This month’s piece will complement last month’s article on “SALES 101 – Practice Efficient Time Management”. The need to set time aside in your calendar to prospect for new business was emphasized. Whether you’re in operations, marketing or resident services, you should allocate an hour or an afternoon on a regular basis to prospect and conduct research on potential vendors, business partners and future residents.
There are two main strategies that have worked well for me:
- Virtual Prospecting with Search Engines – Google (& Google+); Yahoo; Bing; Ask.com
- Live Prospecting at Networking Events – industry meetings; local and regional business associations; volunteering with not-for-profits
If you’re a techy by nature, you’ll be able to spend hours crawling the web to find opportunities. It would be best to focus your energies on one search at a time. For example, you can conduct your research by specifying a variety of parameters but choose one at a time. You can search by model, geographic location, topic and content such as business sector, or information type such as blogs and other social media networks.
Contrary to using a computer and the internet, the next best source is live business events. These provide a non-threatening forum to meet new contacts for the purpose of conducting business. Even if everyone isn’t a primary source of business for you they are a potential referral to someone who is if you were able to develop a rapport at your first introduction. Your first encounter will enable you to conduct a pre-assessment of the person to determine whether or not you should proceed through the next steps in the “Sales Cycle” with them.
Like efficient time management, you need to manage your prospecting time and efforts as well and you should do it on a regular basis in order to keep your pipeline supplied. Time Management, Prospecting and Networking are an example of some of the technical selling skills you need in your professional sales tool kit.
Still have questions? I’ve conducted numerous sales workshops and management retreats. Feel free to contact me in person via email to [email protected] or telephone me at 604.984.7445. Mention my article and I’ll give you 20% off your first workshop fee with me! Offer ends April 1, 2012.