Prospecting for Gold04/28/2014
Prospecting for new customers is an important part of the sales process. In direct sales, prospecting requires phone calls, direct mail and other tactics that drive some people away from direct sales careers. For many businesses the use of some direct sales techniques may be considered unacceptable but this doesn't diminish the need to prospect for new customers.
In late 1848 and 1849 people began flocking to California for what became known as the Gold Rush. An estimated 300,000 people eventually made there way to the area in hopes of striking it rich. Many returned home empty handed while a few became very wealthy. Getting to California was difficult, whether a "Forty Niner" as the prospectors were called, arrived by sea or by land. These hardships prompted change and California grew as ancillary businesses popped up to serve the prospectors.
Modern prospecting is different but we are basically looking for the same results, growth and success. Today we prospect through the use of advertising , target marketing and promotions. It can be difficult, just as it was for the Forty Niners but businesses that focus on prospecting are usually rewarded.
Developing techniques and processes that focus on attracting new customers and implementing these processes consistently can not only help a business grow but can also help retain existing customers. When existing customers see that new customers are attracted to your business it reinforces the reasons they chose to do business with you in the first place.
Each business is different but some prospecting methods can be used by almost all markets. Consistent advertising to build brand identity is the most common method. Associations with non-profit organizations create a socially responsible image that may attract new customers. Youth oriented promotions generally have a wide impact as well as help build future markets.
Your website is the first place many people look for information regarding your business. Providing content on your website that informs people about current promotions, associations and answers common customer questions can be the first step in prospecting for new customers.
Establishing a prospecting system that works for your business is the hard part, once it is implemented you can make necessary adjustments as you prospect for gold.