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  • Writer's pictureRYAN VOELTZ


Updated: Nov 12, 2021

The primary reason prospecting has such a low probability of success is that you often need to be in the right place at the right time in order to succeed. Per a survey by the RAIN Group, 75% of decision-makers responded that the biggest factor determining whether they would respond to an inbound sales call was whether or not they had a current need for a product or service.

Unfortunately, prior to engaging in a dialogue, a salesperson has no way of knowing what a prospect’s current product or service needs are. In other words, a given prospect’s receptivity to a given value prop is out of the salesperson’s control. Fortunately, what is in the salesperson’s control is the number of prospects they call on, which is the best way to increase the odds of being in the right place at the right time. Playing the numbers game well is the cornerstone of a successful sales career and the most important part of the prospecting stage of the sales cycle.

Here is the problem: most salespeople do not embrace and leverage this fundamental concept to their advantage. According to Marc Wayshak of the Sales Insights Lab, two-thirds of salespeople contact less than 250 prospects per year, and less than a quarter exceed their quota. Coincidence? I think not.

The most common mistake salespeople make when prospecting—the thing that keeps them from filling their funnel—is a lack of sufficient call volume. My experience over two decades of working as a professional salesperson, with and around other professional salespeople, has proven this time and time again. Despite its simplicity and obviousness, many salespeople seem to go out of their way to avoid properly filling the top layer of their sales funnel with prospects, and as a result, they end up reaping a meager output of customers from the bottom layer.

More than anything else, prospecting provides the foundation which will determine how much success a salesperson or organization will achieve. Excel at prospecting, and you will succeed in spite of other shortcomings you may have. Underperform in your prospecting efforts, and your long-term success in sales will be unavoidably stunted, no matter how great you are at everything else.

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