Prospecting for Information
When you are considering running your own business there's quite a bit of preparation required before you actually head out to find new customers. First, you must put in place the adminstrative things like filing a DBA, building a website and ordering business cards. These are necessities in this day and age. You'll also want to set up social media accounts and a business email account.
Once those are in place it's time to start thinking about who you are going to target. There are a few methods to this to include:
- Geographic: Will you look for clients locally or nationwide? Maybe even internationally?
- Verticals: Will you target a specific industry or industries? What about a particular persona?
- Size: Consider the size of the target. Will you sell to a small business, large business or a consumer?
Once you answer these questions, it's time to plot out how you are going to target your future customers. There are a variety of methods from inbound marketing to making cold calls. Today we are going to talk about relationship selling. It is two folded:
- Face to Face Interactions
- Cold Calling
In a day where people are flooded digitally, it's refreshing to have a personal touch. Never underestimate the power of dropping by a business to introduce yourself. Bring your business cards, even a small goodie and a handwritten note card. When you walk into the business, tell the receptionist you are dropping by to speak with ________. If you don't know the person's name, then state you are dropping by to speak with the head of ___________ department.
Remember: Do not make it a big deal
Face to face cold calling allows you to get information and information is power. Someone once told me, "Crystal, information is power. People have lived and died over information." The key is to be observant. If the person who you would like to meet is unavailable, simply ask the receptionist for their card. If they cannot supply one ask for the name, number and email so you can easily follow up. Keep in mind your tone always matters. Be relaxed, look the receptionist in the eye and be warm.
More times than not, they will supply this information
Once you get a card or the information, begin asking a series of questions to gather more information. That way, when you do follow up you have a little ammunition. It shows you did your homework and are genuinely interested in their concerns. Keep your questions open ended: Who, What, Where, Why and How.
Your goal is to gather at least 6 pieces at every place you visit
If you brought along goodies, leave them with the handwritten note card for the receptionist to pass along. Then, once you get back to your computer and phone give the prospect a quick call or email stating you would like to share a few minutes with them and hope they enjoyed what you brought along.
Follow Up is Key!
People get busy. Oftentimes they are flooded with things to do, emails to respond to, projects to keep in motion so follow up is important. Don't take it personal if someone doesn't immediately respond. Sometimes it takes dropping by, calling, leaving voicemails, sending emails and connecting on social media. The more touches you have the more likely they will think of you when they need something.
Timing is Everything
Another key is to prospect from all angles. Use your resources to your advantage. Some people are huge social media fans and you can reach out to them on platforms like LinkedIn. Other people prefer a phone call or email. Then, there are those you have to meet in person. The key is to reach out to them in different ways to gain their attention.