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  • Brett Zalaski

Self-Prospecting - Pt. 1

Almost 10% of the all the columns I've written have included some form of comment on the importance of self-prospecting. It is one of the most requested topics for the site. I have a HALF-DAY OF TRAINING CONTENT ON IT. And I've never directly tackled it on the site. Time to correct that.

This will be a two-part article on self-prospecting. This part will focus on why self-prospecting is so critical to sales. Next week will focus on the top places a rep needs to consistently self-prospect.

So what is self-prospecting? It's finding your own leads. Wherever you do (we'll cover this!), however you do, it's anything you introduce into your touchpoints that did not come from your managers. So simple...yet so critical.

So why self-prospecting? At one of the teams I was at we did a huge deep dive on self-prospected leads and sales...and it's held true wherever I've been. Based on these experiences here are critical realities about self-prospecting:

  • They connect at a higher rate: You bring more energy to self-prospected leads than you do ticket buyers. Ticket buyers have a perceived ceiling and are leads given to you...self-prospected leads are the exact opposite. The more energy, the more likely the connection.

  • They schedule meetings at a higher rate: If you connect with people with more energy at a higher rate, what are the chances you schedule more meetings (B2B or B2C)? Probably pretty f**king high, right?

  • They close at a higher rate: If you have more energy and schedule more face to face interactions, how do you think that would positively or negatively your close rate? If you don't know, in #sportsbiz, face to face meetings are 10x-30x more likely to close than ticket buyer leads.

  • They close for more money: The next two were surprising...but make a ton of sense. Ticket buyer leads tend to be better partial plan buyers than season ticket or group ticket buyers. They bought one ticket, so immediately jumping all the way up the ladder is a tough conversation...especially since you're starting the conversation talking about one game. You have the entire world at your disposal with self-prospected leads...sure, partials, but also season tickets, group tickets, premium hospitality, etc...the conversation starts so much wider. The wider the conversation, the more money you make.

  • They close quicker: This one is critical. In our study, from first contact to close, the process took 10 days on average for B2B sales and 3 days on average for B2C sales. B2B leads we gave them took 30 days and ticket buyer leads took 10 days. That's a crazy difference...and, again, it comes down to energy and enthusiasm. When you call the lead you think has a ceiling that was given to you by your boss, you have less energy towards it. When you find, you schedule it, you track it, and you kill it, you are more energetic towards it. It just makes sense.

I was lucky enough to once get paired up golfing with one of the top insurance salespeople in the state of Connecticut. As you can imagine, knowing me, we talked about fishing the whole time. Just kidding, we talked sales for 18 straight holes.

The majority of our discussion focused on self-prospecting...or as most salespeople call it 'prospecting'. He spent 90% of his time doing it. Not selling. Not customer service. Prospecting. His quote to me that really struck me was as follows; 'It's just where the money is. I don't make money in the sales process. I don't make money off my current clients. I make money from exploding the top of my sales funnel with people. If I do that, something ALWAYS shakes out.'

Or you could just check out this Brian Tracy quote. That seems like a pretty fun way to sell, too.

'Ok, Brett, I get it. Self-prospecting is critical. So I'll just start doing it.' Not so fast, #sportsbiz sales compatriot. According to HubSpot research, prospecting is THE most difficult part of sales. FOLLOWED by closing. Why? Prospecting is relentless. You stop, your sales stop. It's every day, every where, every chance. Taking your foot off the gas pedal for a scant couple days and it can cause upwards of a MONTH of a sales slump. So HOW do we self-prospect in a way that will drive more sales & be something we can do consistently? Come back next week!

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