Sales Prospecting Basics: 3 Must-Have Checklists

July 11, 2014

Even the most successful salespeople can benefit from going back to basics from time to time. Whether you’re a sales manager looking to improve the performance of your team, or a rep on the rise always looking to improve, these checklists will help keep you on top of your game.

Checklist #1: The Questions To Ask Yourself

  • Are you speaking slowly enough? Changing the pace at which you speak may feel uncomfortable, but most likely you won’t be perceived speaking as slowly to others as you do to yourself.
  • Are you speaking confidently? Confident people take their time when they speak because they are confident enough to believe that people will wait to hear what they have to say.
  • Would you return your own call?
  • Leave yourself a voicemail every know and then, and then listen to it. Does it sound good?

  • Do you know why the prospect is not interested? Always walk away from a call with a new piece of information.

Checklist #2: The Things You Should Avoid

  • Referring to past contact attempts. People want to work with winners. Don’t paint yourself as a loser by referring to past outreach attempts. Replace “I’ve sent you a couple emails…” with “The reason for my call today is…”
  • Trying to sound older than you are. Leave the radio voice at home. Hold true to who you are and be your authentic self. It is far easier to buy from a human than a robot.
  • Claiming to understand things you don’t. You’re not a bobble-head doll, so don’t act like one. Nodding or saying things like “I totally understand…” is an easy way for your leads to dismiss you as “just another sales rep.” Change the paradigm by asking questions instead of giving answers.
  • Imitating your peers. What works for you, might not work for me. So pull from your peers, but don’t imitate them.
  • Pitching in your voicemails and emails. Not the time or place. Use these channels as a way to elicit a response, not sell your product.
  • Putting multiple links in your emails. Unless you are into spam, and that kind of thing…
  • Letting people waste your time. You’re no more or less important than your prospects. Maintain your social value by valuing your time.
  • Multitasking. It’s the best way to get nothing done.

Checklist #3: The Keys to Success

  • Be creative. You can have all of the messaging, tools, and content you will need, but successful business development reps use their personality to their advantage. Prospects will be more receptive to humans, not robots.
  • Stay motivated. There are worse things in life than a rejection. Always remind yourself that this person who is rejecting you is just likely having a bad day and you caught them at the wrong time.
  •  Image courtesy of Daniel Foster


<strong>CeCe Bazar</strong> is an Associate on OpenView's investment team. She was previously a Sales Strategist also at OpenView.