Prospecting (© SFIO CRACHO / Fotolia.com)
Prospecting is something that everyone who works in marketing or advertising, or who is a professional salesperson or perhaps even owns a company must do. It is a very important term in marketing because it is one of the primary tasks of the marketer.
We will be looking at marketing in-depth today, exploring the methods of prospecting with a specific focus on online prospecting, but other methods as well.
What is Prospecting?
Outside of marketing and advertising circles, the term prospecting may invoke images of an old-time gold prospector with a mining pick. But prospecting as it is used today is a term that simply means going out and finding customers. There are a lot of methods of prospecting, and today, a lot of psychological techniques are used to get customers. But no matter what the method is, it is still known as prospecting at the most basic level.
The Methods of Prospecting
The first things that we are going to cover are some of the methods of prospecting. Understanding the methods that are used in prospecting will allow you to understand the entire process better.
- Cold calling: cold calling is when you call someone on the phone that you have not previously contacted and have no idea how receptive they will be to your message.
- Referrals: marketers tend to have more luck with referrals. These are people that your customers have recommended to you might be interested in your product or service.
- Networking: networking is when you actually go out and talk to your friends and family as well as colleagues and try to get names of people – as well as contact information – that might be interested in what you have to say.
- Email marketing: email marketing requires that you collect email addresses that you are allowed to contact with a commercial message. If you do not collect the addresses beforehand, and you just send your message to random emails, it is considered spam.
- Content marketing: content marketing is when you write content that is geared to sell, filled with keywords that you will rank for within the search engines results page.
- Social networks: using social networks is also a great way to prospect for clients. The methods of doing this vary, and you have to walk a fine line between making people want to follow you and getting your message out there.
- Webinars: seminars and webinars are great ways to get people to listen to what you have to say. If you can teach someone something that they desire to know, then you have an opportunity to pitch your products and services. What is especially effective is if your product or service solves their problem.
- Door-to-door: there are still companies out there that do their prospecting door to door but they are much fewer now than they once were.
- Advertising: finally, if you have money to spend then you can get your prospects by advertising.
Expert Advice: Improve Your Prospecting Odds
Now, let’s take a look at some expert advice that will help you improve your prospecting odds as well as your technique.
- Warm up your prospects before you call them. If you can develop a relationship with the prospect, then it is no longer cold calling you have a greater chance of success.
- Get your brand recognized as a leader in the field. If you can do this, and you come across a customer who knows your brand, you will not have to work as hard to get them to buy.
- Don’t look at it is selling. Look at it as solving the customer’s problem. If you are a problem solver, you will have a lot more confidence and the customer will be more receptive.
The bottom line is that there are a lot of different methods used to prospect. As a marketer, you have the choice to use one particular method, several methods or all of the methods at once. Some methods will work better for some people, but the main thing to keep in mind is that you have to get customers. You can use some of the expert advice listed in the previous section to improve your odds when it comes to prospecting.