Prospecting: can’t live with it, can’t live without it. The most arduous and time consuming aspect of sales is also the most important. Keeping your pipeline filled with prospects is the only way to keep your fridge filled with food – food that you will never have time to eat because you will be too busy prospecting…

There’s a certain process that every salesperson’s mind goes through when they’re prospecting. It usually goes something like this:

1. Avoidance

“Ugh, I don’t have time for this. There’s a million other things I need to get done today. Maybe I can just prospect tomorrow instead…what’s the worst thing that could possibly happen?…I could probably get evicted, that’s probably the worst thing…I think I’ll prospect today.”

2. Mental preparation

“You got this! Time to crush it. Time to buckle down and hit the phones. Nothing can stop me now except wrong numbers, gatekeepers, answering services, interruptions, power outages…alright, stop being so negative…you got this!”

3. Making that first call

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“Here we go…it’s ringing…this is what it’s all about, smiling and dialing….dialing for dollars…let’s see if Mr.Wintertooth is ready to do business….how is the phone still ringing?…doesn’t this guy have a voicemail, it’s 2017?….endless ringing….cool…..alright, this isn’t going anywhere.”

4. The first harsh rejection

“Unbelievable! People are so rude these days. Why would someone say, “Don’t ever call here again, you bridge-troll”? I am not a bridge troll, not even close. I’m just a salesperson trying to make an honest living. I should call her back and give her a piece of my mind…..ahh whatever, who cares. Onto the next one.”

5. Getting distracted

“Let’s just take a quick look at my inbox and see if an-…..WHAT!? Another problem with the Connolly account??? What is it now? This is ridiculous, I can’t hold everyone’s hand every day AND close new deals, especially if — ARE YOU kidding me? Now the Washington account wants to renegotiate? We just agreed on a price yesterday. Forget it! Close the browser and get back to prospecting!”

6. A solid block of prospecting

“Alright, now we’re rolling along. Call after call. One of these is going to work out. Every no I hear gets me one step closer to a yes. Just keep plugging away. Why is Susan walking this way? Oh no, she’s going to start talking to me about her handicapped gerbil again. Don’t make eye contact, don’t make eye contact…ok, she walked away. That was a close one.”

7. Finally getting past a gatekeeper

“YES! Vanessa connected me with the decision maker and we’re having a very productive conversation. But why is he eating an apple while we’re talking on the phone? Whatever, I’ll put up with it if it means a closed deal. This conversation is going great, sending a proposal over this afternoon!”

8. Caffeine break

“Alright, that was a nice sprint. Time to recharge the batteries with a near-fatal dose of caffeine. Should I go out for coffee or get something from the break room? The drip coffee is pretty weak, maybe if I drink enough of it I can get a good buzz going. Or I could get one of those huge energy drinks from the vending machine….but last time I drank one of those I started sweating and stayed up until midnight rearranging my Pokemon collection.”

9. The rare callback

“Hard work pays off! Ms.Steinberg just called and wants to get the ball rolling. This is great. I love prospecting! I love sales! Forget all of the bad things I ever said about prospecting and sales yesterday, I love it! Going to post on Facebook about how great life is and about how hard work pays off.”

10. A closed deal

“Another deal closed means a happy customer, a happy sales manager, and money in the bank. Now all I need to do is remember this feeling tomorrow when it’s time to prospect again. I wonder what I should spend my commission check on this month? Let’s go online and check some stuff out…actually, wait…forget that. Let’s make some more calls!”

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About the Author Ken Kupchik

Ken Kupchik is the creator of Sales Humor and the author of the funniest sales book ever written, The Sales Survival Handbook, which you can order on Amazon.com. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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