How has prospecting changed?


When I was thirteen years old my father took us on “vacation” to Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas. I use quotations for “vacation” because it was the worst memory of my teenage life. (Ok – the boy who dumped me that year was worse, but I specialized in drama at that age so give me a pass on this!) He took an MTV-watching, big-haired, 80s heart-throb loving thirteen-year-old to the middle of a field to pan through dirt for the possibility of diamonds. Sitting in the 98-degree heat, picking up dirt, putting it into some old tin pan, and then: sift sift sift.

Now think of cold calling. What’s different? NOTHING.

What’s the difference in prospecting today?

Plenty! First, cold anything is pretty bad. It’s almost considered a social courtesy today to at least be a warm introduction. Cold is annoying. Warm is meh (but something might be there). Hot is best!

What is considered “cold” today?

Cold calling still exists and it’s awful. Think of me sifting dirt in Arkansas. That sucked and so does cold calling.

Do you ever get those unsolicited emails which say, “I’m trying to reach the person who is in charge of fill-in-the-blank?” Do you ever get auto-direct message on Twitter when  you follow someone and it says, “Do you want to learn more about 401(k) rollover prospects?” And to make it worse – they relentlessly follow-up on why you didn’t get back. Because this sucked, too.

What is considered “warm” today?

Warm introductions include mentions by friends on social media and casual conversations where your name comes up (and you’re told about it). Don’t get me wrong – you should definitely be taking these seriously. Too often, I see one of two behaviors happen in the “warm” phase:

  1. Throwing up on the potential lead with everything under the sun. (Overwhelm)
  2. Saying “thanks” and then moving on thinking the prospect will come to you when they’re ready. (Underwhelm)

Both of these are the wrong approaches. If someone took the time to mention you to someone else, you need a systematic process (approach) to not only thank the person who mentioned but to work the potential lead. Think customer service first (a specific process) bundled with care (unscripted contact). This will be different in each office, but you get the point.

What is considered “hot” today?

If someone is brought to you (especially physically!) then this should be treated like the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Respect the relationship and never take advantage of the opportunity. Treat them as if they are already clients. This is the top-tier opportunity.

Be a person of action – stop wasting time on cold opportunities. Warm introductions are awesome opportunities to increase business and growth in the office and of course every red hot lead should be treated as if they are a current client. Identify a process for the warm and hot opportunities and don’t forget to add a little “unscripted” care while you’re at it!




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