This book is one of the most powerful sales books I’ve read in recent years. The author goes straight to the nub of why many sales reps don’t hit target – they seem to demur, for a variety of reasons, to do enough prospecting. Blount lists his ‘seven mindsets of fanatical prospectors’. One of those mindsets is ‘relentless‘, or the ability to keep going. One needs to have or develop these characteristics in order to succeed at prospecting and ultimately your sales targets.
Blount develops this theme by explaining, at some length, the “Three P’s That Are Holding You Back”. One is that old chestnut, the Paralysis of Analysis. Another is Procrastination.
The author then reveals the objectives of prospecting, appointment making, time management ( I prefer to call it self-management) and multi-tasking. I agree with Jeb. Salespeople like most people doing a job aren’t terribly good at multi-tasking. The brain doesn’t actually do several things at once. It just flits from one topic or problem to solve to another. Far better that we focus on a single task at a time. Common sense really.
It was a thrill to read the passage on cold-calling. And in particular, ‘the fine art of interrupting’ as Jeb puts it. Of course he’s not wrong. If you’re in new B2B sales at whatever level, you are a disruptor and you have to interrupt. That’s what cold-calling is all about.
And the world has moved on……..
Fanatical Prospecting was published in 2015. This means that Jeb may have been going through his redacts in 2013 and 2014. As I write these notes, we are approaching the autumn (Fall) of 2020. We are still in the midst of a pandemic. We’re also several years into the internet age. The concept of a sales team being tasked with phoning random unqualified buyers at companies listed in the Yellow Pages, outdated CRM or similar now seems bizarre. Cold-calling may have been the preferred method of contacting people in the last century but not nowadays. Buyers and people of influence are difficult to get hold of. Many are currently working from home and are product and service provider savvy. They don’t tend to entertain even a very persuasive and professional salesperson on the phone – unless there’s a compelling reason to do so.
There’s plenty of scope on Google, Linked-In and other on-line services for you to thoroughly research a prospective customer and send a letter by snail-mail. That way, your missive and its contents can be read at the buyer’s leisure and when they are not under pressure.
The scatter-gun cold-calling or tele-marketing approach in B2B sales may get you the occasional sale. But it is not a wise use of your time.
I’m sure you’ve heard of that well-know sales axiom – ‘you’re only as good as your last month’. Or putting it another way, you have to continually feed your sales pipeline/funnel/tube (you choose) and not rest on your laurels. Jeb Blount illustrates how the ‘Universal Law of Need’, 30-day Rule and his ‘Law of Replacement’ affects sales performance over a period of time.
Fanatical Prospecting – Part Two coming up next week……