How to properly set up a prospecting?
When it comes to marketing, many entrepreneurs think that they need to have a big budget and spend thousands or even millions of dollars on advertising campaigns before getting started with their business. However, this approach can be both costly and inefficient when compared with other available options. One such option could be using cold calling as part of your marketing strategy. This method allows you to reach out directly to people who might potentially buy what you're offering without having to pay high costs upfront. If approached correctly, cold calling can also help increase sales revenue by generating leads at very low prices. But how exactly does it work? And more importantly, how should you go about setting everything up so that it will actually produce results? In order to answer these questions we'll first take a look at some basic concepts related to cold calling.
What is the prospecting process?
Cold calling involves making contact with potential customers through various means (e.g., emails, phone calls) in hopes of persuading them to purchase your product or service. The goal behind all of this effort is to generate interest from prospective buyers while keeping things simple enough to avoid being labeled "scamming" or "spam." Ideally, you want your prospects to feel like they've been contacted because of genuine interest rather than because they were targeted simply due to their email address or mailing address appearing somewhere on the Internet. To make sure this happens, there's one important step you must complete prior to beginning any kind of outreach efforts. It's called creating a customer-facing profile. A well written and accurate customer-facing profile contains information about your target audience, including where they live, what age group they belong to, their gender, hobbies, etc. Having this type of data handy makes it much easier to identify which types of messages would appeal most strongly to each person. Once you know who you're trying to talk to, you can then use appropriate language and tone to convey your message effectively. When done right, cold calling can be incredibly productive if executed correctly. There are two main ways to execute cold calls -- telemarketing and online cold calling. Telemarketers typically get paid per sale whereas online marketers only earn money after closing a deal. While both methods may require a significant financial investment, depending upon your goals and objectives, they can still prove useful as long as certain rules are followed carefully. Below are some tips on executing proper cold calling practices.
1. Don't try to sell immediately during your call - Try not to focus too heavily on selling products and services during your initial conversations. Instead, create rapport by asking open ended questions about why someone wants to find out more about what you offer. Listen closely for cues indicating whether or not the caller really has an immediate desire to learn more about your offerings. Ask for permission to keep them informed via periodic updates instead of pushing hard for a quick decision now. You can ask something along the lines of, "Would you mind signing up for our monthly eNewsletter?" By doing this you're allowing the prospect time to digest what you say and consider what you have to share. Also, don't give away your entire pitch until later stages of the conversation. People are generally turned off by hearing a barrage of pitches every few minutes. Make sure you allow plenty of room for your listener to respond naturally. Remember, your ultimate objective here isn't necessarily to close a deal but to gather information that helps you better understand your market and improve your overall ability to serve future clients.
2. Be prepared to walk away quickly - Most businesses suffer from overconfidence and underpreparedness. Many times companies believe themselves to be far superior to anyone else in their industry despite failing to realize that everyone else is just as capable as they are. Some common mistakes made by unprepared sellers include attempting to convince someone to sign up for an expensive training program or course, giving discounts on products and/or services early into the conversation, or providing free items for review purposes. These tactics tend to backfire because they come across as desperate and pushy. If you aren't fully confident in what you're saying or offering, it's best to save those particular strategies for situations where you truly have no choice. Another mistake often seen among inexperienced sellers is sending unsolicited emails to strangers. Not surprisingly, this practice is commonly known as spamming and is considered unethical and illegal throughout North America. As mentioned previously, building relationships requires trust. Sending random emails containing links to questionable sites can destroy credibility faster than anything else. Never forget that you are dealing with real people. Treat others as you'd like to be treated.
3. Use multiple sources for research - When conducting research on prospects, always remember to use multiple sources whenever possible. For example, you wouldn't send the same letter to 100 different doctors hoping for favorable responses, would you? Likewise, you shouldn't rely solely on one source of information when researching individuals unless you have already built a relationship with them. Using several reliable resources can ensure accuracy and prevent unnecessary miscommunication. Additionally, studies show that prospects prefer receiving relevant news and opinions from trusted third parties. They don't care nearly as much about what you personally have to say. The bottom line is that your opinion doesn't carry quite as much weight as recommendations provided by someone they respect or admire. So, never assume that your personal experience alone is sufficient grounds for convincing someone to join your team. Always seek input from respected members within your own community. Do your homework! Find out what other professionals in your field currently recommend. Finally, don't hesitate to consult outside experts. Even though you probably won't end up following their advice, it's worth doing so once in awhile to gain additional perspective and insight.
