For many entrepreneurs, starting a small business is the easy part. The work really begins when trying to find new customers to purchase your products and/ or services. However, you’ll never realize until you’re in it: direct prospecting and indirect prospecting is challenging, but vital to your success. After all, who does like to sell? I know I don’t. That feeling creeps up, and you suddenly feel like a college graduate asking your parents for money. But it is important, so I have chosen this for the topic of the day.
When it comes to prospecting, it is important to reach as many potential customers as possible. As long as you remember that prospecting is more of a mindset than an activity, you will be well on your way to succeeding in your hunt for customers. In order to succeed at prospecting, you must always be on the look out for possible prospects. And remember that your competence or vast knowledge about your product line will not amount to any sales if you do not have a qualified prospect.
Give Away Something of Value
I guarantee your prospects will remember the guy that showed up on their doorstep (or email), and just gave them something of value for free. When is the last time someone did that for you? Too often, free is never really free. Make it free! They’ll remember you for it. WuFoo and the Plan to Start Network are just a few of the many companies who are defining their business models around this concept.
So, what do you as the small business owner get in return? You gain brand trust, higher customer retention rate, and your sales will SKYROCKET. The majority of prospects really are looking for you: a company they can be loyal to, who is good to them. Provide them with that.
Whatever strategy you have in place for your direct or indirect prospecting, it is important to make your prospecting routine. For this, you should set aside a specific time of the day or the week for prospecting either through phone calls or sending out emails. Always remember that your prospecting is just as important as any other business activity so avoid the temptation of postponing or avoiding it altogether. Do whatever it takes and remain focused at this time, even if it means shutting your door or holding all other calls.
In order to succeed at direct or indirect prospecting, you need to be organized and keep proper records of your activities. For this you may need a computerized contact system to keep track of your responses, future prospects and appointments.
Being successful at direct or indirect prospecting, doesn’t mean you need to have a script in place. But don’t just read out the script for your prospects over the phone as they are likely to hang up on you. Instead, practice and rehearse until your message is fine tuned and sounds natural. The more practice you have, the more confidence you will have when prospecting. Remember that when prospecting, your aim is to obtain information and secure an appointment, and not to sell your products to the prospect over the phone.
Always try to make contact as quickly as possible when dealing with a new prospect. This is because there is no guarantee that they will be available or interested the next time you come calling. And never wait for your prospect to call you as they may never. Keep in mind that there are many other interests vying for their money and time – so why should they call you?
When involved in direct or indirect prospecting, always play fair. This means avoiding the temptation to malign your competitors or making personal attacks. This is not what will sell your product to your prospect. Instead, you may make some comparisons between your product and that of your competitor while emphasizing the benefits of your product in terms of price and quality. The key is to guide your prospect into making up their mind to go with your product.