‘Prospect Characteristics Matrix’ Turns Suspects into Prospects
Why? Because he who controls the information, controls!
This statement is the most irrefutable and valid precept in all of selling. What’s more, it grows in importance as technology allows more people to have access to more information.
Though having access to the Internet helps, acquiring information about your prospects can also be as easy as a trip to the library. Among the sources you can use to gain an information-based competitive edge are:
• Association directories. Just about every library has a directory containing listings of associations, which (for a modest fee) can often provide you with membership directories.
• Chamber of Commerce directories. Most chambers publish a low-cost directory of all the employers in their area. They may even be able to provide you with a listing of new companies in their areas.
• State industrial directories.
• Business directories publish by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Dun & Bradstreet, Dow Jones, and Standard and Poors.
• Telephone directories.
• List brokers.
• Specialized lists from the Superintendent of the Documents in Washington, DC.
• Trade journals. In addition to offering valuable buyer information, these publications often sell or rent their subscriber lists.
• Local, regional, and national business publications.
During your research, look for such information as new incorporations, new buildings (new tenants often have greater graphic arts needs), new product announcements, newspaper business sections, and annual reports.
At the end of the discussion, ask the group to name the publications they have found most useful. Ask for specific examples of how information gleaned from the sources have been used to turn a suspect into a prospect, and a prospect into a client. Finally, ask the salespeople for the kind of information they look for when locating suspects and prospects.
Exercise 2 (1 Hour)
Write a plan for developing your prospect database. Each plan should cover sources of information, characteristics of suspects, qualification criteria and a timetable for building the database.
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.