4. Avoid falling prey to fear mongering - Fearmongering refers to the act of exaggerating negative outcomes associated with failure or loss of opportunity in order to scare potential buyers into submission. Although it sounds counterintuitive, sometimes people resort to fear mongering unintentionally. For instance, suppose you receive a call from a woman claiming she lost her husband in Iraq three years ago. She says he was driving his car when terrorists attacked him head-on. He survived the attack but sustained serious injuries...including losing control of the vehicle...and eventually died. Now imagine yourself sitting across from her in a café. How likely are you going to be convinced to purchase a new house from her based on such dire circumstances? Of course, we all see examples of exaggeration happening regularly in the media. Nevertheless, it's extremely rare for legitimate claims to be presented with such extreme dramatization. Unless otherwise specified, stick to factual details concerning past events whenever possible. Otherwise, you risk ruining your reputation and alienating people unnecessarily.
5. Keep records of your progress - Keeping track of your successes and failures can provide valuable insights into areas needing improvement. Perhaps you sent 10 letters to local dentists last month and received 4 replies. That means 40% of your attempts yielded positive results. On the flip side, perhaps you sent 20 letters to dentists last month and got 1 response. Your success rate stands at 15%. Clearly, there's room for improvement. Take note of the names of specific contacts, dates, and locations. Then, compare notes with peers and colleagues to determine what worked and didn't work. At least initially, resist the urge to label individual prospects as failed or successful based strictly on numbers. Instead, view each interaction as another learning experience. After evaluating what happened, you can adjust your next attempt accordingly. With this technique, you'll continue improving over time while maximizing efficiency.
Using the above guidelines, you should now possess the necessary knowledge needed to begin implementing a solid prospecting plan. Just bear in mind that nothing beats hands-on experience gained from trial and error. Before launching into your first campaign, perform extensive research and test numerous approaches until you achieve consistent success rates. With luck, you'll soon discover that prospecting becomes second nature.
You need to have a system and process when you start your home business, but what about if it's not working out as planned? What will happen if you don't know how to effectively build a list of prospects? How can you be sure that you're going to make money with your business opportunity? How can you ensure success in network marketing? Well, one of the most important things that you should learn from this article is that there are many ways to approach people who could potentially join your team. You just need to find the right method for each type of person. That means knowing which strategies work best for different types of people. The following five tips can help you get started setting up a successful prospecting plan.
How to set up a prospecting strategy?
It's always better to use several approaches rather than relying on only one technique. Having more than one active prospecting campaign running at any given time gives you greater flexibility and control over your results. There are various approaches that you can take advantage of when doing direct mail or email marketing campaigns. Some of those include cold calling, warm market advertising, referrals, joint venture partnerships, networking meetings, etc. Let me give you some examples of these techniques so that you'll see their effectiveness:
Direct Mail Campaigns - Direct mailing has been proven to be very effective because it allows you to target specific demographics such as age, gender, income level, geographic location, occupation, hobbies, interests, marital status, ethnic group, religion, political affiliation, education, etc. In addition, it also provides information about products or services offered by your company, thus giving them reasons to want to receive further details. It's recommended to send postcards instead of letters since they cost less and usually generate higher response rates. However, sending a letter may still be appropriate depending on your goals. Just remember to keep track of all responses. If possible, try to combine multiple sources of data into one report. This helps you organize everything related to your sales leads. For example:
Collect names, addresses, phone numbers, emails, etc., using auto-responders. Use prewritten messages that encourage recipients to call back.
Use social media tools like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, YouTube videos, blogs, forums, etc., to drive traffic to your website. Try to provide valuable content that attracts readers' attention. Then ask people to opt-in for free reports, eBooks, newsletters, video training, audio downloads, etc., and offer something irresistible (freebies) to entice visitors to become subscribers. Also, remind people why you contacted them in the first place. Make it simple and clear.
Create a lead capture page where interested customers can sign up for special offers. Offer incentive programs to draw targeted traffic to your site.
Send Free Reports and Special Offers via snail mail. Provide easy access to contact forms on your blog, newsletter subscription pages, or squeeze pages. Give away free items that potential buyers would like to receive. Create an attractive cover photo that makes viewers curious enough to click through to read more.
