If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Two colleagues complained they were so involved in their work, they didn’t have time to prospect. One guy even said he was thinking of cold calling (shudder) and doing more marketing. Why didn’t he think to ask for referrals?

That’s a rhetorical question. I already know the answer. People are so focused on their projects, and they don’t make time to prospect. Yes, you must make time. If you’re heads-down on your projects and don’t prospect, you’ll have no pipeline when you surface. That’s scary.

There’s no excuse today. You have email, social media, and smartphones at your fingertips. How long does it take to make one more call, send one more email, or contact someone you know on social media to schedule a phone call or a get-together? Two minutes tops. No more excuses. Reach out to one person a day to start a conversation. And please don’t tell me you don’t have time.

It will take more than two minutes to read this month’s posts from No More Cold Calling, but consider doing it anyway:

Without Call-Backs, Your Lead Gen Is Dead in the Water

Has selling really changed in the last decade? Well, sure. Social media, marketing automation, AI, predictive analytics, and all kinds of technology have cast doubt on traditional sales techniques and encouraged organizations to rely on digital sales prospecting. That’s a problem because the best lead gen strategies aren’t digital. They’re personal.

A new generation of salespeople have entered the workforce, many of whom only know how to communicate digitally—sending emails, texting, and “talking” on social media. Even seasoned salespeople have been lulled into a sense of sales complacency, having been convinced that lead gen technology can do their jobs for them.

Every sales leader wants to know how to generate leads—not just any leads, but qualified leads. The first step is to stop expecting digital lead gen miracles. In B2B sales, closers aren’t the ones with the best technology. They’re the ones with the best relationships. (Read “Without Call-Backs, Your Lead Gen Is Dead in the Water.”)

There’s a Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely

Ever have a good idea pop into your head, seemingly out of nowhere? We all have, but I bet it didn’t happen when you were heads-down working on a project, facing a demanding deadline, running late for a meeting, yelling at the stupid drivers who cut you off, or in the middle of some other intense experience. I bet it happened when you were in the shower, going for a run, hiking, listening to music, or doing some other solo task that relaxed you. To make room for new ideas, we must take a break from the intensity of our work, and sometimes even a break from other people. At least that’s my “take.” Research shows that taking just a five-minute break and going outside is restorative.

Would it surprise you that Albert Einstein was a loner? He got his ideas while playing his violin or disappearing into the woods for hours. Then in 1905, at the age of 26, he penned his famous papers on the theory of relativity, with which he upended the world of physics. What was the secret to his creative and scientific success? (Read “There’s a Difference Between Being Alone and Being Lonely.”)

The Forgetting Curve Has a Cure

The way we’ve been learning is all wrong. Remember cramming for tests? I do, and while I usually did well on my exams, I didn’t retain much of anything. I’ve heard for years that people forget 70 percent of what they learn in a professional training class within 24 hours of the event. That isn’t learning at all. It’s a total waste of time and a monumental waste of money. And sales organizations don’t have either to spare.

So, what does work? Art Kohn’s article, “Brain Science: Overcoming the Forgetting Curve,” pointed me to a book called Make It Stick by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III, and Mark A. McDaniel. Their research is fascinating and upends how we thought we learned. Studying by reading, re-reading, and repetition affects short-term memory only. The way to embed learning and actually remember information is to use “testing as a tool for learning.” We retrieve information when we’re quizzed, and that retrieval interrupts forgetting. The takeaway for sales leaders: Next time you invest in expensive training, lock in that learning with pop quizzes. (Read “The Forgetting Curve Has a Cure.”)


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