Two Simple Rules for Prospecting New Clients

Prospecting New Clients

Did you know that prospecting is a process and, as a business development person, you will need to do it over and over again – approximately 500-1000 times in a year at least!

Prospecting new clients is one of the most daunting tasks a small business owner has to face. There is a backlash against cold-calling with ‘no call’ registers seeking to stop the barrage of unqualified, and quite frankly pushy, sales people. It’s not cold-calling that is the issue, it’s the quality of the calls and the people making them; or lack of quality.

Prospecting New Clients

Yet successful business people make prospecting new clients part of their daily routine. Yes, it’s tough and I think you have to be tough skinned to handle the inevitable rejections. Because most people who make cold calls are not prospecting new clients but imposing themselves on whoever is on the other end of the phone.

Many sales people making cold-calls are only interested in selling something, they have no regard for YOUR wants and needs, or even if their product or service is suitable for you.

“People don’t like to be sold to, they like to buy”


Prospecting New Clients

Sue Barrett is the Founder and Managing Director of BARRETT. She has helped redefine the concept of professional selling and what makes a great sales person.

She says, “If you have an idea, capability, product, service or opportunity that can benefit another and make their life better in some way then you need to sell”

Here, Sue shares two simple prospecting tips to help you succeed where many others have failed.

Prospecting Rule # 1

To have someone be interested in you, be interested in THEM first.

When any salespeople call you, you want them to show respect for you and your time commitments, right? Show the same respect. Briefly state who you are and ask them if now, or later, is a convenient time to talk.

Quickly, and respectfully, state why you made the effort to call them (all stated from their perspective and for their benefit, of course). They might give you a minute to see if your call is worth their engagement and discussion.

From their perspective, there must be a valid reason for them to want to speak to you; usually something that will make their lives better in some way. Sure, you want to work with them because they may fit your target market or may be a great client to get on board for revenue, reputation, etc, but these are all YOUR reasons and are all directed at how YOU will benefit.

Instead, think about why a customer or prospect would want to speak to you. Do some research into their business and think about why they would want to take the time to connect with you. In other words, put yourself in their shoes first.

You could be their saviour, but if they don’t know they need saving and you don’t position yourself to find out, then you’re in trouble.

From the first phone call, to the ‘thank you’ after your first meeting and subsequent meetings, each contact must add value to the client. Each contact must have a valid reason behind it.

The phone call is typically the first point of contact with a potential client. In preparation for that prospecting call you need to have two things ready:

A call objective – Your call objective is your reason for wanting to make contact.

  1. Ask yourself why you want to connect with this person/division/company?
  2. What do you hope to gain or achieve by making this contact?
  3. Have you heard (or researched) something about their business for which you can provide a solution?
  4. Are you seeking to be put in contact with a key decision maker?

A valid business reason – A VBR must be meaningful and relevant to the prospect.

  1. It should be a reason why the prospect should want to speak to you further.
  2. It must be of value and importance to the prospect and answer the ‘what’s in it for me’ from their perspective.
  3. VBRs are not usually static, they tend to be dynamic and current.
  4. Update your approach depending on the current business climate, market trends, etc.
  5. VBRs require sales people to get their heads out of their products and look at the markets and the broader world in which they operate. There is not shortage of VBRs out there.

Here are a few different categories that may help you generate VBRs:

– Competitor Reality
– Timing and Seasonal Fit
– Category Success
– New Location/Expansion
– Broaden their Market Focus
– Referral – Personal Intro
– Site Visitor Fit
– Events/Opportunities
– New Concept/Idea

Listen to any one of those annoying prospecting calls people complain about; they do not use VBRs.

Prospecting New Clients

Prospecting Rule # 2

To generate effective VBRs, get your head out of your products and into the minds of your prospects and customers.

Look at your customer or prospect’s business and see what’s on their mind or what’s happening in their market; you will have no shortage of VBRs.

Role playing VBRs with your team (or friends if you are a sole operator) is a great way to develop the ideas and skill of applying them effectively. This will have a dramatic impact on increasing your phone prospecting success.

An example of a powerful prospecting call that incorporates a VBR statement is as follows:

You: “Hello XXX, this is ABC calling from company XYZ, do you have a moment to speak?…”

If they say ‘yes’, proceed:

You: “Thank you for taking my call. We specialise in helping businesses like yours find ways to increase their annual business profits upwards of 20% with our inventory management systems. Given the rapid changes in business management and procurement I wanted to know if this was a priority for you at present. If so, I would like to arrange a time to meet with you and understand more about your business and to see if we can be of any service.”

If they say ‘no’, then say this:

You: “I understand you are busy at present. The purpose of my call is to let you know that we specialise in helping businesses like yours find ways to increase their annual business profits upwards of 20% with our inventory management systems. Given the rapid changes in business management and procurement I was wanting to know if this was a priority for you at present and, if so, when would be a good time to call you back to arrange a meeting. I’m interested to understand more about your business and to see if we can be of any service.”

Remember to position yourself favourably.

Before you can engage in any conversation with your customer or prospect, you have to give them a reason to want to talk you.

Prospecting New Clients

Do you have any tips for successfully prospecting new clients? Please share with other readers by making a comment here.

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  1. […] reactions to live media. Don’t forget that you can also promote your business by replying to clients through social media. Respond to a Tweet or ‘like’ a Facebook post and you will […]


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