Business Prospecting for Success: Prospecting Sales Tips

Show me a business that doesn't need customers and I'll show you an entrepreneur who will be warming up their resume in a month or two. Prospecting for customers can be a challenge and it''s one of the first things we stop doing when we're busy.

A freelance writer I know never stops prospecting. He names it as one of his favorite tasks in the day. It’s no surprise that he is successful, earning much more than his peers. But he’s also quick to admit that every day requires a CHOICE to prospect. When times are busy, and he neglects prospecting, he feels it about a month later in his bank account.

Many sales departments in well established companies have prospecting goals for their sales staff. One well-known investment company requires its sales staff to meet 25 people face to face every single day. Their 50 years in the business has shown them that this is the ratio necessary for an investment advisor to be successful. They know that of those 25 people, a certain percentage will become customers after the first contact, another certain percentage will become customers after the second contact, etc.

Do you know your ratio? Do you know how many prospects it takes to find a customer?

If you run an e-commerce site, one way to get a good approximation is to find out how many hits your site gets in a month and compare that with how many purchases made. It may not be a perfect conversion rate, but it’s close enough.

Or maybe you know that placing a single ad in your local paper will yield so many phone calls of which a certain percentage become customers.

Now that you know that information, what happens? My freelance writer friend and the investment company have the same answer for you: want more customers? Double your prospecting.

If your site gets 100 hits a month and 1 of those people becomes your customer, then you have a conversion rate of 1% and if you want to double your customer base, you will need to double the hits in the month.

If your newspaper ad makes your phone ring with 50 people and from that you get 5, then you have a conversion rate of 10%. If you want to increase your business to 25 customers, you need to get that phone to ring with 250 people.

How do you do that? It depends on your business and your marketing methods. It might mean running more text ads in search engines. It might mean running that newspaper ad a little longer or in two different sections of the paper.

While there is no all encompassing answer that will be right for everyone, there is one perfect answer:

  1. Find what prospecting method brings in prospects.
  2. Discover your conversion rate.
  3. Determine how many more customers you want.
  4. Do your prospecting method that many more times.

To enjoy the most success, you need to make your prospecting a regular occasion. Try to discover what is fun about prospecting and enjoy that aspect of it. If you hate cold calls, don’t do cold calls. (If they have to be done, consider outsourcing them). If you love creating advertisements, then create advertisements. Whatever you do, don’t stop prospecting. You won’t notice it today, but by the time you do notice it, it could be too late.

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