Why The Stop And Go Strategy Does Not Work When It Comes To Prospecting For Group Sales

MapsImagine driving your car for a few seconds and then shutting it off to look at a map.

Now drive a few more seconds, stop the car and look at the map again.

How effective is this stop and go strategy?

How far will you get if you continue driving like this?

Many of us use a similar stop and go strategy when we prospect for new business

Instead of just making sales calls when we prospect, we continue to stop and do research. Let’s go over an example:

Many of us will come into work, fresh and ready to make some calls. Except that we don’t have any calls to make. So we fire up our computers, pull up Google, and start doing some research. We look up softball tournaments in our area and start scanning the list. When we come across something that looks interesting, we start dialing away.

Once that sales calls ends, we stop and go back to doing research. We get another name or two to call, and there we are, making those calls. Much like the driving example above, stopping in the middle of our sales calls will not get us very far.

The problem with this stop and go method of prospecting is that it causes us to lose focus.

And focus is exactly what we need when we are prospecting

In fact, according to this article on Harvard Business Review mentioned that every time we switch from one task to another, it takes a full fifteen minutes for us to be able to focus again. And in another study by Gloria Mark at the University of California, it showed that going back and forth from one task to another lowers productivity. While we feel like we are going faster, we are doing less, leading to higher frustration levels.

So when we switch between making sales calls and doing research every few minutes, we lose focus. And this lack of focus results in half baked (and unorganized) research which then yields ineffective sales calls.

Rather than do both these tasks simultaneously, we should split them up

Instead of researching in the middle of our sales calls, let’s put aside a separate block of time for it. Try doing all the research on new prospects towards the end of the day.

Doing so has three advantages.

Advantage #1: It gives you time throughout the day to develop a list of things you want to research

On any given day, you’ll come up with a dozen things that you “should” research. Yet, most of us don’t write it down and even fewer of us actually end up doing the research. Instead, as the ideas pop up during the day, jot them down on a dedicated list. By the end of the day, you’ll have a nice list of ideas that you can now research and qualify as potential leads.

Advantage #2: Because you are dedicating time to research, you are able to think things through a bit more

Instead of being reactive, you’re able to plan your calls and cast a wider. Once you get in the rhythm of doing research, you’ll find yourself getting better at it, and faster too. Plus, the dedicated time will allow you to organize your thoughts and your calendar. Instead of calling people on a random basis, you’ll base your calls on when the planners are looking to book, and that alone will increase your chances of winning the business.

Advantage #3: The dedicated time will let you prospect more consistently

There are a gazillion things that need to be done on any given day so many of us find it hard to prospect. Setting aside a specific time to research new prospects will allow you to do it more consistently. And that consistency will let you create a list of prospects.

Once you have a list of prospects, you’re ready to make those calls

As soon as you enter the sales office the following morning, make a beeline for the coffee, and head to the office. Put a sign on the door telling everyone that you don’t need to be disturbed unless another customer is outside waiting for you. Don’t open your email, social networks or anything else. Don’t check your voice-mail, and don’t answer any new calls.

Just start calling off the list. You’ll notice an ease when you realize that there is no research to do. You’ll make call after call without needing to stop and look up a phone number, or what a group does. Not only will your calls move along faster, but you’ll develop a rhythm and a level of comfort with these calls.

Separating research and sales calls into two different time slots will make both tasks much faster and much more effective.

But some of you might still insist that you can do both simultaneously

Unfortunately, in today’s society, it is a popular notion that multitasking works. Except it doesn’t. According to the same study Harvard Business Review mentioned above, It actually lowers productivity by 40% because of a lack of focus. Multitasking slows us down, making us lose our concentration. And that is the last thing we need to be in our sales calls.

Instead of multitasking during our sales calls, we should try focusing on one task at a time. Doing so will drive our sales results much further.

And you won’t have to stop every few minutes to look at a map.

What should you do next?

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