Prospecting in a Cluttered World And (Part 1 The 4 Universal Principles of Prospecting)

Written by: Tariq Jarrar
About the author: Seasoned Sales Leader and Accomplished Bilingual Coach


Cluttered World

“The brutal fact is the number one reason for failure in sales is an empty pipeline, and the root cause of an empty pipeline is the failure to prospect.” ― Jeb Blount.

Prospecting has and will always be the most critical activity or discipline in sales—it what separates the superstars from the ones that are scraping by on second hand, hand-me-down leads.

Why do Sales Professionals need to prospect? When you break down the sales process, it is about offering the right solution to the right person at the right time.

Unfortunately, all these variables rarely line up on their own in the multiverse of sales, and that is why prospecting is crucial for your sales success.

So, What Is the Goal of Prospecting?

The goal of prospecting is to build a database of potential customers or prospective buyers and systematically engage them to convert them into clients.

However, there are many challenges in navigating the universe of prospecting, from identifying your Buyer’s Personas to targeting and using the right Follow Up Cadence.

So What Are Some of The Obstacles That Stop Us From Prospecting?

Lack of Prospecting Drive

  • Not knowing where to start
  • Not knowing how to prospect 
  • Not dedicating enough and regular time to prospecting

Lack of Targeting

  • Not understanding the buyer’s personas
  • Not knowing how to work with gatekeepers
  • Not targeting the right people
  • Not knowing how to reach out to the correct prospects

Lack of research and customization

  • Not researching the prospects before reaching out
  • Not customizing the touchpoints for each prospect
  • Not adding value to the prospects of buying journey.

So How Do You Overcome The Obstacles of Prospecting?

Like everything in the multiverse of sales, you need a strategy. Your strategy to prospecting starts with defining the Who, How, Where, When, and What of Prospecting.

“Every brand isn’t for everybody, and everybody isn’t for every brand.” Liz Lange.

The Who: Involves breaking your market into segments and concentrating your prospecting efforts on one or a few key segments.

  • Demographic Segmentation is an essential criterion for identifying target markets based on gender, age, income level, and marital status.
  • Psychographic Segmentation divides the target market based on socio-economic class, personality, or lifestyle preferences.
  • Buyer Persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on demographics, behavior patterns, motivations, and goals 

The When: Involves the best time to reach out to your prospects.

Although there are numerous statistics on when are the best times to reach out to prospects, from my experience, I have found the following to work the best. 

Divide your day into Two POWER HOURS for reaching out to prospects

  • POWER HOUR 1, the beginning of the day is 8:00 am to 12:00 am.
  • POWER HOUR 2, the end of the day is 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm.

Power Tip: Always make your prospecting calls at the same time slot every day and allow for time difference and cultural sensitivity in your target markets.

The How and Where: Involves how and where to find your prospects.

Deploy a multi-faceted and balanced approach to reach out and connect with more prospects. Use all available channels to reach out and connect:

  1. Asking for referrals
  2. Networking
  3. Telephone prospecting, Cold calling
  4. Following up on leads in your database
  5. E-mail prospecting
  6. Striking up conversations with strangers
  7. Social Prospecting 

The What: It Involves the content of the conversation you will have with your prospect and what is the end game of each contact.

A well-crafted script with the proper choice of words is crucial in putting the prospect in the right frame of mind to listen to what you have to say.

  • Start your engagement as a conversation, not a one-way pitch
  • Easy on the artificial sales enthusiasm
  • Raise curiosity
  • Give context
  • Ask for permission to carry on
  • Ask questions
  • Schedule the next steps

Asking for Referrals

Have a structure in asking for referrals.

Referrals are the most efficient and effective way of growing your prospect pipeline. Many sales professionals don’t ask for references because:

  • They haven’t characterized the sources of referrals.
  • They haven’t composed their referral elevator pitch.
  • They haven’t structured a process for asking for referrals.

Power Tip: Compose a referral elevator pitch and practice it. 

What Does A Referral Elevator Pitch Sounds Like?

Example 1

Saleswoman: “I have a favor to ask you, but only if you’re comfortable with it.”

Customer: “Sure, go ahead.”

Saleswoman: “It’s been my experience that most of my customers when they were in the process of buying a house, they shared their experience with their relatives and friends. Is this the case with you?”

Customer: “Yeah, sometimes, I do that.”