If you prefer to communicate online, then consider joining discussion groups or signing up for email lists. Follow up consistently to stay top-of-mind with prospective clients. Be consistent in your communication. Don't overload them with too much information! Keep communications short and sweet.
Warm Market Advertising - With warm market advertising, you go after those whom you already know. They've heard about you before and trust you. Your goal here is to introduce yourself to acquaintances, friends, relatives, coworkers, neighbors, club members, church members, community leaders, etc. Once again, the key is to focus on your audience. To attract new customers, tailor your message specifically to that particular segment. Remember, everyone wants to feel appreciated and valued. So, write personalized handouts with customized pictures, logos, banners, cards, flyers, magnets, advertisements, invitations, etc., that reflect the uniqueness of every recipient.
Referral Marketing - Referrals are another great source of qualified leads for your business. When someone recommends your product or service to others, they often buy themselves. But getting referrals isn't that hard. People simply need to know about other people who might benefit from your offerings. Therefore, let family, friends, colleagues, co-workers, neighbors, church members, clubs, associations, and organizations spread the word about your business. Word of mouth is powerful and you can leverage on it to recruit new distributors.
Joint Venture Partnerships - Joint ventures are win/win situations. Both parties gain financially and increase visibility. One party gains financial freedom while the other gets support promoting his/her own products. These relationships last longer and bring long term benefits.
Networking Meetings - Networking events are excellent places to meet potential partners, affiliates, vendors, investors, mentors, employees, consultants, coaches, influencers, advisors, suppliers, etc. Attending seminars, conferences, workshops, trade shows, expositions, conventions, farmer's markets, street festivals, fairs, charity events, music concerts, movies, sporting games, art exhibits, book signings, holiday functions, birthday celebrations, etc., are excellent venues to interact directly with targeted audiences.
How do I create a prospecting plan?
The simplest way to begin creating a prospecting plan is to brainstorm ideas. Think about topics that both you and your target clientele enjoy. Select three main areas and develop action plans for each topic. Afterward, prioritize your tasks based on urgency, importance, feasibility, profitability, etc. Now, pick the highest priority task(s), assign deadlines, and determine resources required. Finally, establish SMART objectives for accomplishing the assigned tasks.
What is a prospecting strategy?
A strategic prospecting plan includes four parts:
Lead generation activities
Sales conversion activities
Marketing mix analysis
Prospect management systems
1. Lead Generation Activities - Determine the number of prospects you intend to acquire per week. Next, decide which methods you'll use to reach them. A good rule of thumb is to select two to three primary methods.
2. Sales Conversion Activities - Analyze past performance data to identify weaknesses and strengths within your current marketing efforts. Identify opportunities to improve efficiency, reduce costs, maximize ROI, etc.
3. Marketing Mix Analysis - Assess the effectiveness of your current promotional materials. Are they reaching your intended audience? Do they appeal to the desired demographic? Is the design appealing? Does it convey the correct messaging? Will it motivate people to purchase your products or services? Does it look professional?
4. Prospect Management Systems - Design systems for tracking and managing prospects. Establish criteria for qualifying leads. Develop procedures for handling incoming leads. Define reporting requirements. Set goals and benchmarks. Monitor progress against established metrics.
What are the four prospecting methods?
There are generally four common methods used to connect with prospective clients. Each one requires its unique skill sets to achieve optimal results. Below is brief description of each method:
Cold Calling - Cold calling refers to making unsolicited calls to businesses, agencies, institutions, professionals, individuals, etc., and asking for immediate appointment. Most companies frown upon cold calling because it's considered aggressive and unethical. However, it does serve as an essential tool for generating quality leads. It's especially useful when targeting small businesses without office receptionists. While traditional telemarketing involves large teams with expensive equipment, software, toll charges, travel expenses, etc., internet telephone calling eliminates all the above mentioned complexities. Using Internet Telephone Calling Software, you can automate your prospecting routine by assigning preset scripts to individual contacts. On average, it takes less than half hour to complete a single job once automated. Plus, since you won't incur additional charges, it saves tons of dollars.
