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Five Ways to Ensure a Full Sales Pipeline

By John Chapin

Those who have been in sales for any length of time have more than likely experienced the ebb and flow of prospects in the pipeline from time to time. There will be certain days, weeks, and months that are heavy with appointments, servicing of accounts, and other items that make it difficult to find time to prospect. That said, here are five ways to ensure that there are always plenty of prospects in the pipeline:

1. Be prospecting every day.
Even on the busiest day, make some prospecting calls. No matter what is going on personally or professionally, there are always 10 to 20 minutes in the day to make some calls. Shoot for a minimum of at least five calls, every day, no matter what else is going on.

2. Take advantage of the slow times.
Take advantage of down times by making a significant number of prospecting calls. For example, if the goal is five calls a day, shoot for 20 or more calls on a slow day. One of the biggest prospecting issues is that when people have time to prospect, they either don’t do enough or they hit their daily goal and stop. The people who always have plenty of prospects make two to three times the amount of daily prospecting calls when they have the time.

3. Make prospecting a priority.
Salespeople have three priorities: prospecting, presenting, and closing. Those three activities simply have to come before the other things to be done during a day and they are all important. Many times, when there is plenty of time to prospect, salespeople find ways to “kill” time during prime calling hours—reading articles, going to doctor or dentist appointments, answering an unimportant email or making an unimportant phone call—all of which should be lower priority.

4. Get better at sales and prospecting. 
The better a salesperson is at prospecting and selling, the fewer calls he or she will have to make. Practice, drill, and rehearse prospecting calls. Practice with other salespeople and/or friends and family. This goes for prospecting as well as other sales situations such as: presentations, objections, and questions asked.

5. Work more hours when there is less time to prospect.
There will be times when a salesperson simply has to work more hours. Even if it’s only an average of an extra 30 minutes a day, that’s enough time for as many as 50 more phone calls per week.

Remember, other salespeople are out there is keeping their pipelines full at all times; actually, lots of them are. Whatever your excuse is—how bad you have it or how busy your day is— there is someone out there who has overcome it all to achieve a full sales pipeline at all times. Executing on most of the above items will simply come down to sheer determination and effort to do what must be done. Is it going to be easy? No. Can you do it and will it be worth it? Yes.

(Note: The examples I used for this article involve making phone calls vs. in-person calls. Whatever types of calls are being made, keep in mind that even on the busiest days it is possible to make one or two in-person visits or five to 10 phone calls. Either way, it’s crucial that some prospecting is done daily.)

Chapin has 24 years of sales, customer service, and management experience and is an award-winning sales speaker, trainer, and coach. He is also a sales rep in three industries and the primary author of the gold-medal-winning “Sales Encyclo­pe­dia.” To reach Chapin, find a free white paper on what it takes to be successful in sales, and subscribe to his monthly news­letter, visit completeselling.com.

 

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