Everybody hates to waste time.

We all lead busy lives and want to find the most efficient way to get it all done. In an attempt to try to save time, though, sales reps fall victim to inefficient prospecting practices.

Consider this statistic: at least 50% of your prospects are not a good fit for what you sell. By pushing your product or service on an unwitting prospect, you push that number even higher.

Although using some of these practices may seem like a shortcut, they will only end up hurting your numbers. They may appear to save time, but they slow you down and waste everyone’s time.

So which methods of prospecting are considered to be very inefficient?

Read on to find which ways you may be wasting your time!

Buying Random Leads

Buying random leads is a tempting shortcut to building up your prospecting database but buying just any leads will get you nowhere fast.

Although you may have more people to reach out to, they have a very low ROI. If your leads aren't the right fit for your company, you'll get low open rates, more complaints, and fewer sales. You'll be working hard, but it won't translate to more sales.

High-quality leads are an investment. Leads that are a good fit for your company, though, will mean you spend your time making actual sales. There should be nothing random about the leads you receive from your marketing department or a third-company.

However, don’t just sit around and wait for leads to come to you. You also need to take responsibility for your leads. Reach out to lost clients from last year, be active on social media, and ask for references. In the end, you may have some of the best leads at your fingertips.

Don’t waste your time and money on random leads. Make high quality leads a priority and take responsibility.

Not Researching Your Client

It will quickly become evident if you don't know anything about your client. The goal of sales is to offer potential clients' solutions to their problems. How can you do that if you don't know about them?

Although it takes time to learn about your customer, it'll be worth the effort if you can speak to their business or lives to offer your solution. It quickly becomes inefficient to show up unprepared, whether for a meeting or a phone call, especially if you end up finding out that you’re not reaching out to the right person or company.

The internet makes it easier than ever to find out more about your customer. Take a look at their LinkedIn profile or company website to learn more and see if they’re a good fit. Know a little bit about what they do and get some background.

Impersonal Messaging

One of the main reasons to research your client is to make your communication with them more personal. In your desire to reach as many people as possible, you may rely on generic messages. Impersonal contact with a lead, though, will likely lose them altogether.

NewVoiceMedia surveyed what annoyed customers most. 59% responded that generic sales pitches were one of their top complaints. Your target customer won't respond well to your pitch if it has nothing to do with them.

Cultivating a relationship is important for a long-term partnership. Generic messages undermine that. A personal message, on the other hand, shows that you listen to them as a person and want to solve their problems with your solution. A generic message shows a lack of initiative to get to know them.

Personalization doesn't mean that you can't have a template email, for example. However, you might want to add in details to personalize your message beyond your greeting. Always make it sound like you're speaking to them personally, not sending out an email blast.

Likewise, does your pitch sound the same for everyone? Mix it up to show how you can help them, rather than spending too much time talking about how great your solution is.

Failing to Follow Up

It can be frustrating how many tries it takes to get through to a lead. It now takes an average of 8 cold calls to reach a prospect and 18 calls to contact a buyer. People are busy and less likely to pick up their phones, and sales reps have failed to adjust by calling more often.

You need to be calling your leads more than once or twice. Rather than getting distracted, or giving up, set up a sales prospecting cadence. With a sales cadence, you can set up specific times and mediums to make sure that you reach out enough to get ahold of your prospect. You will be less likely to get annoyed, and your communication will be less erratic. You also won’t be annoying your prospects by reaching out too often or at the wrong time. Switching up between morning and afternoon, and phone and email will make it more likely that you catch them at a good time.


Pulling a “Bait-and-Switch”

Don't try to disguise your meeting as anything else than discussing your solution with them. Few things will annoy a prospect faster than going into a meeting with the understanding that you only want their feedback when you actually wish to have a sales meeting with them. Likewise, a "free prize" to draw them in will likely backfire for you.

The “bait-and-switch” tactic may make people more likely to meet with you, but you’ll only end up breaking trust with a potential customer. It will make you seem like a greasy sales rep. You’ll be wasting your time and close the door completely.

Be upfront with leads when you want to schedule a demo. It's great to get feedback on your pitch or product. Don't use that as an excuse, though, to actually schedule a sales meeting.

Getting Lost in the Hustle

Your clients can sense your energy and enthusiasm, and it can be contagious. Invest in yourself to cultivate it. It may seem ironic to spend less time selling to get more sales, but it might be just what you need.

If you're working 14-hour days through holidays and weekends, your pitch is likely to get as tired as you. Instead, be conscious to develop a work life balance and spend time disconnecting and taking care of yourself. Get enough sleep at night, eat a healthy diet, exercise, socialize, and invest time in a hobby you enjoy.

Although it might seem like lost time, you’ll end up with the energy to more than make up for it. Plus, your job is a means to enjoy your life. If you’re just lost in work, tired and stressed all the time, your work and personal life will suffer.

Get Rid of Ineffective Prospecting Practices

When it comes to prospecting, there are few shortcuts. Take the time and energy to get it right. Although it might seem like you're losing prospects by getting rid of these practices, you'll be narrowing your focus to the ones that count.