‘Prospect Characteristics Matrix’ Turns Suspects into Prospects
PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER
Exercise 1 (1 Hour)
Use the following material to lead a discussion.
Whether you use index cards, a three-ring binder or database software, your prospecting database should be divided into three sections: suspects, prospects and clients (often collectively referred to as “buyers” throughout this book). Some salespeople include a fourth section called “major accounts,” which contains the company’s most profitable clients.
You will constantly be moving cards or data files from suspect to prospect to client during the qualification process. Some of the ways to organize your database are by:
• Contact name
• Company name
• Standard Industry Classification
• Type of company
• Printing needs
• Date of last contact
• Result of last contact
• Next step
• Date for next step
• Probability that suspect or prospect will become a client
You might even create a field called “remarks,” in which you can enter narrative notes to yourself about your account strategy
Consider creating a field called “referrals,” so you can analyze the origin of your accounts to see if they come from one or two specific areas. Referrals are the most valuable tool in the prospector’s arsenal. A $2 million printing salesperson parlayed one contact at a corporation into more than one hundred as a result of referrals, and today estimates that 95 percent of her new work is obtained from networking and referrals—leaving her no time for cold-calling.
Indeed, nothing beats being introduced to a suspect by a satisfied client, friend, or business associate. Some of the sources you should cultivate to increase your chances of obtaining referrals are:
• Existing clients
• Other prospects and suspects
• Business networks
• Vendors and suppliers
• Binders and other trade shops
• Ad agencies
• Graphic design agencies
• Sales and social clubs
• Church members
• Country club members
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.