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"Seven Steps of Effective Prospecting"
by Dirk Zeller

There are strategic steps to being great at prospecting. I have capsulated these in what are called the seven F-words of prospecting.

The 1st step is to Find: We have to find a place to do the prospecting. Finding a place is one of the biggest challenges in prospecting. This place has to be quiet with minimum distractions. We need to have an environment that is controlled for the prospecting to happen.

We also must find a time to prospect. Most salespeople try to fit their prospecting around their day, rather than fit their day around their prospecting. Those who have no set time for prospecting do not do it. Going to the same place at the same time helps to form the habit. Prospecting is about discipline and habit. The habit and discipline make up for the lack of skill.

The 2nd Step is to Forget: We need to forget all the previous failures we’ve experienced. We have all had days when the results were not what we had hoped. We have all stared at the phone for an hour trying to make the first call. We have had times when we did not feel like prospecting. Forget about your previous failures. Start fresh today. Make the effort now to pick up the phone and call a past client or someone in your sphere. Take the action that needs to be taken.

The 3rd Step is to Fight: We must fight all the hindrances and distractions. Your mind and other people will create more disruptions than you can imagine: “I can’t make calls until I call these three people back about our deals in closing,” or “I have to get these flyers made for these listings,” or even “I have a hang nail, and it will be hard to dial the phone, and it might get infected.” The reality is, any distraction or hindrance will do. You have to fight them off with a passion. The people who are effective at prospecting have just as many distractions as you do, maybe even more. They are just more effective at fighting them off.

The 4th Step is Focus: The ability to focus comes before one acquires success. If you examine the most successful people, they have the ability to achieve intense focus. They have developed the skill to be in the moment, to focus completely on the task at hand. By applying the discipline of daily activity, you can build the muscle of focus. By finding a spot and finding the time, you give your mind the opportunity to focus on your prospecting much easier. One technique I used to intensify focus before prospecting was to rehearse my scripts and dialogues. This rehearsal helped me to work and warm up before making the first call. The practice session put me in a more focused mindset.

The 5th Step is to Follow: Follow a plan of action to create a plan for your day that places prospecting in its proper place. This means doing the prospecting when you have the most energy and intensity. Many of us fail to plan our day for success. We let the day unfold. Never start a day before you plan it out on paper. We must create a plan to follow. Often our time is tossed like a small ship on a huge ocean with no means of steering, going wherever the winds and surf will take us. We react to the problems and crises all day and, in the end, wonder where all of our time went. Control the day; control the time.

The 6th Step is that we must be Faithful: We must be faithful to ourselves and our commitments: faithful to do the prospecting daily, to diligently commit to prospecting daily for a specific time frame or specific number of contacts. When you are faithful to your objectives, you will win every time. When you are faithful to prospecting, the results are astounding. The law of accumulation kicks in on your behalf. This law states that everything accumulates; that all your positive actions accumulate to build momentum and exponential rewards. It’s amazing how a few contacts every day repeated over time can bring forth staggering results.

Let me share two examples of the power of the law of accumulation. The first has to do with wealth. Wealth is what most people desire. I only know of few people who don’t want to acquire great wealth. One of the benchmarks of wealth is becoming a millionaire. To possess a million dollars is relatively easy. If, at the age of 20, you put $2.78 away each and every day into an investment account that achieved reasonable interest, you would be a millionaire by the age of 65. Now, who in today’s society couldn’t save $2.78 a day? Even someone flipping burgers at McDonald’s could find $2.78 a day to invest. In other terms, it’s forgoing a Starbuck’s latte a day. The law of accumulation is clear and easy to apply.

We have a coaching client who took this challenge of the law of accumulation very seriously. He committed to calling his sphere and past clients and making ten contacts a day. After eight months, he had almost tripled his income from the previous year. He more than doubled the number of units sold over the previous year. His edge was that, in those eight months, he could count on one hand the number of days that he failed to hit his ten contacts per day goal. We must be faithful.

The Last F is Finish: Finish what you start. You have to run the whole race all the way to the finish line. No one remembers who was ahead at the 90-meter mark of a 100-meter race. The winner at 90 meters has to win in the last 10 meters, or he’ll lose the reward. Finish strong, finish focused, be faithful to yourself, and finish! Don’t accept anything less than going all out at the finish of the race. If you make a goal of five contacts a day, don’t do four. Do five! Don’t accept anything less than the goal you have set. Accept nothing less than your best.

We can all learn to prospect more effectively. Make sure that you find the place and the time. Don’t dwell on past failures; forget them. Be determined to fight for your time and fight for your focus. Create and follow a great plan of action. Be faithful to yourself and to your clients and family, and finish what you start. You will find success knocking at your door in a short period of time.

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