they waste time and create more problems for themselves.

 

Sales prospecting methods

 

Effective Sales Prospecting Is About the Approach

 

After many years of struggling to generate sales leads, things came to a head: I realized I wouldn't achieve my goals unless I got it together with prospecting!

To turn things around, I changed my methods to reflect what the top 1% of sales professionals did to generate leads.

But before I did that, I uncovered the differences between my sales approach and the approach of the top 1%ers.

Ultimately, these differences in approach took me from the 99% to the 1%.

 

Assertiveness

My prospects used to walk all over me.

By walk all over me, I mean they used to take control of the sales process themselves.

As a result, I was never taken seriously.

They walked all over me not because they were bad people, but because I wasn’t assertive enough.

These days, prospects take me seriously because I assert myself.

The more I assert myself, the more they take me seriously and the more they recognize the value I bring to the table.

 

Simplicity

My old prospecting methods were all over the place!

By that, I mean that they were complicated, to say the least. 

They were complicated because I believed generating leads was a complicated process.

I also believed overcoming complicated situations required complicated methods!

Eventually, I realized that approaching prospecting as if it was complicated created more problems than it solved.

Instead of approaching prospecting as if it's complicated, I now approach it as it is- simple!

 

High-Energy

Before I changed the way I prospect, I sounded like a broken record.

For example, I would pick up the phone and say, ‘Hi prospect, this is Brian from X company. I would like to talk to you today about your business'.

Before I knew it, the prospect would slam down the phone.

Once I changed the way I prospect, I realized that sounding like a broken record and bringing low-energy to the table was even worse than what I said!

Low energy was the last thing my prospects wanted to deal with!

These days, I bring the energy to the room! 

From the moment a prospect picks up the phone, I entice them with my energy.

 

Consistency

Finally, the biggest difference between how I used to prospect and now is consistency with follow-up!

In the past, I would make three, four, or sometimes five outreach attempts but then give up.

These days, I don’t stop until I get a response from the prospect. 

I will not give up until they tell me they don't want anything to do with me!

The truth is that your prospects, particularly the decision-makers, aren’t sitting by their phone or email all day waiting to respond to cold messages! 

If you don’t hear back immediately, it's probably because they're overwhelmed with other problems.  

Prospects are not ignoring you, they're just busy!

If you’re not willing to be consistent, your prospecting efforts are worth little to nothing.

 

Why is sales prospecting important?

 

How I Started Sales Prospecting Like the Top 1%

 

These are the methods I started using to join the top 1% of sales prospectors.

With these prospecting methods, I joined the minority league of sales professionals who generate most of the leads. 

Not only that, but I generated leads in less time than ever before.

You can do the same by following these methods!

 

Creating a Repeatable and Scalable Sales Prospecting Process

To begin with, I now have a repeatable and scalable sales prospecting process.

Instead of doing things on the fly and resultantly getting myself into a mess, I stick to the process!

The key to developing a repeatable process is to keep it simple. The simpler it is, the more effective it is!

Thankfully for you, I’ve already shared what is probably the most straightforward and best sales lead generation process that you’ll ever use!

 

Using the Most Effective Sales Prospecting Strategy: Cold Calling

My first line of cold outreach defense is cold calling because it’s the most assertive type of cold outreach that allows me to get in front of decision-makers in real time.

Rather than hiding behind a computer screen with a cold email or social media message, I get on the phone and talk in real time.

Whenever you talk to somebody in real-time, it’s more difficult for them to ignore you.

For example, if you’ve been texting a friend for several days and they’re not responding, calling them makes it more difficult for the friend to keep ignoring you.

That said, I gather my prospect list, collect their contact information, and then call straight to the decision-makers.

The more assertive, the better!

 

Crafting a Hook to Grab Attention

When most salespeople get a prospect to answer their cold call, they usually waste a lot of time.

Instead of jumping right to the point, they take their jolly time.

As a result, prospects become disinterested and hang up.

Instead of wasting any time, I get on the phone with potential customers and immediately drop my hook line.

The hook line of a phone call is like the subject line of an email template: It captures the prospect’s attention.

A hook captures attention by adding immediate value to the prospect's life.  

A fish will bite a hook if it sees valuable bait attached to it.

Similarly, a prospect will listen to you if you present a valuable opportunity.

The way to create immediate value is by proposing you have an opportunity to fulfil one of the prospect’s needs.

Showing that you could potentially add value to their life will make them feel as if speaking to you is worth their time.

A fish will not bite a fishing hook without bait attached.

Similarly, your prospects will not pursue you unless you have value to offer them!

 

Talking With Prospects Like I’m Talking to an Old Friend

Before I changed the way I prospect, I made sales meetings brutally painful to sit through because I would talk to prospects in an overly professional way.

I believed that I needed to put on an uber-professional front to get them to make purchasing decisions.

However, putting on such a front was disingenuous to who I am.  Being disingenuous drove prospects away.

These days, I talk to my prospects like I’m talking with an old friend.

Even while discussing their difficult pain points, I talk to them as if I’m talking to a friend who I genuinely want to help.

I realized that talking this way helped prospects trust me more.  By acting naturally, they were more inclined to open up about their challenges.

Instead of putting on an unnecessarily professional front, being yourself will take you much further!

 

Going After My Dream Clients

Is there a client who you dream of working with?

Most salespeople have dream clients but rarely do they ever pursue them.

They don't pursue them because they believe the prospect is out of their league.

For example, salespeople say things to themselves like, ‘The company is too big for me’ or, ‘They’re not going to think I’m worth their time of day.'

Something important I learned once I started getting very assertive with prospecting is that very successful people are more likely to respond to your cold outreach than you think.

Many of us live with the idea that we’re not important enough to speak with successful people.

However, the truth is that people who’ve created a successful life for themselves appreciate others who are also assertive and work hard.

Therefore, if you have a dream client who feels slightly out of reach but you know that you can bring value to their table, don’t hesitate to reach out to them.

 

Final Thoughts on How I Prospect Like the 1%

 

Not only did changing the way that I prospect help me generate more leads in less time, but it ultimately solved most of my other business problems.

The best part is that prospecting like the 1% isn’t as hard as most B2B sales reps think. 

In fact, it’s simpler than the way I used to prospect!

You have every reason to change how you prospect and no reason to stay as-is.

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