Ep. 72 – Prospecting for Non-Sales Professionals and Entrepreneurs with Brendan Alan Barrett
“Do the simple things first. When you’re starting out, prospecting doesn’t seem scalable, but it allows you to gain the insight that ultimately leads to you doing the scalable things right.
I like to say “prospect from success” – don’t make things harder than they are. If you found an area in which you have been successful, a type of prospect or a prospect whose social network you can tap into, pursue that.”
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Today my special guest is Brendan Alan Barrett of Barrett Development. Brendan is a top sales producer who has generated millions of dollars in revenue. In addition to running his own sales organization in the civil engineering and construction industry, Brendan provides coaching and consulting to sales teams and business owners.
In this episode we talk about Brendan’s sales journey, tips on prospecting for first-time sellers, his own prospecting process and why he decided to grow a personal brand.
If you’re a solopreneur, first-time seller or a non-sales professional, you’re in for a treat.
What is prospecting?
Prospecting is not about just driving people towards a purchasing decision; it’s about marketing research too.
If you’re a first-time seller, you have an idea of who your buyer persona is, but until you actually get in the trenches and start talking to these people, you might quickly find out that it’s only a fraction of those people who from afar look like your ideal buyer persona, and now you’re going to start to gain insight as to why. And so you can pivot your approach to focus just on those people.
If it’s your first time prospecting…
Lower the bar. You don’t have to go in there hard; you don’t have to go in there bull-headed. You’re just having a conversation with another human being. Let it just be that.
You start asking them questions; get them talking about them and as you have an authentic, legitimate conversation with somebody, bits of information and insight will come out.
You’ll quickly be able to understand, “Hey, is this guy my prospective buyer? Maybe he is, maybe he isn’t. If he isn’t, maybe he knows 5 or 6 people that I should go talk to instead.”
The main stumbling block in sales for entrepreneurs
I think it’s very similar to my own experience in that we all have this preconceived notions about what it’s going to be like to go interrupt somebody’s day and try to generate a relationship out of thin air and how authentic can that be? We really question ourselves.
Still, a big portion of my business is built on prospecting, which is very much an interruption form of marketing. But when done right, it can lead into permission marketing – and that’s ultimately the goal.
When I’m prospecting, it’s not to sell; it’s to qualify somebody first, exchange in a dialogue and then get them to give me permission to sell.
If I’m talking with somebody and they ask me, “Well how much would it cost to do x?” That’s the grand slam. That’s how it’s supposed to happen.
The importance of following up
We’re busy people. I think that’s another thing first time sellers struggle with, is not having their messages, their voice mails returned, or their emails responded to.
It’s not that they’re not interested; it’s not that they don’t care or they think you’re a dirtbag for bothering them. It’s that they’re busy, and there’s a lot of white noise, and until you follow up and establish yourself as somebody whose message is legitimate enough and that they’re important enough to continue to follow up with, you’re not going to have that first conversation.
Sometimes it’s that follow up it takes just to qualify them to continue pursuing them as a prospect so that you can win that permission to start selling to them, to enter into a discovery phase.
Get in on Brendan’s 7-day Sales Challenge at http://startinphx.com/closebiggersales/