Even though flowers expel pollen (most of which gets caught in human sinus cavities this time of year), bees must go to the flower to get the pollen. They land for a minute, collect the pollen they need, and move on to the next flower. Repeat, Repeat, Repeat. Repeat about 2 million times to make one pound of honey.
Your prospecting technique should mimic their activity, just as your database should reflect their flowering field; you have to visit prospects in your database in order to get them to produce leads for you.
How do you visit prospects?
- Phone call: the gold standard of prospecting. But without an appointment to talk, you’ll mostly likely leave a message on a voice mail, or with a gatekeeper. Voice mail is ideal, because you never know if the gatekeeper passes along your message. Time consuming, manpower intensive.
- Direct Mail: letters, postcards, business mailers are sent en masse. Postal rates are surpassing printing costs. There’s no way to know if the intended recipient even got the mail, or whether they opened it. Between copy writing, design, printing, and postage, it can be a costly venture with a low return.
- Networking: if you’re in the same metropolitan area as your prospects, networking counts as a touch. Research your prospects’ business events, target your attendance and zero in on which table to sit at, and you can have a conversation with your prospect. But lunch is $20, and it takes you out of the office for a couple hours.
- Drop-by: It’s probably the grandfather of all sales techniques – just stop by the office and ask for time to talk RIGHT NOW. Just like cold calling, you will find a prospect that is ready and willing to talk, but it will take a lot of shoe leather to find him!
- Email: It’s quick, inexpensive, and effective. BUT… you have to have a database with accurate addresses and an effective tool through which to send emails (this does not include Outlook). Get those things in place, and email can do the heavy lifting for you.
Which of these is the most effective? Depends on you, what you sell, how much of it you have to sell, and how long it takes you to sell it. No matter which technique – or combination of techniques you use – you have to get in touch with your prospects. If you don’t, you’ll never know which ones want to buy from you and which ones don’t.
In the end, just like the bees, you have to visit your prospects to get the gold reward – new business!