Seven-Point Prospecting

By Selling Power Editors

For more consistent prospecting success, search according to a system. Make these tips part of your prospecting plan and expand your sales possibilities.

1. Choose three sources of quality leads. Your leads may come from two different sources: people (current customers, prospects, community or service organizations, etc.) or data (advertising responses, industry trade directories or the Internet).

2. Research first. Before you call prospects, make sure you know what you’re talking about by studying up on their industry, financial situation, market conditions, problems, etc.

3. Know titles of top contacts. Know who has influence and who makes the buying decisions, whether it’s the president, CEO, COO, general manager or someone else.

4. Perfect your contact methods. Third party introductions are ideal ways to meet new prospects, but if you make your message memorable and unique, a phone call, email message or fax may be equally effective.

5. Get past gatekeepers. Treat gatekeepers with respect and courtesy. Make your call important, call early or late in the day to avoid the gatekeeper entirely and don’t be shy about politely asking questions that can help you learn more about your buyer.

6. Pick your three best benefit statements. Your initial approach has just one critical objective: to create interest so your prospect will invest time with you. Use benefit statements with the words increase, improve, gain, grow, maximize, enhance or manage.

7. Use an effective follow-up system. Schedule follow-up visits and phone calls and have objectives for each follow-up contact.

Adapted from The Agile Manager’s Guide to Customer-Focused Selling by Len D’Innocenzo and Jack Cullen, founding partners of D’Innocenzo-Cullen Associates, specializing in “clientized” sales, services, leadership and management-training workshops. For more information, call 978/474-8657 or visit