Question: I have been assigned as “new business person” and I really fight prospecting for a complex business like ours…marketing.I look at it like this (borrowed from Harry Beckwith, author of What Clients Love and other books):I am single and looking for a long-term relationship with someone. Do I craft a script and pick up the phone book and start calling women, hoping I get a date for Saturday night?I think it’s one thing to sell aluminum siding or replacement windows or printing or insurance by prospecting and the numbers game, but marketing?
We would never recommend prospecting for our architect client as part of their marketing mix. Or for a bank. How desperate does that make those firms sound? Selling a commodity is one thing, selling strategic marketing planning takes a bit of time.
I think there are better ways to pick up new business than prospecting. Warm calling makes a lot more sense. Direct mail or letters or samples or referrals followed by phone calls makes more sense to me.
Wendy’s answer: It’s a common misconception that prospecting is opening up the phone book and calling people at random in the hope that someone will say “yes.” That’s the “numbers game” philosophy, very similar to your dating analogy.
Think of it more like this: You want a date for Sat. night so you look at a dating web site and pick out all the women (or men) that interest you. They’re all single and from what you can tell from the site, they meet your basic dating criteria. You could consider them to be “suspects” in that you suspect they may be good people to date. You contact these people and ask if they want to have coffee or a drink. You do not ask them to marry you.
To cold call successfully you first have to specifically target your market so that you are only calling prospects who might possibly be in need of your services. When you speak with a prospect your goal is to get agreement to have a conversation, NOT to get them to hire you.
Your cold call is simply the introduction. You still have to take all the
rest of the steps that you would take no matter how you found that particular prospect.
The reality is, no matter how you find a lead at some point you’re going to have to speak with them on the telephone. This is a communication skill.
Here’s an article by Mike Schultz, publisher of RainToday.com about prospecting and why it’s the best way to generate leads for service professionals:
And BTW: The Direct Marketing Association has found in study after study that telemarketing is the #1 way to generate new business.
[tags] number games, Mike Schultz, Rain Today, cold call, prospecting, sales, marketing, telephone, communication, target your market, successful [/tags]