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5 Steps to Become The Best Prospector in the World

4 min read
Updated Aug. 5, 2021
Published Apr. 8, 2015

This post was originally published on

Since the first merchants packed products on their wagons and traveled to faraway lands in search of buyers, sellers have always worked to find a balance between personalization and the number of people they can reach.

At extremes, you can robo cold call 1,000 people today or spend your afternoon in deep conversation with three to four prospects. Or you can operate somewhere in between.

A career of prospecting has taught me there are two fundamental facts about sales development:

  1. The more people you reach, the higher the likelihood of success
  2. The more personal and targeted your engagement, the more successful it will be

But you absolutely need both — sincerity and scale, personalization and reach, heart and muscle.

We’ve talked to the best in the sales development industry and can shed some light on how to find this important balance between achieving numbers and personalization.

Here it is:

1. Get the Right Info

The right name, spelling, title, email, phone number. Use Google, LinkedIn, overseas labor, my company’s product, another company’s product…I don’t care where you get it. But the first thing you have to do is get good data.

Now, this often means getting small amounts of data on an ongoing basis. If you ever find yourself acquiring a list so large that you or your team can’t reach them sincerely in the next week, then go back to the drawing board. Bonus points for viewing each prospect’s LinkedIn profile, company bio page, or Twitter account and mentioning something you learned — quickly.

2. Find a Way to Personalize Emails While Still Able to Send Several at Once

Now by several, I don’t mean 410,000 or some crazy marketing number. I’m talking about a manageable amount of prospects that you can give your personal attention — like 30 to 70. While blasting the list may be fast, it won’t be effective. Your prospects open an email looking for a reason to delete it. If they see it was sent in mass by a robot marketing tool, it’s toast. Systems that recognize your need for personalization and scale are going to be more valuable than those that don’t.

3. Integrate Phone Calls

Sincerity comes from first understanding your prospects and then reaching out in a way that is convenient….for them. Sometimes you’ll catch them on email and other times on the phone. Have a dialer that is integrated with your email tool so you can track where you are in your communication outreach process. Record calls for coaching, rotate area codes by where people live and make sure you call the right times zones at the right time.

4. Use Social Touch Integration

If you sell to businesses, you’ll want to find your buyers on LinkedIn. Add a step to your prospecting cadence to send InMail or send invites to the VIP prospects. Make sure you use a system that prompts you to send them at the right times so you don’t forget. Automate the logging of these activities in CRM so you can track effectiveness.

5. Follow Metrics and Improve

In order to be sincere and effective, you’ll want to optimize your outreach steps. You’ll want to figure out scientifically which days and times are best to make calls, how many emails to send and which ones are most effective, among other analytics. Test everything. When you do you’ll wind up finding the most sincere and effective methods for approaching your prospects.

From salesmen peddling goods on their wagons to today’s sales development reps, balancing sincerity and scope has been an ongoing challenge. The good news is that with the tools available today, the struggle is a bit easier.

You can tailor your message to each contact without sacrificing your reach using tools to gather accurate info, collect metrics, and integrate phone calls.

So there it is. Take a look at your calendar… are you scheduled to meet with a few prospects face to face? Or have you scheduled hundreds of automated emails? I challenge you to find the middle ground. Starting today, become the salesperson who is both sincere and efficient.