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The importance of prospecting

The importance of prospecting

Most of you will not have heard of Norman Lumsen.

He was immortalised in the 1983 TV commercial for Yellow Pages through the character JR Hartley.

In fairness there are many of you who won’t have heard of the Yellow Pages – the last issue was published at the end of 2018.

The AMV  ‘Fly-fishing’ by JR Hartley’ commercial was voted top 10 TV commercial of all time and helped reposition the Yellow Pages as a leading information resource for anyone and anything back in the day.

Over a 1000 pages of names and numbers at its peak and almost 6 inches deep – given the technology at our disposal today, its hard to remember a time when all a salesman had was the Yellow Pages for prospecting.

Whether it’s a procured database, search engine, social media or Yellow Pages, the way you start the sales process dictates where you will end up.

Ask any bad golfer who almost hits a great shot of the tee.

1 degree of on the downswing and the ball will end up a mile of course.

That’s all it takes.

Prospecting is time consuming, painstaking and often thankless but hugely important and when it comes down to it the average sales person is always on the look out  for the silver bullet, regardless of the free resource available.

The demands of business today require rigour and pace but seldom at the expense of detail, focus and clarity.

It’s not always easy to combine speed with accuracy but those that do tend to create space between themselves and those that don’t.

Stephen Covey in the “7 Habits of Highly effective people” talks about starting the journey with the destination in mind.

In sales you need to go a little bit further.

Have a destination in mind for sure but create a process that will take you to that destination and then become a slave to the process.

Get your process right and you will arrive at your destination.

No matter which of the myriad sales processes you can adopt for your business, the starting point is always Prospecting.

If the journey of a 1000 miles begins with a first step, make sure you’re walking in the right direction.


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