Prospecting for Dummies

The hard work of keeping your sales pipeline brimming is the foundation of sales success.

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By Grant Cardone

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You need to prospect every day. Anything worth doing once is worth doing every day. I'm not talking about every other day -- I'm talking about every day. You need a big, major, monster commitment. As you build legs and muscle, it's going to get easier and easier with your persistence and tenacity. I've built an entire business around making one call -- cold. Cold calls can be brutal but that business I built is still in business today.

These weren't inbound calls. I went calling people and even knocked on doors for weeks at a time. I treated this prospecting thing as the only way I could start my business. What I'm telling you is that I made a full commitment to it. It didn't matter how painful it was, I was committed. Go all in with your energy and creativity because there is no shortage of it. Make prospecting the senior activity, the first one you do each day. If you sold someone today, great -- but what was your prospecting? Don't seek balance, make this a priority.

Once you commit to prospecting it's vital that your expectations be correctly set so you won't be disappointed. A man once told me I needed to not have expectations and then I'd be happy. That's crazy. The people who really make it have monster expectations. They align their expectations correctly so they can do the right amount of activity so they aren't disappointed.

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Rather than not having expectations, you need expectations. When you go to work you need to know what is expected of you. Not expecting much is not a solution to your problems. Expect a lot and be sure they are based on the activity level necessary to push that return. Remember you want to create and fill up a pipeline. Your expectation in this is of investment, not return. It's activity out, not activity in.

It's like farming and planting seeds for next season. You aren't going to eat what you plant today. This isn't like fishing or hunting, where I catch or kill and eat the same day. You aren't going to get rich without an investment attitude, and you won't get rich without expectations that you're going to get rich. In prospecting your expectation should be to expect rejection, losses and people being uninterested in you. Your expectations should be set correctly for the marketplace.

Expect "I'm not interested, get out of here, I don't have time." Expect disappointment and that your phone calls won't be returned, because that's what you need to set your expectations for. That's the muscle you need to get ready for. Keep making the investment despite what you're going to hear. This is not getting rich quick, but this is getting rich. There is a harvest, but only after lots of investing. You need to commit to daily prospecting.

Prospecting takes time. To do this right, you will have to make it a priority on your schedule. Personally, I never manage time. I want to make time my slave, and then I want to beat it to death. The question is never how much time you have, it's what do you do to create time? Don't think about how much time you have left, start thinking about how you can expand time. Control time so you are in charge of it. Be the master of it so you aren't a slave to a watch.

How can I best use time? When you want to create time, you do so in order to get more done. Hiring an assistant is a way to create more time. A call center is a way to create time. Direct mail is a way to create time. Your problem is that you don't want to spend money. You think that money is more valuable than time. The successful guy knows that if he can just multiply himself, he'll be more successful. If you can multiply your time, you'll have more money.

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Time is money. By hiring an assistant, I buy time. I get a maid to clean up the house, I bought time. I get someone to make my lunch, I bought time. Direct mail campaigns to 10,000 people, I just bought time. Buy time to get more done. I use a CRM for follow up to buy me time. You have the same hour I have, I just get more done. If you don't make a commitment to doing your prospecting first, then you'll find something else to do with your time. It's called call reluctance. Nobody wants to do the hard work, the investing.

I don't manage time, I cram as much as I can into it. I'm not looking for balance. I'm looking to cram extraordinary results in restricted periods of time. This forces me to decide what to do that's most important. To do many things in one hour, naturally I have to pick the ones that are most important.

This is what you do now. An emergency comes up -- someone hits your car -- priority! Cram activities into time and you'll see what you need to do. Don't miss quota, and if you hit quota, are you missing your potential? That's what you should be measuring. What is your true potential? If you are missing quota or your potential, it's a prospecting issue. When you come up short, it's always because of a limited pipeline.

You aren't replacing sold customers with new possibilities. You are too busy doing the comfortable things, like organizing and planning. If you spend 14 hours a day working the way you should, the way I do, you'd probably figure out that you need someone else to do your filing and organizing. The opportunities to create a big pipeline should be your senior activity. Spend even just 25 percent of your day on prospecting and it won't hurt you, I promise.

Related: How Complaining Rewires Your Brain for Negativity

Here's a trick I use with prospecting to collapse time, to push and cram activities in:

1) When I make a phone call, I never hang up, I just hit the hold button quickly and dial another number. Why waste time putting the phone down and picking it back up? I move into the next call a little quicker each time.

2) I always leave a message. Don't waste time calling if you won't even leave a quick message.

3) When I visit a place, I always look to meet multiple people. Never go somewhere and just meet one person. Give your card out to everyone, not just decision makers.

4) Never go to just one place. If I go to visit one business, I'll visit a business nearby. Don't drive across town just to see one place.

5) I never waste time going anywhere, doing anything, without prospecting. Incorporate prospecting into everything you do.

Is life all work and no play? Well, I know a lot of people who never play because they don't do enough work. I invest in work so I can play. Always look to get yourself known. When you look at an hour, ask yourself how you're going to get yourself known in the next hour. Prospecting is attention for you, your product and your service. Time management is simple -- just make prospecting a priority.

If you haven't yet, pick up a copy of my new book Be Obsessed or Be Average today. Becoming obsessed with prospecting is one way to take your finances to the next level. Are you ready to get rich?

Grant Cardone

International Sales Expert & $1.78B Real Estate Fund Manager

Grant Cardone is an internationally-renowned speaker on sales, leadership, real-estate investing, entrepreneurship and finance whose five privately held companies have annual revenues exceeding $300 million.

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