The other day I was talking with a client about prospecting and target markets. He mentioned that one of his targets is random – it’s not so easy to prospect to. Now there are things he can do to gain visibility and he does those things. However, this particular target market is difficult to prospect directly.
It got me thinking about prospecting. In many industries there are targets we sell to that are difficult to prospect. The need is not planned. People deal with it when it comes up. There are ways we can be sure we are marketing to this group so they gain awareness of us. But, to actually prospect to them? Not so easy or sensible.
What to do? Monitor the things you can’t prospect and control the things you can. Let’s take a look.
First of all you should identify all of your target markets. Then determine how to market to each of them. Some, of course, will have the same marketing plan. While you are examining this aspect of your sales and marketing plan, identify if any of your targets are difficult to prospect. This means they are not necessarily people or organizations that you can get a meeting with ahead of their need. An example of this is if you are a banquet center and do a lot of memorial services. It’s not exactly something you can prospect. You don’t traditionally pitch the event to people, in the event someone close to them passes away. You can, however, market to them through strategic partnerships with funeral homes, florists, and the like.
Past your strategic relationships the most you can do in a situation like this is monitor the effectiveness of those relationships and the pieces of business you are realizing from this target market. Prospecting doesn’t fit.
We always feel better about the things we can control, the things that aren’t random. So this is where your energy is best spent. We’ve gone through the target market exercise. Now you have clarity about WHO your prospective clients are. You’ve ruled out the random ones who you can’t really market to.
It’s time to create a plan to prospect to the others. Determine the best way to prospect to these markets. Now I believe you should pick one target market to concentrate on. We have greater control when we can focus. When you pick the first target market you want to prospect, it will become clear HOW to prospect directly to them. You want to get your message in front of them and gain a meeting.
Set up the steps you will take, implement the plan and then monitor it for results. You see, monitoring comes into play a lot in business. In this situation monitoring helps you maintain control! You can identify what is working and what isn’t working. If a process is working, keep it; if it isn’t, change it or trash it. You don’t have to be victim to random. You CAN control how effective you are at reaching your goals when you continue to monitor your process.
Some people just go along with a flow and don’t take the time to nail down a prospecting process. They really are victim to the random – IF someone connects them; IF someone reaches out to them. I don’t know about you but that would make me really nervous. You can’t count on other people’s decisions. You have to take action. THIS is how you maintain control over your success.
So, take a look at your prospecting and marketing. Do you have a process set down in writing that you are following? If yes, are you also monitoring it’s effectiveness? For those things that you can’t control, are you doing the things that you can do to influence them? Do what you can, accept what you can’t control, and monitor everything. Your odds of succeeding will multiply.
Diane Helbig is a Professional Coach, and the president of Seize This Day Coaching. She works one-o