Prospecting. That part of the sales job that so many sales people despise. Because contrary to what many purveyors of online courses will tell you, it’s hard work.
What IS Prospecting?
Hubspot defines prospecting like this: “Prospecting is the process of searching for potential customers, clients, or buyers in order to develop new business.”
But what if your organizational culture turns all employees into prospectors? What if all of your non-sales staff were also trained to prospect?
Big Business Acting Small
I’m not saying that all your non-sales staff should stop doing what they are tasked with doing, nor that they should step on the toes of your sales team. Simply that they should be aware of how and where they too, can prospect.
It’s what micro businesses already do. Everyone involved is on the lookout for ways to connect their product or service with people who might need it. Now, I’m not talking about the multi-level marketing strategy of hitting up all your friends and family to purchase from you. Remember, selling is really about helping people solve a problem. What I mean is being a proud part of a company they can stand behind. And being able to talk about what their company does with people who might potentially need the product or service.
Giving your non-sales staff a clear description of your ideal customer is a good place to start. Providing them with a few compelling questions to ask in a conversation is how you can get that ball rolling. You want all your employees to act like you do – able to see, and act upon, opportunities that arise spontaneously.
Prospecting Through Service
But your non-sales staff will have more success in another prospecting arena than random encounters with new people. If we define prospecting as identifying new opportunities rather than just new clients, your non-sales team tasked with delivering outstanding customer service will be able to find plenty more business from your existing clients. But are they looking for it? My friend, and follow up expert, Lisa Shaughnessy, would call this following up. Which is a type of prospecting too.
Just stop for a moment and think about how much additional business could be generated from your existing client base if your entire team was focused on seeking out additional ways your company could be of service to your clients. If you have someone making ‘customer service’ follow up calls after a transaction has occurred. If your technicians are trained to look for additional opportunities while they are providing the initial service. This is the proverbial low hanging fruit; clients that have already purchased from you (they know, like and trust you) and who will appreciate that your company is able to help them even further.
But this only works if there is a genuine need for additional service. We’re not talking about the plumber who comes to the home to repair a dripping tap and tells the homeowner that all the pipes need replacing. Remember that trust part? It’s critical.
A Prospecting Culture
What I’m talking about is an organizational culture that supports prospecting by all employees. Prospecting being a way to generate new business, not just new clients. When an organization gets to the not very big size of needing to separate job functions, often this idea is discarded along the way. But it doesn’t need to be. Larger organizations who can behave like smaller organizations will be far more successful.
Because it’s really all about providing the best possible solution to the problem that your customer is having. That’s when everyone wins.