The way to sales success has always been doing the "right things" to solve the single most difficult problem facing producers: prospecting!

Doing the right things will generate the activity to build an inventory of qualified prospects for your sales pipeline and the cycle of simultaneously closing a sale, turning a suspect into a qualified prospect, and making a new sales presentation. Are today's "right things" any different from what worked yesterday?

New producers, millennials and gen-Xers look mostly to social media to prospect and maybe occasionally to friends and family. Sure, plenty of contacts can be made via social media, but the objective is to get a qualified prospect — not just a lot of names. They are still learning how to generate new business from total-account selling, account rounding, cross-selling, but are not there yet. In a prior article, I stated the old, but still true, basic criteria to qualify a suspect into a bona fide prospect.

  • Need – has to need what you are selling;
  • Pay – has the financial ability to pay for it;
  • Pass – pass underwriting requirements (losses, health, financial); and
  • Seen – can the prospect be seen under conditions favorable to making the sale, i.e., in person, no gatekeeper, no mail-in proposals, no evenings or weekends?

The intermediate producers, with five to 10 years of selling experience, probably have one foot in the old world of prospecting, such as cold calling, direct mail, free-gifts-with-no-obligation offers in the mail, networking with folks who turn out to be salespeople rather than decision-makers. The other foot is in the new world of social media — and they really don't know what works best. But they have built strong relationships that can be incredibly helpful in gaining new clients from referrals.

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