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Prospecting in 5 Easy Steps —Farquharson/Tedesco

January 2011

We've noticed a couple things about today's 20-somethings: First, they really love to communicate—by Facebook and texting. Second, they rarely use their phones to actually talk. To this generation, calling someone on the phone seems to be a forgotten concept, like the Palm Pilot.

Regardless of a person's age (for the record, Tedesco and Farquharson are both just a hair older than "20-something"), hectic schedules can hinder telephone calls, especially if the call recipient is known to be, err, long-winded. However, try not to fall into the electronic-only communication trap because it doesn't work, especially in sales!

These five easy steps should help make your phone prospecting process as painless as possible (nice alliteration, eh?).

Step 1: Clearly Define the Goals of Your Tele-Prospecting Program. "Get more leads" is not a clearly defined goal. Instead, tele-prospecting efforts should be squarely focused on lead generation. Maybe you have a hunch that a couple of industries are ripe for your printing services. Develop goals like:

• Investigate, identify and qualify X number of new leads in Y and Z industries;

• Develop qualified leads with X $ of sales potential every month;

• Add X $ in "pipeline" opportunities every month; and

• Make your lead generation objectives so crystal clear that the head honcho, office cleaner and you (sometimes the same person) all understand exactly what you're trying to do.

Step 2: Acquire and Manage Prospecting Lists. Before prospecting activities commence, set your sights on choosing the right targets. Consider similar companies to current customers in your company's "sweet spot." What characteristics do they share? If you have access to an online database tool with SIC Code information, look up their classifications and search for prospects with similar demographic attributes. If you do this, we guarantee you'll uncover a significant number of businesses ripe for the pickin'.

Here are some other list sources to consider:

• Business lists in your area (e.g., local Business Journals, newspapers and other media);

• Purchased lists (e.g., InfoUSA, D&B, North American Publishing Co., etc.);

• Your company's old prospect lists (usually stored on a computer that is off!);

• Intelligent online searches (Google is your friend); and

• Even hopping in your car, driving around and writing down company names (during non-selling hours, of course) has been known to work.

 

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