Sometimes you have to prospect. While it's true that networking, referrals, and other relationship-oriented marketing strategies are superior ways to build a professional services business in the long run, the problem can lie in that word "long." It takes time to build a network and generate referrals. If you're new in business or your pipeline has dried up, you may not feel as if you can wait for those budding relationships to mature.
The dictionary defines the verb prospect as "to search or explore (a region), as for gold." When you prospect for clients, you explore your region—your town or your market niche—to locate the gold that may be buried right under your nose. It's a good bet that there are prospective clients all around you. You just need to identify them and get in touch with them.
Launching a prospecting campaign can produce several useful results beyond the obvious one generating new clients. Prospecting will get you into action immediately. If you're writing letters and making calls, you will feel proactive and productive instead of disheartened and stuck. The information you discover and contacts you make will suggest many new possibilities for marketing your services. And you'll gain valuable experience in what works and what doesn't when pitching your business.
How can you get started building your prospect list and jump-start your marketing? Here are 25 ideas.
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