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Wednesday, February 14, 2007

How To Improve Customer Prospecting

This is the second post in the series on "What is Marketing And Why Should We Use It?"

Remember without a marketing strategy customer prospecting is prone to failure.

Where Do Firms Go Wrong?

New firms begin with a big idea they believe people will buy.

More mature firms develop a product that they think addresses a market problem.

Desperate, cash hungry firms throw up anything to attract customers and get money rolling in.

Why Do Research?

Research into whether people want the product or service the company intends offering may be minimal or even non-existent.

Beware because without a properly defined market to aim at the business is tempted to go after all prospects they can think of.

Going after everyone leads the owner and/or sales staff wasting their time following up with leads that either never convert or are wrong for the product they offer.

How You Can Research Your Customers

 Make a list of every business you want to do business with or you already like doing business with. You're listing what is effectively your ideal customer.

Then either ring them up or go meet them. Then ask them if they can help you because you want to see whether your new product or service is something they want.

Forget Focus Groups

I'm not particularly impressed by focus groups and believe a one on one talk with your current ideal prospects and customers is much more informative and useable.

Oh, by the way and I'm reviewing a book shortly that covers focus groups and why they're a complete waste of space by two people who've done decades of market research. So sign-up to get on my email list so you know when it comes out.

Anyway, onwards...

What To Do When You're Ready To Sell

Make sure your marketing strategy, oh wait you mean you don't have one?

OK. For now lets assume you do...

So, make sure your marketing strategy defines exactly how you'll get leads for your sales staff and then further defines how sales staff deal with each prospect.

The 12 Ways To Prospect for Customers

Obviously there are more than 12 ways to prospect for customers I'm just giving the basics:

  1. Get referrals
  2. From press releases
  3. Using cold calling by sales staff
  4. Using cold calling by external call centre
  5. Sending direct mail
  6. Creating an email campaign
  7. Advertising in and Yellow Pages
  8. Replying to Invitation To Tenders
  9. Joint Ventures
  10. Web sites and autoresponder follow-up
  11. Blogs
  12. Seminars

Your strategy which is based on your analysis of your customers/prospects and the product or service you sell defines exactly which of these tactics you use.

In the next in this series I'll look into Product or Service development.


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