Prospecting is the sales related activity where you are engaged in seeking and finding new potential customers. The sales process can be broken into Prospecting, Getting the Appointment, Build the Sale and Close the Sale. In this article the focus is on Prospecting.

At each stage of the selling process you need to keep in mind a specific objective and develop a number of techniques can be used to maximize your chances of success. Following is a few tips on how to do effective prospecting.

Prospecting should focus on developing a list of potential customers that may be interested in your products and services. Keep this in mind and do not think about any other area. Focus on developing enough prospect. A goal with a certain number in mind is a good idea.

This can be broken into two major areas:

1. Referral prospecting

2. Non-referral prospecting

1. Referral prospecting

Do not lose sight that your current customers can be a gold-mine of information as well as prospects who may well be interested in your products and services. Referrals from current customers, colleagues and other acquaintances are the best kind. Your credentials have probably already been established in the mind of the prospect due to the fact that they trust the person referring them. The success of closing the sale is also the highest with referrals such as these. You get referrals simply by asking for them. The nature of your market, customers, and colleagues and acquaintances will influence how and when you do the asking, but you need to decide what method is best. What will ensure that you don’t offend people? This is for you to judge. Remember, if you have rendered a good service or sold them a good product, customers will be willing and happy to give you referrals. Just by reminding them how important they are to you and how you appreciate any recommendations, customers can be kept aware of your desire for referrals and recommendations.

Prospect current and former customers, from colleagues and business associates. This is an obvious source that is easily overlooked. Current and former customers have already owned or used your product or service. All that is required is a proper record of your clients, either a physical database or a computerized one.

2. Non-referral prospecting

Non-referral prospecting is all about getting the names of prospects from sources such as the local and suburban newspapers, yellow pages, professional and trade publications, swap meets or any meeting with other people who are not in competition with you but who can give you leads and vice versa. Any source which can provide you with the names and contact details of prospects should be considered.

Remember the fact that the purpose is to develop a list which will result in success in sales, which will results in a successful close, but this part of the process is to build a list of prospects and keep that list long enough to feed the rest of the process.

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