Growing a portfolio is an important part of a sales person’s job in most instances.
‘Prospecting’, as this behaviour is often referred, comes from mining as they explore for minerals, ores etc.
You don’t see a seasoned miner digging holes everywhere in the vain attempt to hit the mother lode. Sure, not every hole they dig is a success, but they look for the ‘markers’ that are likely to mean what they are looking for is nearby to improve the odds. For example, iron pyrite is often found near gold deposits or kimberlite near diamonds. So miners look for these to help point them to what you’re looking for.
Prospecting for clients isn’t much different – you need to think about it before ‘digging many holes’. Here are 5 key questions to ask yourself when developing a prospect focus:
- What does my ideal client look like? What are their characteristics – eg size, staffing, activity etc. Of these, which are the most important/crucial to making them ‘ideal’
- Where are you most likely to find them? What industries, areas, markets, associations, advisers/partners/intermediaries will you see them most often?
- Why would they do business with you? What is your message, your value add or USP? This should align to what makes them ideal (a value match)
- Who are they? Knowing the above – who are these prospects? Who should you be doing business with?
- How do you connect with them? What is the most appropriate way to engage with them and their business. Is it directly or being introduced? Do you know someone who knows them (from Where)? Do you need to participate in an industry group/association (again, from Where)?
Understanding the above helps distill who you should be connecting and talking with to develop meaningful, value based relationships. It helps minimise wasting your and your prospects time and energy digging for something that isn’t there.
Where is your pyrite?