Inc Magazine Gets it Wrong on Sales Prospecting

Posted by Dave Kurlan on Fri, May 31, 2013 @ 01:05 AM

I have to question Geoffrey James for an article that he recently posted on Inc. Magazine's online site.

He opens the article by saying that for most companies "the ability to find potential customers is the difference between growth and bankruptcy."  His opening might be a bit of an exaggeration.  The reality is that it could be the difference between growth and lack of growth because most companies that aren't growing aren't going bankrupt.

In his article, he shares a systematic approach for prospecting "loosely based upon a conversation with Thomas Ray Crowel."  My interpretation of his use of the word "loosely" is that he contributed his own opinions to this systematic approach.  That makes the article all the more disappointing.

In the fifth step of the prospecting call, he says that if the prospect sounds interested, you should skip the script and jump right to the close.  Really?  Isn't this a prospecting call?  He makes it sound more like telemarketing than prospecting for appointments or meetings.  It certainly doesn't apply to a complex B2B sale!

He also suggests that you create a qualifying script using the old - very old - method of authority, budget and need.  If you are selling something that requires authority and budget, then you'll require more than need to get them to spend their money and you certainly wouldn't be able to jump right to the close.  Why would we want to qualify this early?  Until we have heard that they have a compelling reason to buy, they won't have an incentive to answer any qualifying questions!

This systematic approach (250 cold calls/week) is based on a salesperson making cold calls all day.  That in itself is very archaic and when it is performed as a full-time function, it's usually by the lead generation team, not salespeople.  After all, if the salespeople are making 250 calls per week, when would they have time to conduct their scheduled sales calls and meetings?

Geoffrey's subtitle for the article is a "step by step approach for building up a sales pipeline."  Lead generation people don't have pipelines and people who close on the first phone call don't have them either.  His steps and examples are not consistent with salespeople who actually build sales pipelines!

If you need to connect with business prospects and build a sales pipeline, read Frank Belzer's terrific book, Sales Shift.  His book has some truly relevant, modern, effective and efficient methods for finding and closing new business - the new way.  And if you want to pound the phones and dial for dollars, my book, Baseline Selling - How to Become a Sales Superstar by Using What You Already Know about the Game of Baseball, has a terrific prospecting section and you can get some terrific tips on reaching 1st base at the Baseline Selling site.

You can also find some good articles on prospecting right here on my Blog.

Topics: Dave Kurlan, Baseline Selling, sales shift, frank belzer, cold calling, geoffrey james, sales prospecting

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Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker and Sales Thought Leader.  Dave Kurlan's Understanding the Sales Force Blog earned a medal for the Top Sales & Marketing Blog award for six consecutive years. This article earned a Bronze Medal for Top Sales Blog post in 2016, this one earned a Silver medal for 2017, and this article earned Silver for 2018. Read more about Dave.

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