Where Are the Qualified Prospects?
Mark Hale ‐ June 4, 2014
How to Zero in on Your Best-Qualified Prospects.
Do you feel that you are wasting your time, money, and enthusiasm on people who are not interested or qualified to buy what you sell?
The biggest time waster and profit killer for a business is getting caught up dealing with people who are not qualified to buy. For a business (or sales person) to grow they need to develop a way to zero in on the best-qualified prospects for what they sell. From a marketing standpoint it is almost impossible to design a postcard or send out a direct mail campaign that is effective unless you know whom the best prospects are.
Many business owners have a vague idea of whom they want as a customer, sometimes the idea of who they want does not match the reality of what they offer. In other words the people (this vague idea) they usually market to would not find what they offer of value, need or buy what they sell. Marketing done with out knowing exactly who the prospect is and if the product or service is needed and wanted by the prospect is doomed to fail.
Instead of looking for suspects who may or may not have the capacity or need to buy your product or service, some day down the road, start seeking prospects that are qualified and need your product today.
Know the difference between suspects and prospects for what you do as a first step. You have to go where the money is. Here are some tips on how to zero in on your best-qualified targets:
- What does a “qualified prospect” look like? Hint, it is more than just “has the money to buy”. If people really see how your product will solve a problem for them they can usually find the money to pay for it. The rule here is that prospect has to really need what you sell. And, what you sell has to solve a real or perceived problem the customer has. Start by listing what problems your product or service solves for your customer
Then make a list of who would have the type of problems you solve.
You can also look at your current best customers and list out similar characteristics. They all live on the beach, of have 2 children and have middle or upper incomes. Or our best prospects are business owners with ten or more employees who need help with money management. What ever it is the first step is to identify.
- Build a database of your current customers, names, addresses, e-mails, and phone numbers, even notes about transactions, interests and needs and wants of these customers.
You should attempt to do ongoing surveys of current customers so that you can identify new opportunities to service the customers you have. *IMPORTANT: one of the best sources of qualified prospects is from referrals from your existing customers. Always ask for referrals from existing customer, they always will have friends or associates with similar needs. Often your existing customers are also good prospects for reorders and up sell to additional products and services. After all they already purchased from you once and if satisfied with your service are easy up sells for other services you offer.
- Use the Internet to search for other industries that have a similar target audience (those who are complementary versus competitive with your business). When you determine which other businesses would also sell to your client, contact them and offer to share or trade prospect names with them.
- Make sure your website is set up to capture leads and it is easy for people to request information. The design of your web site needs feature information and data that is helpful. Most people go to the Internet to search for information before they buy. The better information you offer the better educated and qualified the prospect will be who calls you. Also the easier it will be to close the sale. It is also important to present your information using terms and language the customer can understand.
- Study your biggest competitors identify strengths and weaknesses. How are you different? Look for holes in their service that you can do better.
- Don’t limit your prospecting simply to previous or current customers. Use previous or current customers to identify traits and characters you can use to buy targeted direct mail lead lists. Then use direct mail lead list and mail a postcard or letter to them.
- Avoid general advertisements, lead letters, or promotions. Always make sure that your offers refer to a specific product or service. This way, readers with strong interests can easily qualify themselves and take advantage of your offer.
- Always focus your efforts on the markets, prospects, and activities that offer you the highest probability of a payoff.
Finding better-qualified prospects for your business is simple and involves research. Once you have the basic research done, you can spend less energy and time on suspects, and more time with qualified and rewarding prospects.
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