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Over the past 35 years, I have seen some fantastic improvements in our industry, such as new technology, great training and incredible new products. However, I have NEVER seen a time when our industry did “it” well.

What’s the “it” I’m talking about?

Here are a few hints:

• It’s the lifeblood of your business
• You can do it by yourself
• It can be the most expensive thing that you can buy for your business, but most of the time, it’s free

What is “it?”

It’s prospecting. Whether you call it lead generation, cold calls or inquiry management, the chances are very good that you are very bad at doing it.

Prospecting is the hardest thing that any salesperson has to do. Any person who tells you, “I just love cold calls,” or “I live for referrals,” is probably not telling the truth.

It also doesn’t matter whether you’re an agent prospecting for clients, a manager prospecting for agents or a company owner prospecting for managers. If you’re doing it at all, you’re probably doing it badly.

So, here’s my point:

Doing it badly is good enough because you’re doing it. It’s the folks who are waiting to do it perfectly who are getting killed in the marketplace.

Every single day, my salespeople and client service representatives hear the same sad, tired refrain: “You know, I’ve got to get started prospecting…just as soon as I get my next deal closed…or my new laptop…or my office moved.”

It also could be the sound of these words, “I’m hiring it done,” or “I’m ONLY working by referral,” or (my personal favorite), “I’m waiting for my new website to capture leads for me.” It’s as if a piece of technology (hardware or software) could replace compassion, knowledge and drive.

So, to all of you who are trying to obtain perfection before you get started, take comfort in these words:

“Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” -G.K. Chesterton

Once you’ve taken comfort in “doing it badly,” here are four steps to help you get started:

1. Set a daily number for contacts or prospects. I recommend 12 contacts or one prospect per day. Once you’ve either made 12 contacts or gotten one valid prospect, you’re done for the day. If you’re not sure about the difference between a contact and a valid prospect, read the last section of this article to request your “Prospecting Done Badly” system.

2. Measure yourself every day with a simple “yes” or “no.” Yes, I completed it or no, I didn’t complete it. No “half measures.” Either you made 12 contacts or got one prospect, or you didn’t. Either answer is okay…as long as you answer truthfully. By every day, I mean seven days per week. After all, wouldn’t you work seven days per week if there were a deal or two that depended on it?

3. Find a “wingman,” someone who will buy into this new behavioral change with you and work with you to hold one another accountable. My experience has demonstrated to me for more than 30 years that people with wingmen do much better—at least a 100 percent increase in actual performance.

4. Decide, I mean really decide, to do this for a period of time. I recommend a period of less than six months. Don’t fall victim to the “I’ll try it for a bit and see how it feels” mentality. I’ll save you the trouble, because it’s going to feel lousy. You’re going to want to avoid, evade, excuse, quibble and quit. You’ll want to blame your company, your family and the industry. Go ahead and do all those things; just remember that you’re the one who decided to do this because you want your business and personal life to take a giant leap forward. Stick with it until you get to your stopping date.

If you’ve decided that you want something more than what you have today and are willing to take steps to get it, email your commitment to me: I will send you the information, forms and a group of coupons that you can use to put your “Prospecting Done Badly” system in place.

Now, go out and have a terrific day…you deserve it!

John Wendorff is the chief encouragement officer of The Personal Marketing Company.

For more information, visit