The Sales Gurus on The Internet will tell you that being successful in sales is all about closing techniques, psychological nuances, and their “x-step proven method.”
I’ve sold a lot of things in my life, and I call bullshit.
Regardless of what type of sales you’re in, the most important part of your job is lead generation.
It goes without saying that if you don’t have anyone in your pipeline to sell to, you won’t sell anything nor will you make any money – the reason why we’re all in sales to begin with!
Even if you’re the worst salesperson alive, you can still make sales if you have lead generation figured out. Much like a blind squirrel, the worst sales people can still find their nut.
Sales is both an art and a science, in which the principles remain the same across the board, yet the activity, work, and finesse has changed dramatically with rise of the internet, technology, and changes in how buyers make buying decisions. (Thank you COVID.)
Coming from a B2B sales background in the Payments Industry, I realized how important lead generation is early on. As a 22 year old kid, I had an all-commission sales job and, in my career, knocked on thousands upon thousands of small businesses’ doors, made hundreds of calls, attended many networking events, and did whatever it took (within reason, ethics, and integrity) to sign up new merchant accounts.
Being the fact that it was 100% commission, I only ate what I killed, so I was forced to figure it out early on, and I’m very grateful for that experience because it led to where I am today.
The times I was in a “slump” and didn’t make the monthly quota was because I had a shitty pipeline with no real opportunities. As salespeople, we tend to delusionally hype up our pipeline because we have big egos and our pipeline is one of our greatest assets.
It’s the source of new business, connections, and hope.
Prospecting is just one form of lead generation. You can knock on doors, make cold calls, network with referral partners, call on existing clients to ask for referrals, leverage social media, etc. in order to keep your pipeline bursting with new opportunities.
The only 2 things you can control in sales is your attitude and your prospecting activity.
When I think “prospecting,” I think of a salesperson directly acting in a way that generates new business opportunities for themselves. Prospecting is active lead generation, and you can leverage technology/social media to passively generate leads for yourself.
If you’re not selling something to someone, servicing someone, or looking for someone new to sell something to, you’re wasting your time as a salesperson.
You can get technology working for you and have internet leads or referrals coming to you automatically, but the difference between good and great comes from actively doing the work and prospecting – especially the beginning of your career.
I say “especially in the beginning” because that’s your time and opportunity to learn your product or service and hear real-life objections and rejections. I’m sure you’ve been “mother-fucked” right out of a cold call and it messed with your ego.
It happens, and it doesn’t matter. Next.
Getting mother-fucked is just a part of sales, and it’s what leads to the biggest commission checks and the strongest pipelines.
Prospecting teaches you the basics, forces you to keep a sharp axe, makes sales interesting, and you’ll look back on the beginning in a few years and appreciate all of the hard work you did.
Let’s say you sell Life Insurance. It’s a great business to be in, and most of your money is monthly residual. If you keep your clients and continue to sign up new policies, you will make more money every month.
Starting out is challenging because the money isn’t there yet, plus you’ve got to get licensed, learn what you’re selling, and build a pipeline from scratch. After doing the work over a period of time, you start to see a snowball effect, and instead of hundreds of outbound calls per day, your phone rings OFF THE HOOK with prospects who just can’t wait to sign up with you!
It takes time, effort, objections, rejections, and most importantly prospecting in order to build your business and brand so you can become an order taker and close deals left and right.
If you do the work, serve people well, and stick it out over time, it gets easy and fun… plus, the money eventually comes!
I know this first hand because the money in Payment Processing is just like Insurance… it takes time to build, and once you do, the residual rolls in month after month-after-month, and even better:
The prospects eventually begin calling you, and all you gotta do is solve problems, make sales, and service your people.
Prospecting is half the battle, and if you hit it smart AND hard, you will conquer the most important part of sales, and make that FU money.