Entrepreneurs often struggle with where to find new prospects and customers. Wise entrepreneurs follow proven practices. Here’s a look at four practical prospecting places every entrepreneur can use build their network and their business.
1. Ask for a referral
Referrals can be an essential place to find new prospects and build relationships. This is one of the most overlooked sales opportunities. Reach out to existing customers who are pleased with your work. Satisfied customers will provide on-ramps to their existing networks. You can do this the old fashioned way or through strategic and automated referral programs.
Sales expert Jeffrey Gitomer wrote, “All things being equal, people want to do business with their friends. All things being not quite so equal, people still want to do business with their friends. So connecting is all about friendliness and the ability to engage and give value first.” Gitomer is saying that to find success in business you don’t need more shiny techniques or strategies, you need more friends.
The Wharton School of Business reports that the lifetime value of a new referral customer is 16 percent higher than regular customers. Furthermore, a marketing study conducted by Texas suggests 83 percent of consumers are willing to refer after a positive experience, yet only 29 percent actually do.
2. Create an event
Prospects can easily be found at niche events where people gather with common interests. For starters, find places where your ideal customers gather and then go there. For business leaders, it is also wise to throw events that bring people together. These events can happen in the form of mixers, luncheons, summits, conferences, etc. in the form of networking or customer appreciation events.
3. Join a local interest group
Explore local interest groups in your city. They provide a natural connection and can help you develop trust quicker. Once you join a group, you can move from the crowd to the individual. It may seem counterintuitive but sometimes you need to make a move from larger to smaller groups to grow larger. The idea is to join a group, but then work to build relationships with individuals.
4. Invest in social media relationships
Since the inception of social media, the masses are at your fingertips. Enhance influence and grow your reach by engaging people via social media.
According to SiriusDecisions, the average salesperson only makes two attempts to reach a prospect each week. Imagine how long it would take to build a company if only two prospecting calls were made every week.
A helpful key performance indicator is tracking the number of new prospects added to the sales funnel each month. Remember, prospects precede profits and profits precede progress.
Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CXP (CEO Experience). He serves leaders by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations that enable to go further faster. He has worked with hundreds of CEOs and leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. Ken is the creator and facilitator of the Christian CEO Linkedin Group and creator of the CEO Experience Impact Assessment. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. Connect with @ken_gosnell on Twitter.