Saleswoman: “That’s great. Has any of the people you have talked to mentioned that they have been thinking of buying a property.”

Customer: “Yes, a couple of have.”

Saleswoman: “I would appreciate it if you could tell them about me and how I can help them find the right property. Would you mind introducing me to them?”
Would you be comfortable doing that?”

Customer: “I don’t have a problem with that.

Saleswoman: “That’s great. I appreciate it.” Then, if you can give me their contact details and let them know, I will call them to introduce myself.”

Customer: “Let me ask them first.” 

Example 2

Saleswoman: “My success depends heavily on referrals from satisfied clients. If you feel that I have done an excellent job helping you find the right property and if you know someone else who might be looking for a property. I would appreciate it if you could refer me to them. Would you be comfortable doing that?”

Customer: “I don’t have a problem with that.”

Saleswoman: “That’s great. I appreciate it.” Then, if you can, give me their contact details.”

Customer: “Well, no one comes to my mind right now.”

Saleswoman: “Sure, I understand that; do you mind if I give you a call in the next couple of days in case you might have thought of a couple of names.”

Referrals Characterization

Customer Referrals: are referrals made by satisfied customers with whom you have built a relationship, and they trust you.

  • Focus on your satisfied clients.
  • Provide value first before asking.
  • Be specific with your request.
  • Develop a referral mindset.
  • Stay connected with your customers.

Personal Referrals: are referrals made by friends, family, and acquaintances.

  • Educate your connection with what you offer.
  • Explain to them your buyer’s persona.
  • Agree with them on referral format or procedure.
  • Assure them that you will add value.
  • Keep on reminding them all the time and every time.

Professional Referrals: are referrals made by professionals with whom you have formed a mutually beneficial relationship.

  • Create your Sales Professional Network.
  • Identify products or service your prospects might purchase alongside your product.
  • Reach out to sales professionals at those organizations to get your network started.


Networking is one of the cornerstones of prospecting.

  • You are networking to meet prospects.
  • Remember that you are not there to sell, set appointments, or get leads. You are there to connect with people first.
  • Show genuine interest in them by asking questions to build a connection.
  • Following up after the networking event is key to making a connection.

Telephone Prospecting

“Every single time you pick up the phone, you’re getting closer to a yes.”

  • The telephone is, has been and will always continue to be the most effective and efficient prospecting tool.
  • The phone is the most efficient way to reach out to prospects if you are, prepared, and disciplined. 

Social Prospecting

“Before LinkedIn and other social networks, in the sales world, ABC stood for Always Be Closing. Now, it means Always Be Connecting.” – Jill Rowley

What Is Social Prospecting?

Social prospecting is the process of leveraging social networking platforms to identify, research and engage with prospective new customers.

Social prospecting tips
  • Share valuable and relevant content on social media
  • Be active on social networks like LinkedIn — join groups, post relevant content to be vocal, and controversial.
  • Send InMail via LinkedIn, buy a sales navigator license from LinkedIn and use it to know when and who to reach out to
  • Optimize your LinkedIn profile for selling, not career building

Power Tip: Don’t let Social Media distract you from picking up the phone. It is a tool to let you reach out to the right prospect so you can call them.

What are the 4 Universal Principles of Prospecting?

In the multiverse of sales, there are 4 Universal Principles of Prospecting that you must acquaint yourself with before you decide to skip Prospecting or not.

  • The First Principle of Causation
  • The Second Principle of Replenishment
  • The Third Principle of Connectivity
  • The Fourth Principle of Perpetual Despair

The First Principle of Causation dictates that the Prospecting you do for an extended period will eventually pay off in the future at a rate relative to your sales cycle.

The Second Principle of Replenishment dictates that you must replenish your pipeline with new prospects replacing the opportunities that will naturally fall out at a rate equal to your conversion rate.

The Third Principle of Connectivity decrees that the impact of daily Prospecting lets you connect with the right people for the right reasons and at the right time. That’s when opportunities start to materialize in the multiverse of Sales.

The Fourth Principle of Perpetual Despair

is triggered when the lack of Prospecting has left your pipeline depleted, then the probability of failure increases exponentially, and you become desperate.

In conclusion Successful Prospecting is a discipline that requires relentless effort, and if you’re looking at replenishing your pipeline, it must be done all of the time every time and not just when you are going through a Sales Rough Patch.

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