Bringing new clients into your business requires consistent and managed effort. The activities that you carry out to build the right level of customer enquiry require constant review and refinement.
Prospecting for new business is not about one focused campaign, or about a great piece of marketing activity. Prospecting is a set of plans that your business has in place to raise awareness and to stimulate interest in your products or services.
Without these two things happening consistently you will never have enough enquiry to drive your sales results.
In this blog we will cover:
· What prospecting really is.
· When prospecting doesn’t work.
· What framework you can use to get really great leads into your business.
Well, in its most literal form this term refers to the work that we do to create prospective clients. It is everything we do to create AWARENESS of our brand and generate INTEREST in our offering.
The key thing to be ever mindful of is that there is no SELLING happening at prospecting stage – we are building relationships, educating our contacts, sharing information, adding value.
In order to sustain a great level of enquiry, we should be sure that we spend regular time each week focused on this activity. We should be measuring the amount of prospecting we are doing in our organisation and we should be constantly reviewing whether it meets our needs.
When prospecting is not carried out effectively it does not generate good quality relationships and it does not lead to business opportunities.
There are a few things to remember here:
· Prospecting is not about the selling stage of the journey – no-one buys from someone they met today – reaching out to new contacts is simply about beginning a business relationship – we should not be delivering sales messages here.
· Prospecting is not about one activity, it’s about a selection of activities that move a new contact from ‘stranger’ to ‘potential client’. It’s a two-way interaction in which, over time and often with multiple contacts, you mutually agree a business relationship can proceed. Doing one thing and judging your results on that will limit success.
· Prospecting is the start of the journey – our initial interactions with new potential customers are about opening the door to a sales journey. If we do not follow up our prospecting activities with further contact that develops relationship, we will not gain new clients.
Remember that prospecting is all about building an engaged audience, it involves CONNECTING sincerely and authentically with contacts every day.
To do this effectively bear a few things in mind:
Be diverse: Your prospecting strategy should never involve just one thing.
‘I did some cold calling but didn’t win any business’
‘We sent an email campaign but got no response’
A really great prospecting strategy requires multiple touchpoints in multiple media – we use a combination of Linked In, email contact, live webinars, handwritten letters and telephone contact just to open doors and that is all before the enquiry is even generated.
Be consistent: You should carry out prospecting activity regularly in your business and you should be in contact with your potential customers in a consistent way.
If I see you on Linked In every day for a week and then not at all I lose my connection with you.
If I receive an email communication from you and then see nothing from your business for weeks I forget you exist.
Give your customers a quality experience every time you work with them to really build reputation.
Don’t sell: Contacting a stranger and suggesting a product or service to them is a bold move. We’ve all had those emails/messages/phone calls.
‘Hi, I provide amazing services in INSERT ANY SECTOR YOU LIKE, do you need them?’
This approach does not yield results, it’s assumptive, it doesn’t add value and it doesn’t demonstrate ability.
Great prospecting adds value:
‘Hi, I’ve written a blog for business owners about how to motivate their teams –
I wondered if you might like to read it’
This prospecting approach adds value, demonstrates credibility and opens doors.
If you have a prospecting plan that carefully considers how to engage with your target market in a way that demonstrates your credibility and builds relationship you will win more business and deepen your network.