Jeff Bajorek believes that prospecting is so much more of the sales process than people give it credit for. He emphasizes that “Prospecting is understanding your message from the get-go. Prospecting is creating tension. Prospecting is demonstrating your expertise.” Success with prospecting relies completely on being someone worth talking to with something worth talking about. Listen to this episode of Sales Reinvented to hear Jeff share his thoughts on the prospecting and lead generation process.
Jeff Bajorek is a consultant, coach, author, and podcast host. He helps sales teams perform better by helping them to rethink the way they sell. Jeff’s latest book, “Rethink the Way You Sell: When It Goes Sideways” was written during the Coronavirus pandemic, intending to remind salespeople of what’s important. Success with prospecting relies completely on being someone worth talking to with something worth talking about.
Jeff points out that if you don’t have any pipeline, it changes everything else that you do in the sales process. When there are fewer deals to be worked, every deal becomes exponentially more important. When you feel like they’re more important than they need to be, you make bad decisions. You give away value when you don’t need to.
Jeff also points out that it’s more productive to sell when you can do the right things for the right reason. What if you could be the same person all the time? Jeff made more sales when he wasn’t pushing to reach his goals. He was a different person towards the end of every month and every year. He wanted to keep being that person. Pipeline gives you the sense of security that you need and allows you to be who you want to be as a salesperson. You can negotiate harder when you have a solid pipeline.
Jeff’s gut reaction is that you can't describe the ideal process because there isn’t one that applies to everyone. Too many salespeople are looking to paint by numbers and you just can’t do it. When you start with the solution to the problem in mind and work backward with the most effective way for you to do prospect, you get more creative. You take more risks and have more fun. When you get too tied up in “this is how this has to be done” it leads to poorer results. Jeff emphasizes that if you spend less time worrying about doing it the right way, you’d spend more time doing it effectively.
Jeff notes that you have to be willing to think on your feet and ask questions you don’t know the answer to. It encourages a collaborative environment where you can answer questions together. You can’t be truly curious if you’re not willing to be wrong. So leave your assumptions at the door. Don’t bully your prospect around by asking questions they don’t know the answer to—but you do. When you are manipulating your prospect with questions, they will know it.
Sellers could also learn to be more empathetic. Put yourself in your prospect’s shoes and appreciate your own messaging from their point of view. How would you feel receiving that email or being asked that question? It’s why you need to have your messaging down. Is curiosity built into your questions? Does it relate to the solution? Are you being empathetic? Is everything tailored to the person you’re talking to?
When you’re confident in the story you’re telling and the way you solve problems, you feel confident. Jeff calls it swagger. You know you’re putting your best work out there every day. You know you’re doing the work you need to do to generate results regardless of when that is. Context and perspective are often missed. What are you trying to accomplish and how are you getting your message across?
Jeff feels—because he runs his own business and he’s a very opinionated person—that he’s held to a higher standard. He often feels judged for how he does things. He gets several people referred to him regularly and always has leads in his pipeline. He doesn’t work the phones often. He doesn’t have an email sequence ready to go. He found himself feeling guilt for not having the perfect lead generation sequences in place. But he’s already effective. He pointed out that he got so tied up in doing things “the right way”, that he forgot that the work was being done.
There are top performers out there who are insecure about the way they’re performing. If your business is growing and you’re outperforming your peers, remember: the problem you’re trying to solve is more important than the way you solve it. The solution is paramount. Are you solving the problems? Jeff points out that at the end of the day an opportunity is an opportunity. Don’t focus too much on how you accomplished it. Instead, recognize what you’re doing well.
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