Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Prospecting isnt for sissies!

The beginning is usually a good place to start so let's talk about initiating client development cycles, aka prospecting. Boo! Hiss! Who likes to prospect? Not many, but it is a necessary evil. New client development is a numbers game and the more contacts you make, the greater your chances of success.

The primary objective for prospecting is to generate curiosity so that buyers are interested in talking with sellers. Unfortunately, caller ID, Spam filters and gatekeepers do their best to keep sellers at bay. And, how many executives are routinely available to answer their phones without an appointment? So, what can you do to increase your chances of making contact?

We recommend a campaign where you reach out to multiple people within an organization (we call this the Sphere of Influence approach) AND multiple organizations concurrently. Here are some ideas:

1. Profile your Target Market. Identify the top 3-5 titles within a prospect's organization that influence the decision to buy your products/services. Understand why they need your offering. Using case studies, quantify the potential value of your offering.

2. Build a Database. Locate contact information for prospects that meet your target market criteria. Use all available sources including existing customers, lead generation subscriptions, trade association listings, Web site visitors, social media groups such as LinkedIn, and referrals (by far the best approach).

3. Develop Issue-Based Messaging. Create 2-3 introductory letters that will be sent in advance of a phone call and close each one with a call to action. These letters are not about your services; they're about how you help your clients. The 1st letter highlights specific issues that your prospects wrestle with. Subsequent letters focus on how you helped your prospects improve their business results.

4. Deliver your Messaging. Send these letters out 7-10 days apart via email to all key influencers, letting each person know you are sending it to everyone else. If one influencer doesn't attend to your email, someone else might. You also may be told that they are not the right person, but someone else is. Bingo - now you have a referral. There are HTML applications that allow you to embed logos, images and links. They also provide stats on opens and clicks which can help you hone in on the more interested prospects.

5. Follow Up. Pick up the phone and first contact those that responded to your emails and/or clicked on an email link. The call won't seem as "cold" if you've first warmed them up with an introductory letter.

If you'd like to learn more about how we help our clients with prospecting, send us an email.

Do you have a firm retreat coming up? Looking for targeted client development training in person or via video-conference? Have you gone past training and implemented a client development strategy that integrates your firms brand with each attorneys marketing efforts?

We have worked with several organizations to help them achieve their client development goals and would like to share with you how.

Contact Andrew Wilcox at (850) 893-8984, Andrew@Wilcox-legal.com