The Ten Commandments of Prospecting


1.  Make an appointment with yourself for one hour each day to prospect.

Prospecting, like anything else, requires discipline. Prospecting can always be put off until a later day when the circumstances will be better. I can assure you that the time to prospect will never be exactly right. Make an appointment with yourself each day to prospect.

2. Make as many calls as possible

Before prospecting, you should always take the time to properly define your target market. If you do this, you will only call the best prospects in the market. If you only call the best, every call will be a quality call since we will only call those who are most likely to buy large quantities of our product or service. Make as many calls as possible during the hour. Since every call is a quality call, more is always preferred to less.

3.  Make your calls brief.

The objective of the prospecting call is to get the appointment. You cannot sell a complex product or service over the phone and you certainly don’t want to get into a debate of some sort. Your prospecting call should last approximately two to three minutes and should be focused on introducing yourself, your product, briefly understanding the prospects needs so that you can provide them with a very good reason to spend some their valuable time with you, and most importantly, getting the appointment.

4. Be prepared with a list of names before you call.

Not being prepared with a list of names will force you to devote much, if not all of your prospecting hour, to finding the names you need. You will have been busy, you will feel as though you worked hard, but you will have made no calls. I recommend having at least a one month supply of names on hand at all times.

5. Work without interruption.

I recommend you not take calls and not entertain meetings during your prospecting time. Take full advantage of the prospecting learning curve. As with any repetitive task, the more often you repeat the task during a contiguous block of time, the better you become. Prospecting is no exception to the rule. Your second call will be better than your first, your third better than your second, and so on. In sports, they call this getting in the groove. You will find that your prospecting technique actually improves over the course of your prospecting hour.

6. Consider prospecting during off peak hours when conventional prospecting times don’t work.

Conventional cold calling hours are between 9-5. Set aside one hour each day during this period. When conventional hours are not working, consider switching or supplementing your prospecting time by doing it during off peak hours. So of your best work will be done between 8 and 9 AM, between 12 and 1 PM and between 5 and 6 PM.

7. Vary your call times.

We are all creatures of habit. So are your prospects. In all likelihood, they are attending the same meeting each Monday at 10 AM. If you cannot get through at this time, learn from your lack of success and call them at other times during the day or on other days. You’ll be amazed at the results. If you’re wondering just how you might track your calls, let alone  your call times, look to our next commandment.

8. Be organized.

Use a computerized contact management system. It should allow you to record a follow up call three years from tomorrow with no more difficulty than one for tomorrow.

9. See the end before you begin

Establish a goal and then develop a plan to work towards it.

10. Don’t stop.

Persistence is one of the key virtues in selling success. I have often read that most sales are made after the fifth call and most sales people quit after the first.


The Ten Commandments of Prospecting