Why is it so hard to find the right prospective clients?
Well, it really depends on how you look at it.
If you think, “The only people worth meeting with are perfect prospects who can spend $X with me on this kind of project, and it’s a waste of time meeting with anyone else,” then you are missing something.
The chances are good you don’t know a perfect prospect like that.
Remember that the word prospect comes mining. And prospecting means, “Searching for mineral deposits in a place, especially by means of experimental drilling and excavation.”
It doesn’t mean, “Going to a place you want to find mineral deposits, drilling and excavating and finding what you want the first time you try.”
If only. No, prospecting is a trial-and-error process, but it’s based on knowing certain things.
Certain rocks, terrain, and geography are indicators of various mineral deposits. These areas give you a better chance of finding what you’re looking for.
Prospecting for clients means going where your prospective clients hang out and connecting with those who may know these kinds of prospects.
If only there was a “rich-business-owners-who-need-exactly-your-kind-of-service-club.”
Well, not exactly, but when I got serious about prospecting, I joined various business associations, chambers of commerce, and networking groups.
And I spoke at groups that were comprised of business owners who were interested in growing their businesses.
I didn’t hang out in bars or stamp collecting clubs!
But even when people join organizations that have members who could either be potential clients or lead them to potential clients, they think their prospecting is done.
But it hasn’t even started.
No, the core activity of prospecting isn’t just hanging out where your prospects are.
You have to do some digging and excavating.
In business prospecting that means one thing and one thing only: Meeting with people and discovering if they have “any new client potential.”
Speak to enough people and you’ll find them in copious quantities.
Look, networking and meeting with people during the pandemic has been challenging.
But now, things have opened up almost everywhere. More organizational meetings, conferences, and workshops are being scheduled every day.
If you’re vaccinated, it’s time to get out there and meet with people.
Look, I run a virtual business. I rarely step outside of my home office these days. But I have a big, responsive e-list that took me years to build.
If you don’t have that yet, I believe you need to prioritize meeting with as many people as you can, by Zoom or in-person.
Here are nine categories of business people who could be good prospective clients for you:
Past Clients: Anyone you worked with in the past where you produced a good result and you liked working with them.
Your Business Network: All those you know through your business network. People of quality and Integrity – and with connections.
Your Email List: Anyone on your list (even if it’s small) you think could be a good client or who could refer you to good clients.
Referrals: Someone who was referred to you by a current or past client or someone in your network.
Referral Sources: Those who are interested in you and your services because you are a valuable resource to their current clients.
Professional Organizations: Members of organizations that you have some affiliation with – even if you don’t yet know them personally.
University Alumni: Those who were either in your class or went to the same university. College ties are stronger than we realize.
LinkedIn: Existing L.I. Connections are like others in your network, plus, you can use L.I to research those in other categories.
Attendees from Talks or Webinars: These are the people who are already showing interest in your ideas, services, and programs.
Most of my current clients come from my email list and those who attend my webinars. But in the past, I’ve mined the other categories very successfully to win new clients.
As in mining, however, you can’t dig everywhere. I’d suggest picking two of the likeliest prospect categories and then start reaching out (usually with simple emails), getting meetings, and sharing about the value you offer.
Sooner or later you’ll hit that vein of gold!