The Prospecting Rule of Thirds

“You don’t really mean call 1,000 prospects, do you?”

Yes. I do mean call 1,000 prospects. Unless you have a list that you have built that is big enough—and well defined enough—to create more than enough opportunities, you need to make a lot of calls.

The First Third

At any given time, one-third of the prospects on your list will be dissatisfied. You have no idea which third of these prospects are dissatisfied. And you have no idea who within these prospects is motivated to change.

There is no list that you can buy that will tell you who is dissatisfied, why they are dissatisfied, and how motivated they are to improve things (and downloading a white paper or attending a webinar provides very little proof when it comes to real dissatisfaction).

The Last Third

Another third of your prospects are thrilled beyond belief with the company that sells them whatever you sell.

There is no way to tell by looking at a prospect list who is happy with their current provider. You might have some insight as to when they changed, but even that is no guarantee that they aren’t dissatisfied enough to change again.

The fact that so many people tell you that they are happy when you cold call them tells you nothing about whether they are dissatisfied enough to change. Mostly, it tells you that they didn’t hear enough value in your pitch.

The Middle Third

The middle third is made up of prospects that are neither happy or unhappy. The dissatisfaction they should have lies dormant. They aren’t in love with the people they work with, and they aren’t unhappy enough about anything to take action. They’re coasting along with things as they are.

It’s easier to create opportunities where major dissatisfaction exists. But it feels like this middle third is more like ninety percent of companies, even though that isn’t true.

You can develop the case for change within this third, even if it isn’t easy.

Make Your Calls

You are never going to know which prospect belongs in which category unless you pick up the phone and call them. The copied and pasted email isn’t going to help you. The comments you are making in LinkedIn groups aren’t going to tell you who is who either.

You can make the calls you need to make in a few weeks. Or you can take forever and never succeed at building the pipeline you need—or the opportunities you should be working on.

Make your calls.

  • How do you find the prospects who are dissatisfied enough to consider changing?
  • How do you identify the prospects where you might be locked out due to some sort of mismatch that would disqualify them?
  • How do you determine who has a form of dissatisfaction that is lying dormant, waiting to be developed?

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