July 23, 2010

The Art of Prospecting

Finding The Gold.

I am always fascinated by how people build their business. I’m a content guy at heart so it’s not enough for someone to say they want to grow their company.

We all do.

I like to get into their heads to see what will they actually do to get where they want to be.

So I posed a simple question on LinkedIn in the Canadian Marketing Association group.

Q: What is your best tip for prospecting new clients?

Here are some responses…

Todd Falkowsky • The old fashioned way, get on the phone. I am still amazed at how many tools have been developed to break the ice with new clients, but the tried and true is still the best. Looking forward to hearing some other thoughts!

Ron Kipp • Todd is right on and if you outsource cold calling to a boutique contact centre you can invest your time more cost effectively.

Jody Steinhauer • Referral Referral Referral!!! If you do a great job, don't be shy to ask for a referral. We have built our entire company on referrals and no cold calls. It works! We are growing and need more people to help take good care on the inside.

Loic Jeanjean • Hi Kneale, I agree with Jody. We have also built our organization along referrals. Clients that have been happy with our services have been our best brand ambassadors since day 1. We have also been attending local conferences in our target market and provided 30-45 min educational workshops.

Dennis Meharchand • Depends upon what's being sold - Theoretically Cold calling should work well for products and services where there is not much pain associated with buying wrong whereas referrals from trusted sources should work well for high pain decisions. Given all that's changed in communications the last 10 years maybe it's time for a new edition of "How to Make Friends and Influence People"!

Ron Kunitzky • Networking and Referrals and Partnerships with companies that have relationships with your target audience.

Paul Provost • All are great comments that I agree with. We've built ourselves to where we are based on our referrals but it started with getting out there (networking) and reaching out (cold calls). One note on referrals - they work great if you have customers but if you start from zero, smart and targeted cold calling (and not just open the white pages) works.

Jeannette Marshall • Kneale, as a seasoned sales pro ... I'm going to say that there isn't a one-point answer. Many of the comments have been excellent. What I would suggest first is examine your existing customers, ask why they use your service, importantly what value they've gained (i.e. % saved, $ increase in revenue, etc.) - your best tool is those already in your tool belt.

And my response…

Kneale Mann • These are all excellent points, thank-you so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. Most of the prospecting advice I see is from a mechanical approach - which is necessary - but the relational side is one not to ignore. It takes longer, it takes patience and trust, but referrals don't fall from the proverbial sky, they come from good work and nurtured relationships. Keep the conversation going!

What are your thoughts?

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