How to Prospect Like a Pro - Young Hustlers
How to Prospect for Customers
Getting customers for your business partially depends upon how well you prospect for potential customers. Successful prospecting requires you to find prospects and encourage them to find you. Once you get their contact details, you need to connect with them and establish a working relationship.
Use social media.In today's digital world, effective use of social media is crucial to any business. An active social media presence can connect you with prospects living near and far.
- When using social media, make sure that you maintain good content. Your posts should be knowledgeable and need to include information that your possible prospects would likely be interested in. Most people feel more comfortable buying from an expert, so acting the part is important.
- Focus your attention on popular social media websites (like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter) and social media websites designed for business (like LinkedIn). Other social media websites can be used only as needed.
Build an effective website.Social media isn't the only digital tool you should when prospecting. A website with meaningful content can be just as important.
- Make sure that the website is user-friendly throughout. Any information that could be used to turn a visitor into a prospective customer should be available on your website, and visitors should be able to easily navigate to that information, as well.
- Depending on your business, you may find it beneficial to have a blog instead of or alongside an actual website.
- Post links to your social media pages on your website and post links to your website on your social media pages.
Create a digital newsletter.E-mail newsletters are an easy way to gather contact details for prospects without even meeting them. Advertise your e-newsletter on your website and social media pages.
- Make the sign-up form easy to find and easy to fill out. Even interested visitors may not think to search for an e-newsletter sign-up form, but if they see it without looking for it, they might choose to sign up at that moment.
Network with others.Look for opportunities to meet with others involved in related industries. Actively engage each person you meet and exchange contact information and information about your business.
- Trade shows, professional organizations, and networking events are especially helpful, but networking can happen when you least expect it. Be on the lookout for opportunities in your everyday life, too.
- Some of these individuals may become prospects, while others may connect you with potential prospects. In some instances, the people you network with can even help in both ways.
Encourage customer referrals.Word of mouth is a powerful tool that should never be underestimated. Maintain good relationships with your current customers so that they will be more likely to spread the word to friends and family.
- If you're just starting out, go to your family, friends, and acquaintances for help. The people who care about you are more likely to wish you success than a complete stranger would be.
- Consider offering your customers a reward for referring others. For instance, you may offer special discounts on their next purchase from you for each successful referral.
Create opportunities in the real world.If your business has a storefront, set up physical opportunities for potential prospects to give you their contact information. Someone who visits your storefront might be interested during the visit, but distractions may come up before he or she has a chance to visit you online. As such, you should seize each opportunity as it arises.
- Consider setting up a fishbowl for people to drop business cards into. Another similar option would be to place contact forms or a contact sign-up sheet near the register or store entrance.
- Instruct your cashiers to mention your newsletter to each person at check-out time. Someone who is interested in buying from you once might also be interested in buying from you again.
Create a script.Before you make contact with any prospects, you need to give yourself a script to read from during the conversation. This is true regardless of whether you plan to connect by phone, in person, or via e-mail.
- Your script doesn't need to contain a full dialogue, but it should at least offer an outline of each point you need to mention during your conversation.
- You will gradually learn what you need to say to prospects as you gain experience, but in general, you will need to ask whether the contact has a need for your product or service, if that contact has a budget, and if he or she has permission or authority to spend that budget.
Set goals.Figure out how many prospects you will need to touch base with if you hope to meet your sales goals. Make sure you connect with enough contacts each week to meet your goals.
- Time and experience will be required for you to fine-tune your goals. For instance, if you need to make ten sales each week and typically persuade one out of every 50 prospects to buy, you will need to contact at least 500 prospects each week.
- Be willing to take risks with your calls and if the prospect is being wishy-washy, call that person to task.
Prospect daily.Prospecting is crucial to your business, and you need to treat it with the significance it deserves. Instead of prospecting only on certain days, be prepared to do a little or a lot every day.
- Set aside time each day of the week to make calls and send e-mails to your prospects. As a general rule, place phone calls during the week and send e-mails on the weekends. Business prospects who don't answer their phones over the weekend may still answer an e-mail.
- Do the majority of your prospecting early in the day and early in the week. That way, even if you are unable to get in touch with someone early on, you can try again later.
Make contact.After you set the groundwork, you need to actually contact your prospects. Go through your contact list and get in touch with each new person or company listed there.
- You can use phone or e-mail to contact your prospects.
- Listen to your prospects and note when they are ready to buy. They will usually say something along the lines of, "I've been looking to purchase something like this," or, "I was hoping you'd be in touch."
Focus on the relationship.It may seem counter-intuitive, but the focus of prospecting shouldnotbe making sales. Your focus must be on establishing a relationship with as many prospects as possible.
- Opening the relationship comes first. Once you make contact with a prospect, you need to convince him or her to schedule an appointment or listen to your sales pitch.
- Sales are important, of course, and you should go into each dialogue with the goal of selling your product or service.
- Even if you do not make the sale, though, you should still seek to keep the relationship open. That prospect may need your product or service later, and if you continue to touch base, he or she may think of you before contacting anyone else when the time comes.
Encourage feedback.Prospects typically respond better when they feel they are being served rather than sold to. Feedback lets your prospects know that you are interested in their needs and wants.
- Stay engaged through social media. Post frequent updates to your blog and social media pages, and respond to inquiries and comments made through those sources.
- Send surveys. Prospects are generally more willing to respond to short surveys, but they may respond to a long survey if there is a reward or the chance of a reward at the end. For instance, filling out a survey may enter the prospect in a drawing for cash or a gift card. Regardless of the length, though, sending surveys sends the message that you want to know how you can improve to meet customer needs.
Address your contact by name.Even if your prospect is actually a large company instead of an individual, you will probably speak with the same individual at the company each time you call or write.
- Establishing a positive relationship with your contact at the company is important. At minimum, you need to know his or her name and keep your conversations both friendly and professional.
- If necessary, take notes after each conversation with your contact so that you can pick up where you left off with the next call.
- The contact you establish a relationship with may not make the final decision, but he or she will have some input. Creating a favorable opinion with your initial contact will improve your chances of a receiving a positive recommendation.
Nurture the relationship.Once you've started a relationship with a prospect, you need to nurture that relationship so that it continues to grow. The idea is to eventually convert your prospects into loyal customers.
- Follow up with each prospect on a regular basis. Send "thank you" notes and e-mails. Pass along surveys and copies of your newsletter. Touch base with those who have bought from you in the past to find out how satisfied they are with your product or service.
Video: Sales Prospecting Tips - 5 Places To Find More Customers
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