Most of your sales prospects don’t really want to talk to you — at first. They may need you, but they simply don’t have much time for you. That’s why sales training is critical for building a prospect list that’s laser-focused on success.

Here are 6 steps for on-target prospecting that I use in my consulting and coaching business. Put these into practice and you’ll achieve measurable results at your dealership.

1. Define your prospect.

Do you have certain criteria you use before you put someone on your prospect list? I’ve noticed that a lot of sales reps are fairly random at this. To get better results, come up with a list of 3-4 qualities of an ideal prospect.

My test for defining the ideal prospect is this: Do they currently buy the types of products I’m selling, or have they in the past?

If the answer is yes, they’re on my list. If it’s no, I wouldn’t necessarily not put them on my list if I still feel they’re a great fit, but they won’t be at the top.

One last tip in defining who should be on your list: Not every prospect needs to be a whale, or have massive potential. Whales are harder to close, so don’t load your list exclusively with massive potential clients.

2. Identify your call-to-close ratios.

To create a highly targeted Top 10 or Top 20 list, you’ll need to know how many prospects you need to reach your goal. That’s all about your call-to-close ratio. Here’s an example of how to calculate it: if your goal is $10K and your average deal is $1K, then you’ll need to close 10 deals to reach that goal. But unless you close 100% of the deals you approach, you’ll need to meet with more than 10 people to reach that benchmark. My basic recommendation is to double the number to create a good, safe goal. So, if your goal is $10K, you average is $1K per deal and your close ratio is about 50%, you’ll need to meet with about 20 people to close 10 deals.

3. Create email that connects.

Email is obviously a primary way for sales reps to reach out to people, but many sales training programs say that nobody wants to read our emails anymore. However, I believe you can get people to read your emails by keeping them simple and relevant.

Emails that hit the bulls eye follow a 3:3:3 format: 3 words in the subject line; 3 sentences in the email; and addresses 1 of 3 needs — saving them money, making them money or saving them time.

4. Craft voicemails that cut straight to the core.

Once again, realize that practically nobody wants to listen to your voicemail. So be strategic when you leave one. If you start out with your name, nobody will listen and it will be deleted. Instead, format your voicemail — 30 seconds maximum — in 3 parts. For example:

  • Share some insight you have about their business.
  • Give a success story from your work with a similar company.
  • Say why they should call or email you back.

5. Cultivate the best time to prospect.

Reach out to people at a time when they are able to reply. I’ve found that the two best times to prospect are 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., before people go to lunch or go home. Obviously, you might have a best time to call on people based on your relationship with them or the type of customer they are.

6. Establish a smart pattern of follow-up frequency.

The pattern of 3 works well here, as well. If I reach out to someone with an email or voicemail on Monday, I’m going to reach out again on Thursday — 3 days later. A colleague of mine refers to this as “polite persistence.”

To sum up, new business prospecting is critical to sales success. If you dedicate one hour every day to practicing the targeted sales training process I’ve outlined here, you’ll quickly find your sales hitting the mark and exceeding what you thought possible.