A lot goes into successful prospecting: targeting, offers, outreach, personalization, research, follow up, and more.
At the RAIN Group, we’ve found the most effective way to prospect is using the WAVE method:
- Having a Winner’s mindset
- Deploying a strong Attraction Campaign
- Offering great Value
It’s that last stage where most sales prospecting efforts tend to crumble. Too many sellers lay their groundwork, then see it all go to waste. They know what they need to do, but they can’t actually do it, or don’t do it consistently.
Nowhere in selling do sales professionals need more focus, discipline, and execution than they do in proactively reaching out to generate new conversations.
Our execution system is built around the 9 Habits of Extreme Productivity. Here are three of our favorite tips from this system that will help you drive proactive sales activities and make you better at execution.
1. Plan Your Actions and Share Them
One of the key habits of Extreme Productivity is to “Recruit Your Drive.” Everyone has goals they want to accomplish, but some people find it a challenge to stay focused on them. If they take specific actions, they can increase their drive so nothing will stop them from reaching their goals.
For example, to consistently create new conversations, you need to make proactive outreach a regular, measured part of what you do. Maybe you need to build your list, develop your offer, create an outreach sequence, or pick up the phone and dial. Whatever it is, spend 20 minutes each week making an action plan, then share your plan and progress with someone.
This kind of accountability works. When researchers at Dominican University studied workplace achievement of objectives set in four-week blocks, they found that the people who didn’t track their objectives or share their results achieved only 43% of their objectives. On the other hand, those who wrote out their objectives and tracked them weekly with a colleague achieved 76% of them—almost double the success rate.
In fact, we found in our own research of thousands of people that those who are Extremely Productive (The XP) are 3.4X more likely than The Rest to track their progress weekly with an accountability partner.
2. Calendar Your Investment Activities
Calendaring proactive selling—or “investment”—activities is a key driver of extreme productivity, and The XP are 2.7X more likely than The Rest to do this. The XP are also 4X more likely to get their day started with the one activity they believe will most drive their success that day—something we call the Greatest Impact Activity (GIA).
Specific GIAs that can help fill your pipeline could be to:
- Build a list of current and past clients and reach out to five of them each day
- Spend time on LinkedIn Sales Navigator responding to alerts and reaching out based on trigger events
- Review your network’s network and asking for three introductions each day
- Share one new piece of content with your network each day
- Implement your attraction campaign
If generating new conversations is an important activity for you, make it your GIA, put it in your calendar, and start your day focused on it. When something is in your calendar, you’re more likely to do it. It’ll become a habit and you’ll continuously generate new conversations and opportunities.
3. Sprint into the Zone
Of course, even if you’ve reserved time on your calendar to work on specific tasks, it’s easy to get distracted. What can you do to head this off at the pass? Sprint into the zone.
The zone (also known as flow) is the mental state where a person performing an activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity. If you want to get in the zone, and maximize your effort per work hour, the best thing to do is establish a daily routine of obsessed, planned Sprints.
A Sprint is when you work on a planned task for 20 minutes minimum with a visual timer on and counting up.
Whether it’s your GIA or clearing out emails, focus only on that for the Sprint time period.
Making your Sprints daily will establish them as a habit. When you start a Sprint, focus on a particular activity you know you need to do.
And take it seriously. Turn on a timer, and don’t allow yourself to media or task switch. If you don’t track your Sprints, you won’t get into the zone, and you won’t experience the full benefit of the process.
Executing to Complete the WAVE
A common challenge for prospecting, account growth, and other proactive sales activities is finding the time to do them, avoiding the tremendous distractions that we all face every day, and getting in the zone when working.
If you want to supercharge your prospecting results, then execution is critical. Follow these smart strategies for consistent execution and conversation creation.