Does Prospecting Suck?

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Over the past week or so, I’ve had more than a few people tell me that, although prospecting can get good results, it can also be uncomfortable, embarrassing, and undignified to say the least.

As one Marketing Memo reader put it, “Let’s face it. Prospecting basically sucks. But if you have to do it, you have to do it. Right?”

Well, if you have that attitude, prospecting will suck. And no matter how much you may need to reach out to new prospects, you probably won’t make very many of those calls or send those emails.

But if you change your thinking around a bit, and look at prospecting in a different way, you’ll find that it really can be simple and easy.

First, you need to revise your definition of what prospecting is really all about.

It’s not about calling or emailing strangers and pitching your services. Try doing that for more than a few days and you’ll either grow skin as thick as a walrus’, or you’ll never prospect again!

Prospecting is simply the process of introducing yourself to people who have a likelihood of being interested in your services.

Think about it. If they have a likelihood of being interested in what you do – either now or sometime in the future – wouldn’t they want to hear from you? There’s at least a reasonable chance that they would.

That’s why being picky about who you call or email is so important. You want to focus on what I call high-probability prospects – those who are most likely to be receptive to hearing from you.

Second, you need to use techniques that make prospecting easy and painless for you to do, and yet get really good results.

Over the years, I’ve developed a repertoire of techniques that I use for connecting with new prospects by phone or email… and doing so in a way that’s easy, dignified, and even fun. (And I’m an introvert!)

(By the way, I’ve shared some of those techniques in my last two newsletters.)

Finally, you need to focus on making/sending quality calls and emails, not quantity.

In fact, I recommend that you schedule only a few prospecting calls or emails per day – maybe just five or six – but make them good ones. Think about each prospect you want to reach. Review their website. Think about how to make your call or email relevant and important to them. (What sales guru and author Jill Konrath calls, “a message that can’t be ignored.”)

Hey, listen. I’m not trying to “sell” you on prospecting. If you’re getting your business through inbound leads, referrals, word-of-mouth and other means, then you don’t need to prospect.

But if you need to drum up some new business quickly, break into a new market niche where you’re not well known, or launch a new professional service business of some kind, then don’t let the discomfort and fear of prospecting stop you from making some calls or sending some emails.

Prospecting can be a simple and easy process, if you go about it the right way. And it’s amazing how enjoyable that process can be when you’re seeing results and landing new clients!

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