When is the best time to prospect? While seasoned sales pros probably know this answer, and newer sales pros might have an idea, it bears discussion because it is one of the most important aspects of a successful sales career.
While there are certainly ideal times of the day where prospecting might land you a conversation with a decision maker, that’s not what we’re discussing here. What we’re talking about is the most impactful time during your sales month or quarter.
Before we get into the best time to prospect, let’s quickly cover the worst time to prospect.
The absolute worst time to prospect is when your sales funnel has dried up. Much to the chagrin of sales managers, and despite attempts to educate the sales team to the contrary, an alarmingly high number of sales pros find themselves prospecting when they see the funnel tank approaching “empty.”
There are many, many reasons why this is a terrible time to prospect. For the sake of time, let’s cover just a couple.
First, upon realizing the sales funnel is approaching a drought, a salesperson will desperately try to contact potential new buyers in an attempt to drum up more business. Rather than a successful sales routine, it likely becomes an exercise in futility and desperation.
Okay, here’s the deal…If you find yourself in this situation, you’re going to have to prospect for new business. There is no way around it, and there’s no way over it. This is your reality. And you’re going to have to seriously try to hide your desperation and urgency and try hard to play it cool. The reality is you’ve set yourself up in a position of weakness.
Secondly, prospecting while in desperation mode will make you a less effective prospector. You’ll find yourself looking for any opportunity you can find to avoid missing your quota, and you’ll have a harder time focusing on the successful prospecting techniques you’ve learned because of self-inflicted pressure.
A gatekeeper can pick up on desperation immediately and will become even more inclined to protect the decision maker’s time. If you’re able to get past the gatekeeper, and land a conversation with a decision maker, they’ll spot the desperation. You’ll already find yourself at a disadvantage as you begin the sales process with them.
Desperate prospecting puts you on your back foot right out of the gate.
Of course, this is counterproductive to starting a new sales cycle with as many advantages in your corner as possible.
So, when is the best time to prospect?
When your sales funnel is full and flourishing! A successful sales professional knows that a healthy and thriving sales funnel constantly needs new seeds of opportunity to grow and provide financial nourishment. In this metaphor, money does, in fact, grow on trees.
Many sales professionals put the brakes on prospecting when they have a full sales funnel. They get a false sense of security and become “too busy to prospect.” And right here, my fellow sales execs, is why many in this fine profession fizzle and burn out. You can never be too busy to prospect. Ever.
Aside from a constant flow of opportunity, prospecting with a full sales funnel actually becomes fun. Once you make proactive prospecting one of your good sales habits, you’ll find you enjoy prospecting much more than when your funnel is dry.
Why is this?
Just as gatekeepers and decision makers can pick up on fear and desperation, they’ll also notice your confidence. You’re now in a better position to begin a new sales relationship with a prospective client because you want their business instead of needing it.
Prospecting from a position of natural confidence will subconsciously affect how you interact with gatekeepers and decision makers.
You’ll command an authentic, automatic respect. And at that point, prospecting is fun.