Direct Mail - Email Newsletter - Direct mail is an inexpensive form of advertising that targets defined segments. All you need is a postal address. Depending on your industry, size of area, region, customer base, budget, geography, etc., you must choose the ideal medium to deliver your message. Postcard printing is relatively cheap compared to envelopes. Envelope delivery is limited to certain regions. Hence, postcards allow you to advertise across wider geographical boundaries. As opposed to envelope delivery, postcards arrive sooner which increases the chance of being opened. Since postcards tend to stand out in mailbox bins, people are likely to pull them out and check them immediately.
Network Marketing - Personalized Business Cards - Business card printing is a lucrative option for marketers seeking high volume production runs. Not only are printed business cards highly affordable, but they come ready to ship or distribute to local retailers. Printed business cards contain basic personal information about our brand along with a physical link to our websites. Furthermore, they display professionally designed graphics that showcase professionalism and credibility. Printing business cards creates positive impressions among consumers, establishing us as experts in our field. Additionally, we can easily promote ourselves and our brands by distributing them during networking events, speaking engagements, exhibitions, trade shows, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc. At present, almost 100% of the world population owns a cell phone. We can utilize mobile technology to engage with our prospects and turn them into loyal customers.
Prospecting can be very challenging and it's easy to get overwhelmed with all the information out there, especially if you're new at this game. The main thing that will help you stand out from other recruiters is your ability to deliver value before anyone else does.
The best way to do so is by putting together a solid prospecting workflow that includes different types of marketing tactics. It takes time and effort but once you have one, you'll see how valuable they really are. Below we've outlined what exactly such a workflow looks like and why each step matters.
Let's start with some basic questions about setting up a prospecting strategy.
How do you calculate cost of sale (CoS) team?
This may seem obvious, yet many people still struggle with answering this question when asked directly "How many members make CoS?" Most often than not, their answer would be something along the lines of "We hire full-time employees."
However, as mentioned earlier, hiring full-time employees for every single member of CoS is extremely expensive and inefficient. Instead, create separate positions within your company for specific roles - e.g., manager or recruiter/salesperson. This allows you to spend money only where necessary while keeping overhead costs low.
Once you know which position needs to be filled, find someone who has previous experience working in recruiting but doesn't currently work for your client. You need to keep in mind that most companies don't pay salary commensurate with the level of expertise required for certain jobs. For example, a senior software engineer can easily command $120K+ annual base salary compared to entry-level programmers ($65k-$80k).
A lot depends on the market and industry you deal with, so always research potential candidates' salaries beforehand. We recommend using Glassdoor Salary Estimator tool to quickly understand average compensation levels based on role title.
Then simply divide each candidate's annual salary by number of years worked under the same employer plus two years to account for break periods. In our case, let's say Senior Software Engineer makes $150K annually after five years. If he works 10 months per year then his annualized income becomes $12K monthly, which converts into $144 weekly. To split these earnings equally among 2 employees, multiply them by 4 and add 30% for taxes & benefits. That gives us total gross revenue needed to cover CoS expenses including payroll, rent, insurance, etc.
Now you just need to figure out minimum number of leads per month/week that will allow you to stay profitable. There are plenty of tools available online that help with calculating ideal conversion rates for various industries. A general rule of thumb is to convert 1%-3% of prospects into qualified leads depending on industry type.
After doing calculations, you might realize that you won't necessarily be able to generate enough leads to fill the entire position. So now comes the hard part -- figuring out which ones to focus on first.
There are several ways to go about choosing which target markets to pursue. First, consider those with high demand and small talent pool. Second, try to find opportunities in long tail niches that offer better margins. Third, look at growing areas in terms of both size and growth rate. Fourth, choose markets that require less investment upfront since you already have existing infrastructure in place. Lastly, also take external factors into consideration — namely local economy, competitors, and current trends.
For more details on how to pick right targets, read through our article on How to Find Ideal Recruitment Markets.
What is prospect cost?
Next task is to decide whether you want to invest resources exclusively in cold calling campaigns or utilize internet presence (e.g., LinkedIn groups, job boards, social media), email blasts, press releases, referrals, etc. Each approach has its pros and cons, which depend largely on the nature of business and target audience.
In order to determine optimal mix between direct outreach and digital channels, it’s important to know how effectively each method contributes to overall campaign success. While direct outreach offers higher efficiency due to shorter turnaround times, it requires larger investments. On the contrary, leveraging Internet presence enables you to reach broader audiences without spending too much.
