Sales, Business Development

There are many places you can find new clients for your products and services if you know where to look.

The main locations for prospects are:

1.  Existing clients - within organisations and associated divisions and companies.  Maybe grab a copy of their Annual Report and find out who their related organisations are.

2.  Referrals from existing happy (and even unhappy) clients – don’t presume that your clients will recommend you unless you ask them to, or to give you referrals. It’s not that they don’t want to its just that they are busy and it doesn’t come into their head until you ask or suggest it to them. Even not so happy clients will give you a referral if you ask.

3.  Trade publications – not necessarily your industry publications but likely to be those of your best customers.  Remember “birds of a feather flock together”.

4.  Networking – trade fairs, field days. Work the room introducing yourself, making an impression, exchanging your elevator pitch and swapping cards. Go with a goal in mind (“my goal is to get 3 first class prospects from this evening’s function”).

5.  Media - general news media outlets, picking up on events and opportunities which might offer opportunities. Take the time to scan the Business and Financial sections.

6.  Associations - cross section of industry and auxiliary associations where business people congregate. Get to know the movers and shakers and make yourself known to them.

7.  General Observation – if you haven’t decided to look for opportunities as you travel around your community you will be blind to the many opportunities that you begin to see once you have decided that this is an area that offers prospects of new business. Check billboards, signs, delivery trucks, new construction sites and job adverts.

8.  Social Media - this new and exciting area of client prospecting is rapidly growing for those who invest the time in building their online presence and communities.

Whether you are salesperson, sales manager or managing director, you are responsible for bringing in new prospects to your product and service. Choose two or three areas from this list weekly to set and achieve your prospecting goal to create an endless cascade of prospects to you.

Instead of Selling it should be called Prospecting.  For without a prospect to meet with and subtly persuade to become your client, you will have limited success in the future!

By Keith Millar

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