I was prospecting with a business earlier in the year and it was only one of the first prospect meetings I had ever held. I was nervous as hell, didn't know how to collect my thoughts and confidence wasn't even on the table. Fast forward 11 months and I'm making over a thousand calls a week, training and developing my teams and prospecting is second nature to me. These are some steps I took in substituting my stress for strength.
1. Know The Game Before You Play
Scripts, dialogues, training materials and manuals galore - you name it, I went through it. Making a marketing consultant pick up the phone and prospect is quite a different task, and similar to anything; when we don't know the process it seems to be daunting even if it evolves into something much easier.
I started off reading everything I could, breaking things down and reverse engineering sales tactics. Everything became easier to understand due to my full knowledge of the product. The stress wasn't relating to the content, it was specifically the communication. 'How could I?...' and 'What if this happens?' I soon understood that the sales game works off basic marketing, and it comes down to giving people what they want at an optimum price for both parties. Now came the fun part - I had to start!
2. "Pick Up The Phone And Start Dialling" - Jordan Belfort
Being a 16-year-old and not having professional sales experience the first thing I did was read 'The Wolf of Wall Street'. Not only did this broaden my awareness of sales tactics and concepts, it also imparted the motive for action - I had to take action. I have always been a believer in practice over theory. I have continued to relate to this in education, entrepreneurship and life in general. This was what I had to do moving forward for the sake of my own development and my business.
3. Confidence Over Ego
The difference between being confident versus egotistical is that you show strength over authority. In a sales environment, I quickly learnt that you must become confident in your field, otherwise your leads and prospects will become scared and find you untrustworthy.
In this sales environment it became obvious that your leads and prospects demand your confidence, because they want to fully accept that giving their money to you is the right way to go. Being quite primitive in sales, I didn't know what to do in most circumstances, and in hindsight I am happy to have made some errors in the process, otherwise I probably would not be where I am today.
This has become clear to me: Whether you intend to be powerful, have signs of authority or not; a confident attitude will always put you ahead of someone who is unconfident on the basis that you are willing to express your passion through the risk of failure.
4. There Is No Harm In Going The Extra Mile
About halfway through the year I felt uncomfortable. My sale figures had flat-lined as I had hired numerous sales consultants and found myself focusing on other parts of my businesses. I was about to go through a four month stretch of exams, running two businesses and also leading multiple community campaigns - what could go wrong? This is where I understood that, with my planned time management, I could fit in two hours on two separate business days within the week for prospecting.
On average I would call roughly 200 organisations per week, my figures grew and so did my organisations. The risk was settling; staying comfortable with that 'extra' time and feeling somewhat free. I understood that I had this time and I chose to use it for prospecting. I think the difference is that others may have left it unused, and would not be able to see the future possibilities unfold. When you aren't respecting your time and going that extra step, I think that is when the excuses outweigh your ability to execute.
Turning stress into strength is one thing, moving forward is another.