When deciding which tactic to use, it’s also worth mentioning that social networks have become increasingly competitive, making competition stiffer than ever. As a result, many employers tend to avoid posting openings publicly. Even though it sounds counterintuitive, this could actually improve chances of finding top talent because it increases visibility and reduces likelihood of being blacklisted. Also, remember that even highly skilled professionals spend hours browsing job websites looking for employment. Hence, giving them free access to relevant posts via job portals and social media helps increase traffic flow.
According to recent studies published by Monster Worldwide, over 85 percent of U.S.-based workers have interacted with a professional networking service during the past 12 months. Another survey conducted by CareerBuilder found that nearly 50 percent of respondents had used Facebook to search for a new job!
So, how do you put together an affordable portfolio? One option is to outsource services to recruitment agencies specializing in particular industries. And yes, there are lots of great ones out there. However, another viable solution is to rely on multiple sources instead of having everything done by one agency. Let's explore reasons behind this decision below.
Recruiting firms typically charge fees ranging anywhere from 15-30%. Some companies advertise “no fee” plans, claiming that it minimizes risk factor associated with investing in outsourcing model. But here's the problem – if any of your clients decides to terminate agreement early, you lose money regardless of whether you were paid hourly or daily rate. Therefore, the safest bet is to stick with traditional pricing scheme.
On the other hand, relying solely on third party providers means sacrificing control and flexibility. At least, you'd have no choice but to agree upon predetermined milestones and deadlines rather than allowing yourself to manage things according to your own schedule. Moreover, you'll end up paying additional charges for administrative tasks, i.e., sending emails, updating databases, managing contracts, etc. All these extra expenses eventually translate into increased budget deficits. Eventually, you'll be forced to either reduce quality of services provided or cut down staff.
Another downside of outsourcing deals is lack of transparency. You never know what kind of data gets collected, stored, shared, and deleted by outside parties involved in process. Plus, recruiting firms usually hide agreements regarding specifics of candidate screening, interview processes, etc.
Finally, if you opt for outsourced solutions, it's recommended to establish clear guidelines on expectations for performance. Otherwise, you run the risk of receiving subpar results.
Besides losing control, opting for hybrid models is also beneficial because you gain exposure to competing teams and ideas. From personal experience, we've learned that it's crucial to learn from others mistakes and successes alike. After all, learning from others' experiences is the fastest path towards achieving desired goals.
It goes without saying that choosing outsourcing provider(s) whose values align with yours is key. Unfortunately, it isn't possible to check credentials of everyone who claims to provide services. Hence, it's advisable to conduct thorough background checks and ask prospective partners to share sample projects prior signing contract. Remember that getting references from previous clients is essential for determining trustworthiness of providers.
Lastly, when selecting recruiting firm, prioritize those offering flexible price schemes. They typically come in three flavors: flat-fee, volume-discounted, and performance-billed. With respect to last category, prices vary depending on outcomes achieved. What counts is actual impact delivered against agreed-upon metrics.
What is a typical cost per lead?
Cost per lead (CPL) refers to amount spent to acquire individual customer. Generally speaking, CPL is determined by dividing total cost incurred due to a given activity by number of resulting customers. Of course, not all activities contribute equal numbers of leads. Consequently, CPL varies significantly from project to project.
Depending on industry, product complexity, geographic locations, etc., it can range anywhere from $8–$20 per lead. According to PayScale study, the median CPL across major sectors was around $17.25 in 2015.
To estimate CPL accurately, identify key drivers responsible for generating leads. Then assign relative weights to corresponding indicators. Next, plug estimated figures into Excel spreadsheet to visualize correlation between variables. By comparing observed vs. expected results, you'll be able to spot discrepancies sooner and fix problems accordingly.
Here are some examples of commonly used formulas:
Formula #1 assumes that all leads generated belong to Sales department. Formula #2 considers all leads converted into orders as Sales Orders. Both versions assume 100% qualification ratio. When estimating return on investment (ROI) for marketing efforts, it's vital to include indirect effects caused by sales pipeline buildup. These effects are represented by Conversion Rate x Leads Generated / Cost Per Lead. For simplicity purposes, let's assume Conversion Rates are identical for direct and indirect methods.
If you're running PPC ads, Google AdWords Search Ads Program provides insight on returns you receive from advertising efforts. Simply visit https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal and enter keywords related to your business. Once you click on Show Estimated Costs button located next to Campaign Settings section, you'll see breakdown of clicks, impressions, CTR, CPC, etc.