Is the Art of Business Development Prospecting Overrated? 3 Tips!

Many sales guru’s think that the Art of Business Development Prospecting is overrated, but this aspect of business can never be sidelined. Many make blunders because they mistake the art for “something else” by committing one or more of the under listed blunders:

  1. Not listening. No salesperson has ever heard of a sale. However, when asked a simple question, many sellers take it as a license to deliver a monologue. Here are three tips for better listening.
  2. Using sales of snapshots. People often start to lose interest when they feel they are being sold. Usually they begin to feel this way when they hear phrases like “This is a great question” or “What is needed to get your business today?” People need to feel like individuals, not like parts on an assembly line.
  3. Failure to adapt to the situation. The problem with using a rigid sales script is that it assumes buying motivations, prospects pain points, and supposed similar situations in life.
  4. Distinguish features from benefits. Often focus on sellers telling someone what a product or service to the detriment of this problem solves or what pain takes away. Once I observed a commercial leasing agent from the prospective client’s office. When he met in the hall of the building, he commented on the large outdoor car park. It was a declaration of characteristics. A benefit statement would have focused on how customers would never find a parking lot or that people could always park near the building in bad weather. Was it a necessary conversation point to make? Probably not!

Below are three tips that can assist in the art of business development prospecting, taking you from overrated to actual sales/business development activity:

Tip #3 – Prospecting is Not Networking.

Prospecting requires thoughtful analysis. Networking is improvisational and immediate. Prospecting requires equal measure of looking out into the marketplace assessing the need or demand, and introspection to look within yourself and determine, with clarity and confidence, what opportunities you are well positioned to pursue that will elevate your scene to ever-higher levels.

Prospecting requires discernment. It’s not a numbers game all the time. Whatever your business, you will not be good for all potential prospects. There should be a mutually perceived adjustment between you and your prospective client – where the best to serve them well is in a way that is highly valued by them (NOT you the salesperson!) Believe me, this dilutes the pile of pressed mud. Once you are able to define what a “good fit” is for the prospect, and why they should care, you are able to focus all your energy and resources on the opportunities that feed the most promising of prospects. When you are highly specialized, prospecting is often though of as “easy.” If you are a specialized expert, known in the market to solve specialized types of problems you may be thinking that you do not need to prospect for customers (or those customers who need this kind of problem solved). It is much easier to determine which prospects place a high value on your solution. Chances are good that these prospective clients will be looking for you too, and you will be much easier to find as a result.

Tip #2 – What Defines a Perspective?

A prospect is a known buyer at an early stage in search of a solution to a major problem that cannot be solved now or in the near future. All the others are suspect. Converting suspects into prospects is a tough job and takes time. In my consulting firm, it takes three months or more of careful “in-touch” strategies to transform a prospect from a suspect.

Tip #1 – Always Be Prospecting (ABP)!

Prospecting is not an activity you do when you need business. If you need business next week, the prospecting of evil cannot correct. Always be prospecting (ABP), no matter how busy you are. It is the only way to create a sustainable sales pipeline to grow your business. Whatever your current business book, plant and tend a garden for abundant future prospects ripening every day.


In this post we’ve set out to identify is the art of business development prospecting overrated, along with three tips to assist you in implementing the prospecting pipeline-fill needed to be successful in sales.


Sam Palazzolo

PS – If you or your organization is challenged as a result of Sales / Business Development activity, please don’t hesitate to drop me a line and request future post titles! Here are a few other titles that are currently in the works:

  • Rеѕроndіng tо Emergencies
  • Identifying thе Strеngthѕ and Weaknesses in Representatives
  • Dеvеlоріng Strаtеgіеѕ fоr Rеvеnuе Grоwth
  • Developing Effесtіvе Cоmреnѕаtіоn Pans
  • Hоldіng Sales Rерrеѕеntаtіvеѕ Accountable fоr Pооr Pеrfоrmаnсе
  • Learning tо Motivate and Inѕріrе Sales Representatives
Avatar About Sam Palazzolo, Managing Director

Sam Palazzolo is Managing Director at Tip of the Spear Ventures, an agile Venture Capital and Business Advisory Services firm specializing in Mergers & Acquisition, Sales / Business Development & Turnaround Management.