We here at JFDI feel a bit sorry for prospecting. Much maligned and more so neglected, the P-word has become the F-word of marketing. Once the P-word arises, it seems every other task on the to-do list, however menial, suddenly becomes of the greatest importance.
In an ideal world, new business opportunities would be flooding in purely through word of mouth or referrals, but the reality is that Marketing Directors are notoriously time poor, and therefore unlikely to be found waxing lyrical to anyone that will listen about the merits of their current agency.
So it must be that we have to help ourselves. Simply, the aim is to start conversations that will ultimately result in new clients. But key to this is recognising the difference between marketing and prospecting. Being active on social media or having a nice set of case studies does not directly translate as prospecting – the conversation is still only one way.
We all like to think that we ‘tailor’ credentials and other marketing collateral to our prospects but what do we really mean by that? Approaching a financial services prospect and telling them that you already work with clients in the same sector and have had great results is all well and good but really, so what?
There is no reason to fear that you are disturbing a prospect by starting a conversation with them so long as you’re offering something that will tangibly impact upon their business.
A great example of this was an agency that spotted an article in a newspaper about one of its prospects that had run a giveaway for new customers. However due to a lack of uptake there was a huge amount of surplus stock left over.
That agency cut out the article and sent it to the Marketing Director with a note along the lines of ‘we see you need some help getting rid of xyz –we can help you do it…here’s why.’
Tactical opportunities don’t come around that often but it is a lesson in knowing what is happening in your prospects’ world, not just what they are doing in yours.
What is imperative is to have in a place a defined prospecting strategy and pipeline complete with a detailed interrogation of each prospect and why they would be a good fit for your business.
The JFDI Prospecting and Marketing Skills Days are specifically designed to equip you with proven strategies, ideas and tools to help you develop and manage your new business pipeline.
Click here for full details of the next one, taking place on 27th February, and to book a place.
We’re putting prospecting back on the agenda.
Amy Robinson, Jan 2014