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How much time should be used for prospecting?

Is there a rule of thumb for what percentage of your time should be used for prospecting? - by Thomas
Thomas spend all of your working hours either prospecting or selling and let the percentages be what they may. - by BossMan
I don't think there is anyway to put a rule of thumb on prospecting since everyone's pipeline is different, but I can certainly give a rule of thumb for moneymaking activities.

The average salesperson only works one week a month. "Working" is defined as doing one of three moneymaking activities: prospecting, selling, taking care of customer's needs. Everything else is busy work.

Prospecting does not include getting ready to prospect. It's not designing fliers or direct mail pieces, it isn't getting call lists together, it isn't getting ready for the networking event. It's actually making calls or actually attending the networking event.

Selling doesn't include travel, or getting ready for the appointment, or sitting in the prospect's office. It's time in front of or on the phone with the prospect.

Taking care of client needs is actually taking care of things you must do--filling out forms, getting additional information from the client, follow-up calls, etc. It does not include anything that someone else should be doing. Taking care of something customer service or shipping should be doing doesn't count.

The typical salesperson spends two hours a day doing those three things. The reminder is spent in busy work. 2 hours a day, five days a week is 10 hours, times 4 weeks a month equals one week a month working.

The average top producer spends 6 hours a day doing those things. 6 hours a day time 5 days is 30 hours a week, 120 hours a month. The average top producer works three weeks a month.

So, my answer would be to spend 6 hours a day doing what the top producers do. If you only spend 30 minutes a day selling and taking care of clients, then prospect for 5 1/2 hours a day. If you spend 1 1/2 hours selling and taking care of clients, then spend 4 1/2 hours a day prospecting. At a minimum.

Why not spend more than the minimum? 90% of the busy work you do isn't necessary. If you stop all of the busy work you do, who besides you would ever notice? Probably no one. - by pmccord
What Paul says above has to be the most direct path to selling success I've read anywhere by anyone.

Chuck - by Sales Pro 1000
A lot of times the work you are consuming your time with is not nessicarily needed and therefore is falling amoung dead works. What you should really be focusing on is making sure that your time is spent productively.

A good way to do this is make sure that you keep a log of the work you are doing and evaluate it at the end of the (week, month, quarter) whatever suits you and make the needed changes in order to conform with where you would like to be.

All the best in doing this and I wish you all the best Thomas. - by Snowboy
Excellent stuff Paul!

Hoping to add to that--In order to offload much of the busy work, figure out some sort of system for your unique situation which either eliminates the repetitive nature of the busy work or allows you to delegate it to someone else. That someone else could be within your organization, or you could out-task it to someone. At one of the companies I previously worked, the top producers had personal assistants working for them. When you stop and think about how much that added to their bottom line, paying a personal assistant $12-15/hour to offload tasks that don't generate revenue is very inexpensive. You may find someone less expensive depending upon where you live, but the good ones are worth paying top dollar once you find them.

You may even find someone you can entrust to do most of the prospecting work for you--meaning you spend almost all of your time on money making activities. There will always be internal sales meetings unfortunately. - by rogerbauer
Excellent thread. One of the benefits of using a Virtual Assistant is being able to outsource the busy work. I tell my potential clients make a list of all the tasks that you can outsource. It is similar to the same suggestion Keith made in regards to keeping a log.

Rita - by Rita_Jo
We have trained thousands of salespeople in 74 industries to prospect and sell. Almost all of the top producers keep accurate records of their activities and results.
Almost all of the others do not.

Averages of Top Producers in a myriad of industries.
3.6 prospecting sessions per week.
Each session is 3.5 hours long including two 15-minute breaks.
67 dials per hour.
Contact rates from 12% to 32% - depending on target market.
4 emails sent per session.
They set more appointments in the third hour than in the first and second hours, combined. - by JacquesWerth
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