“…there are no underemployed true sales hunters. People who have mastered creating and closing sales opportunities are in high demand and command top dollar. There are lots of sellers who can fulfill demand but far fewer who can create it.”
-Mike Weinberg in Chapter 6 of Sales Truth
My July 4th post boldly declared that sellers who master opportunity creation, who take full responsibility for keeping the top of their pipeline full, and who free themselves from living trapped in reactive mode are truly free! These top-producers not only experience the most freedom, they have the most fun, bring in the most New Sales, and reap the biggest rewards!
The keys to self-generating your own opportunities are not sexy, new or trendy. These topics don’t get a lot of press today, particularly on LinkedIn, because they are more about discipline, effort and focus, not hacks, tricks or shortcuts:
- 1. The Right Attitude
- 2. Intentional Calendar Management
- 3. Strategic Targeting
- 4. Compelling Messaging
- 5. Commitment to Prospecting
I imagine that even before we begin unpacking this list, many are mentally scanning these five keys and beginning to do a self-evaluation. At least it’s my hope that you’re already asking yourself:
- What’s my attitude toward pursuing prospects and having to fill my own funnel?
- How well do I “own” my calendar and intentionally dedicate chunks of time for creating new opportunities?
- Is my list strategic, and am I pursuing the right target accounts?
- Can I sharpen my messaging to both increase my confidence and more effectively position myself to pique a prospect’s interest?
- How can I prioritize prospecting and become more proficient at securing meetings with target accounts?
Do you realize how many sales challenges would be overcome if sellers, even without help or coaching, began tackling those five keys and the questions above? Think about the benefits and improved results every salesperson and every sales team would experience!
I tackled “The Right Attitude” earlier in the year. Take two minutes to read this article and determine if you do indeed have a healthy, positive attitude about proactively pursuing prospect and clients for new business.
Regarding “Intentional Calendar Management,” back in May I challenged sellers hard on the concept that “Busyness Does Not Necessarily Drive New Business,” and today I want to push you even harder about how you’re using your calendar and whether you have been truly prioritizing opportunity creation.
The most productive salespeople and executives time-block their calendars. They make appointments with themselves to work on their highest-value, highest-payoff activities. If you are serious about creating new opportunities, then schedule uninterrupted 90-minute blocks to focus exclusively on the proactive activities that create new opportunities. No one defaults to prospecting and business development mode. There is always something more urgent or more attractive to do. Go in your calendar right now and carve out blocks for proactive selling time. And commit to keeping those appointments with yourself!
Prioritize Creating Opportunities:
I recently wrote that “Focusing on These 3 Sales Verbs Will Transform Your Results.” Yes, top-producing sellers maximize time spent creating, advancing, and closing sales opportunities. They focus like crazy on these three verbs and do everything possible to avoid or delegate tasks that neither create, advance, or close opportunities. But the secret to keeping your pipeline full is prioritizing opportunity creation. Instead of defaulting to working your hottest opportunities first trying to close them, deploy this counterintuitive best practice: Schedule your prospecting (opportunity creation) time blocks first thing in the morning. Instead of starting your day responding to emails or working existing deals, dedicate it to creating new opps at the top of your funnel. Then you can spend the rest of the day working to advance existing opps or putting out customer service fires.
Let’s wrap this up where we started. Salespeople who master opportunity creation have the most fun, the fattest pipelines, and the fattest paychecks. Here’s to becoming a master opportunity creator!
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