‘Prospect Characteristics Matrix’ Turns Suspects into Prospects
• Think about the buying behavior of companies with these characteristics. Sometimes buyers choose graphic arts salespeople whose companies have behaviors and styles similar to their own. For example, emerging growth companies often buy from emerging growth graphic arts firms, and large companies often buy from large, established printing companies.
• Identify your geographic outreach. How constrained are you by an assigned territory? How far is it economically feasible for you to prospect? Management can help you with this.
Using directories and other resources, start building your database in whatever medium you have chosen: index cards, a loose-leaf notebook, or database software. Though this may appear tedious, it will solidify your thinking as you wade through the task.
• As you begin to make contacts by phone, mail, e-mail and in person, enabling you to begin gathering more direct information from each suspect (and indirect information from secondary sources), you will begin to qualify or disqualify your suspects.
Suspects are disqualified if they:
• Do not need or use your type of services.
• Have printing suppliers that are so firmly entrenched in the suspect’s business that trying to unseat them is not worthwhile.
• Are not creditworthy.
• Do not generate enough business to promise sufficient volume.
• Have buying policies that are too inflexible or demanding.
Disqualified suspects should be moved to an inactive file in your database, which should be reviewed once a year. Companies change and may re-qualify at a later date. Everyone else should be qualified. Qualified suspects become prospects, and move to another section in your database.
PROFILE YOUR BEST PROSPECTS
Exercise 1 (2 Hours)
Use the following material as the basis for this week’s discussion.
For an objective outsider, it is fairly easy to analyze major accounts at a company and find common characteristics among them. As a graphic arts salesperson surrounded by job jackets and client files, it may be extremely difficult to perform the same exercise.
Harris DeWese is the author of "Now Get Out There and Sell Something." He is chairman/CEO at Compass Capital Partners and an author of the annual "Compass Report," the definitive source of info regarding printing industry M&A activity. DeWese has completed 100-plus printing company transactions and is viewed as the preeminent deal maker in the industry. He specializes in investment banking, M&A, sales, marketing and management services to printers.