25 Ways to Prospect for New Business
“Inspire rather than push the sale by being serve centric rather than sales centric”-
Did you know that the prolific author Charles Dickens (1812-1870) created a 5 step sales training manual for the ‘sales associates that he hired to go out door to door to sell his books? Remember there was no Barnes and Noble or Books a Million! He knew how important it was to develop the relationship with the customer and for his sales force to believe in the product they were selling. His sales sense was keen.
Visit any sales training site and they will all pretty much tell you there are several steps in the sales process. Mindset, prospecting, qualifying, analysis, presentation, negotiation, closing, service, follow up.
The life blood of any business is in finding and developing new customers-PROSPECTING.
Opportunities for finding those golden nugget customers are more diverse than ever before with traditional and now new media platforms! As attrition percentages skyrocket due to the economic and business environment, prospecting for fewer higher quality customers is better than more of transient ones.
So how has prospecting changed? Stayed the same?
“Inspire rather than push the sale by being serve centric rather than sales centric”.
Used to be you went “cold calling” door to door in a neighborhood, business area, office building. We know that just doesn’t really work anymore. Companies and people just don’t want to be cold called like that anymore. We don’t want to be intruded on by someone we don’t know, have a relationship with or trust!
The days of canvassing businesses unannounced are fading as fast as daily newspapers still trying to publish daily news that most of us have already seen in real time through Twitter days ago.
Prospecting today is about blending ONLINE AND OFFLINE relationship and trust building. It should be about giving people “reasons to buy” as opposed to selling them something. It should come from a referral that comes from a testimonial.
Here are 25 ways to prospect for new business relationships and referrals.
- Networking Groups
- Professional Organizations
- Social Marketing
- Article Marketing
- Internet Radio
- Email Marketing
- Keynote Speaking
- Traditional Media
- Neighborhood Community
- Faith Community
There has been a huge paradigm shift from sales centric to serve centric. Pushing products on people who don’t know you, like you or trust you yet is not going to work and is actually quite annoying. It certainly still goes down, but we consider this ‘spam’.
We should be involved in relationship building and expanding our networks of human capital through meeting people in person and connecting with them online.
We can do this through:
- Online engagement
- Sharing content
- Posting surveys
- Stimulating discussions
- Encouraging comments
- Promoting and supporting others.
Prospecting today is much more focused on building community: friends, fans and followers who naturally connect because you are the center point (Agent Zero/Brogan), that they have in common. The community naturally leads to connections, which naturally leads to conversations, which will eventually lead to sales or referrals.
If you look at the social persona of companies today, social marketing thought innovators and experts, you can learn a lot about the “newer prospecting” process that combines both in person and online options. This blending of the reinvented old and iconic and the new and hot norm is where we need to be. Here are some key examples.
We can learn a lot about the “new prospecting” process from these successful examples. They all give, share, connect, help and care about what their people think. They are building “like” and “respect” and that is the prerequisite for “moving goods and services” today.
How are you adopting new approaches into your current sales strategy and funnel?
How do you prospect today?
If you need to review and refocus your prospecting, call me. I can help you.
I spent over two decades in broadcast radio and was an award winning new business sales professional. Most of the basics I followed then still apply, but the approach and delivery are in and to a whole new business world.
Deborah Shane is an author, entrepreneur, radio host and expert. She is the leader of her business education and professional development company, Train with Shane, hosts a weekly business radio show and writes for several national business, career and marketing blogs and websites. Her book Career Transition-make the shift-your 5 steps to successful career reinvention comes out in early 2011. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalkradio at Deborah Shane, or visit http://www.deborahshane.com.
Images courtesy of Deborah Shane and Flickr User AndyRob (Creative Commons)Google+