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Bill Conner, Business Consultant » prospecting

Archive for the 'prospecting' Category

The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part Three: Referral Partners

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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Developing a Referral Partner is the highest level to obtain in prospecting. This level is characterized by formalizing the prospecting relationship between referral partners. Referral partners work together to grow each others business.

A group of referral partners could be formed to hold a meeting at least monthly for members to discuss their prospecting efforts and to share referral prospects. There should be reciprocal agreements among members of the group.

A member contacts a potential client for another member to inform the prospect they will be contacted by their referral partner and request the prospect provide time for their colleague. The referred partner should provide feedback to the referring partner as to the result of his meeting with the prospect.

The success rate for this prospecting process is very high and is the most advantageous in the prospecting hierarchy.

The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part Two Relationship Sources

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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I wrote in my last post about Direct Sources in prospecting where you approach the prospect directly, without a recommendation. In The Prospecting Hierarchy, Relationship Sources, defined as an approach to a prospect with a recommendation, will provide much better results.

A Target List is the first level in relationship sources. A Target List is a list of prospects or companies with whom you want to do business. You show your list to potential referral sources to obtain a referral.

The next step, Referrals, is more advantageous. A referral source recommends you to a prospect for a match. This is considered an informal referral and requires the prospect to create action. You must contact the prospect using your referral source’s name to create a bond with the prospect. You should be developing prospects from your present Customer Base.

The next level is where you are “mining” your client base to reach prospects within the company of your client. You may be working with the sales department in a firm and you prospect with the human resource department by using your past relationship with the sales department.

The next step in Relationship Sources is to create Centers of Influence. Centers of Influence have influence with possible prospects for you and they use it to refer effectively over time.

The highest level Relationship Sources is a Referral Partner. This will be discussed in my next post. Keep in mind, using Relationship Sources in prospecting is advantageous because you show a customer service orientation within your business, create a good impression before you meet, build trust quickly, and obtain more success in sales.

The Prospecting Hierarchy, Part One: Direct Sources

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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Understanding the various sources that might produce prospects is essential to developing sales. We group the sources in two categories. Direct Sources is when we approach prospects without a recommendation. Cold Calling is at the bottom of the prospecting hierarchy because we use a list or make contact with prospects without any prior contact. This approach provides a large list, but creates a high rejection rate which causes stress and career burnout. Using marketing/advertising is the next step in the direct source process. Your prospect may have heard of your business or firm, but has little knowledge of you as an individual. Networking and lead sharing creates a better avenue of success as we become involved in meeting other people, but these groups usually have no formal recommendation process to enhance opportunities. An opportunity to give a speech to a group creates prospects within an audience, but does not provide a recommendation situation. Finally you have people you know that you can approach. This is the highest level of a direct source, but success depends solely on your relationship with the prospect. Prospects coming from direct sources are more skeptical of your approach, will more readily reject your overtures, will create a sales orientation versus a customer service atmosphere, and will provide less time to give quality service to your prospect.

The Life Blood of Sales: Prospecting

Thursday, March 25th, 2010

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In our pipeline of sales we can sell more to our existing clients and sell to new prospects to grow our sales numbers. This article discusses a process to obtain new clients through prospecting.

After you have created a list of prospects start by doing research on each of your prospects. The research stage consists of learning as much as possible about your prospects. Obtaining information about your prospects is essential to know their hot buttons, how they solve problems, who they know, and what they value. The use of viewing prospects websites, contacting your business partners to obtain information, talking to current clients who know your prospects, and using your referral networks.

Contacting your prospects begins after your research is done. The best way to arrange a meeting is through referral partners. The partners should be able to arrange an appointment for you with your prospects.

The next option for contact is a telephone call. The key is getting an appointment - not to make a sale. When you make the call to your prospects use a present client’s name as a bridge in communication. Try to provide a couple of options to your prospects for a meeting. You must be persistent, remembering your only purpose for the call is to get an appointment.