Prospecting 101: Do You Have A Plan Or Are You Chasing The Shiny? | Ted McLyman dot Com

Prospecting 101: Do You Have A Plan Or Are You Chasing The Shiny?

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At some point, more analysis doesn’t help, and you must actually talk with a prospect.

It amazes me how many salespeople don’t have a prospecting system. With all the best of intentions, they spend too much of their precious time chasing what I call “the shiny.”

The “shiny” has two parts:

  1. Opportunity: The new opportunity to sell something to someone – a lead, referral, market, prospect, business, etc.
  2. Technology: The perfect prospecting technology – hardware, software, application, etc.

Opportunity and technology in and of themselves aren’t the issue. Salespeople must have opportunities and technology to do their job.

The problem arises when salespeople chase opportunities and technology as the end game. Remember, the goal is not to acquire the largest prospect list or the coolest new technology. The goal is to close more business.

A prospecting plan is a systematic way to engage, acquire, and retain business. It should be built around three elements:

  1. Salesperson – Capacity, skills and knowledge, and motivation.
  2. Sales Environment –  Tools and resources, work process, feedback system, and motivation system.
  3. Sales Metrics – Performance objectives and performance measures.

Too often we assume that “anyone” can do sales – not true.

Too often we have great people with outstanding potential in crummy environments – and we get high turnover.

Too often we have great people in great environments with unrealistic, or poorly defined objectives and measures – and we get confusion and low motivation.

When the salesperson, environment, and metrics are not aligned, we start chasing the shiny.

  • We need better salespeople.
  • We need more training.
  • We need a new contest.
  • We need new software.
  • We need tablets and smart phones.
  • We need an app.
  • We need more activity.
  • We need better prospects.
  • We need more prospects.
  • We need new markets.
  • We need a new vision statement.
  • We need a new mission statement.
  • We need an offsite.
  • We need . . .

I think most of us have “been there, done that.” What we need is more focus on what is important.

Don’t allow yourself or your organization to fall into the trap of “chasing the shiny.”

  • Make an honest assessment of yourself, your environment, and your metrics.
  • Identify gaps and roadblocks. Change what you can change.
  • Have a plan for yourself that works for you within your capacity and environment.
  • Have realistic, measurable goals and expectations.
  • Find a coach – someone who will mentor you and hold you accountable for your performance.

Lots of people chase the shiny. They expend grand amounts of energy and resources doing (seemingly) grand things that actually accomplish little. Remember, it’s easy to confuse activity with progress.


Chief Command Pilot – Ted