How to Find Prospects for Your Business? 10 Actionable Tips
Finding prospects for your business and then nurturing them into leads are the building blocks of a sales cycle. Without prospects, there would be no leads, and without leads coming in at the top of your sales pipeline, you can’t expect sales at the bottom. Prospects are the first key ingredient to business success and here is how to accumulate more of them. But first…
What is a Prospect?
A prospect is someone (be it a person, a department in a company or a whole company) who has an interest in your business and your product. A prospect is someone who has a need, desire and/or interest in what you offer.
How to Find Prospects for Your Business?
Prospects can be obtained in a variety of ways such as online (eg. Social media), in the physical world (at a trade show for example) or they can approach you first (visit your website or fill in a web form). Here are 10 proven ways to acquiring new leads for your sales pipeline:
Networking platforms are the manna of the business world. Not only do they offer a great way to connect with customers, but also a new place for you to grow your list of prospective customers. It is a great way to start creating and nurturing relationships through engaging in conversations, sharing relevant content and generally getting to know the people who are keen followers of your brand.
Connect with influencers on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ and communicate with them. Share some of their content and by the law of reciprocity, they will share some of yours. This way they will be showing your business and ultimately recommending your brand and your product to their entire audience.
Once your message has had the seal of approval from an expert influencer in your industry, potential customer would feel so much more confident to go ahead and follow you, share your content, subscribe to your newsletter and potentially purchase from you.
#3 Social Proof
Post case studies and success stories of people and companies who have experienced success thanks to you and your product. Make use of positive feedback and learn from negative comments.
This social proof would give people the confidence to check out your website, like you on Facebook, maybe sign up for a free trial and they will become leads in your sales pipeline.
Good content is one of the easiest and most effective ways to finding prospects for your business. Good content that is relevant to your target market is the key to people subscribing to communications from you, sharing your content with others and ultimately helping you build a loyal audience. And this loyal audience is your prospective future clients that could potentially be nurtured to become your loyal customers.
Look at something as simple as a blog post or an infographic; they get shared a ton! Why? Because sharing knowledge and information is something we all do and the business who gets their content shared becomes somewhat of an expert. And who doesn’t want to do business with an expert?
Mingle! As effective and handy some of the digital approaches to finding prospects are, good old networking should still be an essential part of your weekly routine. Engage with people face-to-face, tell them about yourself, your business and your product and ask about them. Exchange contact details, add them to your database and keep in touch. There is another prospect in books.
#6 Customer Referrals
Make existing customers your brand ambassadors! The cost of retaining a customer is much lower than that of acquiring a new one, loyal customers tend to buy more and spend more. So treat them well and they will recommend you. Word-of-mouth is undoubtedly one of the most powerful tools any business can employ to attract prospects, so make sure your clients have something good to say about you.
Use emails, follow ups and automated communications to keep in touch with your prospects and turn them into solid leads. Expand your audience and get your message across to more and more people; nurture leads and navigate them through the sales funnel using targeted content distributed via email. The best thing about email is that it can be used together with other tools such as social media (add a sign up form to your Facebook page for example) or networking events (collect emails and add them to your database).
#8 Optimize Your Website
Chances are that your website will be the first point of contact between a prospective customer and your business. So make sure that your website (and I mean every single page, not just the landing page) live up to the task. Make the whole experience user friendly, check if it is easy to find information and the navigation on the website is good, use key words and don’t forget the sign up form! Make sure every page gives the option to the visitor to sign up to receiving your content.
#9 Don’t Ignore the Small Stuff
Some of the ways you can find prospects are so small that we tend to omit them, but we shouldn’t. For example do you have a fish bowl on your counter where people can put their business cards if they want to receive communications from you? Do you have a call to action such as Give Us a Call Now or Visit Our Website Today in your email signature? Maybe you should re-consider.
#10 Focus on Long-term Relationships
It’s easy to focus on where your next sale is coming from, but unless you have a long-term vision and orientation, you are doomed. You are finding prospects that would potentially turn into leads and then sales, but don’t forget that during that time you are also nurturing a relationship. A relationship between you and a prospective customer, and ideally you would like them to stay with you for the long run, not just purchase and go.
If nurtured well, a large proportion of your prospects can turn into valuable leads. But how do you do that? How do you find prospects and nurture leads? I hope this post answers the first half of the question and in another blog we will discuss the nurture part of the equation. Also have a look at this comprehensive guide on How to Manage Your Sales Pipeline: 6 Simple Steps to Optimizing your Sales Pipeline for Maximum Results and Efficiency.
So tell me, how do you find prospects?
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