PROSPECTING FOR GOLD: HOW TO FIND (AND KEEP) VALUABLE CUSTOMERS (May 21, 2019)
Prospecting for new customers is a time consuming but essential function of any business – big or small. Of course, your most valuable customers are those you already have—and nurturing those existing relationships should be your top priority.
But clients do come and go, and you need to have a prospecting system in place to ensure the sales continue to flow. There are three critical steps in the prospecting process:
You can waste a lot of time chasing potential clients, only to discover they are unlikely ever to buy your product or service. Start by defining the attributes of your target customer. Then you can begin to research markets and groups of people that match this profile. Having an effective CRM system is crucial for accurately tracking existing and potential customers and many offer lead management tools that help you focus on high-value clients.
There are two main approaches to making that connection with potential clients—you can cold call them or use inbound marketing strategies to attract their attention. Consumers and B2B clients are very well-informed these days and tend to do a lot of research before they reach out to a company. For this reason, inbound prospecting through social media and opt-in email campaigns tend to garner more viable leads. Cold calling still has its place, particularly if you’ve researched the client, know their pain-point and can offer a real solution. But you may have to negotiate past ‘gate-keepers’ such as personal assistants or receptionists before you can reach the decision-maker.
Once you’ve made that connection, your goal is to help that person move from prospect to customer. Focus on the client’s needs, and concentrate on helping, not selling. You need to be ready to counter any concerns they might raise with a high degree of product knowledge and valuable support information.