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Monday, March 29, 2010

The New Prospecting

I was introducing myself to a local CEO when she said, “Oh, I know you, Dick. I read your blog posts. I’m a lurker.”

The World Changed Right Then!

First, she knows what I am writing about. Second, even if she doesn’t blog (yet) she knows the blogger term “lurker,” a person who reads but doesn’t comment.

We had a fabulous meeting.

What does this have to do with prospecting?

Theo was giving a talk about prospecting to a financial salesforce. He asked what I was thinking. So I started putting this together. His talk came and went, and we decided this wasn’t what his audience wanted to hear.

The textbook definition of prospecting is to assemble a list of prospects.

Well, that Nigerian Prince conclusively proved you can contact almost everyone by email. But he didn’t make many sales, and sure didn’t create happy relationships.

It’s not classic prospecting, but what is required today is making people predisposed to buy your offering. That takes communication.

One way is blogging. Another channel is events.

I use events three ways. I remember being introduced in a new territory and one of the top customers was remembering the long time gone local users group.

“I’d like to help you with that.”
“Well, you can’t come, it’s for customers only.”
“Fair enough. How about I drop off your projectors, handouts, and breakfast and then leave?”
“What about lunch?”
“I’ll get that too.”
“Well then, you might as well come to the meeting.”

That user group was very good to me.

I take a leadership role (usually starting in Membership) so I get to know everyone, AND they get to know me. Second, I’ve been called “A “Loud and Frequent Speaker.” Some wag wrote that and was surprised I won’t let it go.

A third use is getting my customers to speak. I’ve noticed I do better when my customer tells the story.

All of these are “pull” prospecting activities rather than interrupting people you don’t know when they are doing something else.

What's your most successful prospecting technique?
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