What I Have Learnt About Prospecting

When you start prospecting for new business it is wise to stop and understand exactly what it is that you do and why someone would use your services.  This specific information will help you find more customers and convert them to clients.  Define your niche business.

In real terms what you do is match your specific speciality into the customer.  This single fact will make all of your cold calls more productive and focused.  When you keep your niche business narrow and specific, it makes it a lot easier to talk about the offerings and benefits you bring to the client.

This approach to prospecting is simple yet effective.  It makes you focus on yourself so you can sell your services and product with greater skill.

To adopt this process, consider the following questions:

  1. Where is your market located geographically?  Define your territory within boundaries.  Stay within your boundaries so your prospecting model is specific and organised.
  2. What is it that you sell?  For example, if you sell something like ‘surveyors equipment’, what specific equipment is it?  Who would be attracted to that equipment?  Drill down on the prospective buyers into groups such as mining surveyors, council planning surveyors, road surveyors.  When you do this you have the start of a focused prospecting model.
  3.  With your specific groups, why would they use your surveyor’s product and how would they use it?  What benefit would they get from it?

From these simple questions you can refine your prospecting process and your dialogue.  No longer is your cold calling a sales pitch; it becomes centred on a very specific question and conversation.  Here is an example:

  • ‘Good morning Mr Brown, it’s Peter Smith from Acme Surveyors.  Maybe you can help me out for a moment.  I’m just calling to see if you are struggling with your survey equipment in road planning, perhaps due to the lack of the latest geotechnical updates.  Is this an issue for you?’

This is the start of a very deep and relevant conversation.  Notice that the call entry point is all about the client and not much about you.  Expect the client to ‘push back’ a few times in conversation; most customers hate to be ‘sold’, and that is why you should not pitch.  You can do more with a conversation in a cold call than you can with a one-sided ‘sales pitch’.

The benefit of this entry statement is that it opens up into information that you can work with.  Keep the conversations moving forward by talking about the client and what they are doing today.  Avoid talking too much about your offering.  Ask more questions to see what the client is doing and how they are doing it.

The primary target in making the call is to see if the customer or prospect has a need or an interest.  Beyond that point you should set up a meeting.  Do not pitch your services across the telephone, but ask for a meeting to show the client more information that may be helpful.

It is not hard to win new business; it is just a process.  Align yourself to the process and more opportunity will come your way.