On Research and Prospecting: Separating Tasks by Outcome

Anthony Iannarino
Post by Anthony Iannarino
February 28, 2011

One of the keys to effectiveness is discipline. That includes the disciplined focus of your time and you attention. Multitasking and combining tasks that have very different outcomes destroys your ability to focus and to achieve your goals.

Separating some of the tasks that you routinely combine will improve your focus—and your results.

A Poor Combination

Prospecting is really a whole bunch of tasks. It includes both research and communicating with your dream client to obtain commitments. These tasks don’t work well when combined.

When you are making your calls, setting down the phone, picking up the mouse, opening the web browser, and surfing from Pipelinedeals.com to Jigsaw.com to LinkedIn.com is time away from making calls. It is inefficient and ineffective.

The time that you spend researching your next call means that you make fewer calls. Your outcome changes from creating value for your dream clients and obtaining commitments to investigating, researching and compiling data. It’s difficult to move quickly and efficiently from one task to the other without losing your momentum. So, you make far fewer calls than you might otherwise make.

And, you encounter all the shiny amusements that the weapon of mass distraction that is the Internet presents you.

When Researching, Research

When you are building your dream client list, building the contact lists to find your way in, checking out the client’s website, and learning what you believe you need to know to make your calls, don’t do anything else!

If you are going to do research, do research.

Compile the dream client list. Pull all the contact names and numbers. Save the link to the company’s website. If what you sell is complex enough, and if you have the business acumen to do so, print their annual or quarterly reports. Whatever you believe you need to do to confidently call, do it (and I believe you need to do far less than you might image, provided you have some business acumen).

Focused your research on building an awesome list of dream clients. You are going to call your dream clients until you win them, right?

Now Pick Up the Phone

Once you have completed your research, pick up the phone. Don’t put the phone down, and don’t go back into research mode. Make all of the calls that you need to make to build the relationships that build the opportunities that build the healthy pipeline that builds great sales results.

You will find that by separating the phone calls from the research, you can make far more calls faster.

You will also discover that you are way more effective on the phone. There is something about getting into the role, getting into the groove, and building momentum. There is something about relentlessly pursuing the outcome that you need over and over again that produces results.

When making calls, make calls.

Separate the tasks by their outcomes. Diligently work until you achieve the outcome of your research work: making a list of dream clients. Then diligently work on making your calls until you achieve the outcomes you need in the way of opening relationships.


Why is it important to give any task you work on your full and undivided attention?

How much better are the outcomes of tasks and projects when they receive your full focus?

How are the outcomes of researching and making calls different? What kind of mindset does each require?

How much more research would you get done if you truly did nothing else?

How many more calls would get made if you were prepared to do nothing but make your calls?

Post by Anthony Iannarino on February 28, 2011
Anthony Iannarino
Anthony Iannarino is a writer, an author of four books on the modern sales approach, an international speaker, and an entrepreneur. Anthony posts here daily.