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Why Prospecting Is The Crucial Sales Tactic That You Might Not Be Doing Enough Of When it comes to sales, concentrating on closing a deal with a current client is not enough.

By Jezreel Bokingo

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When it comes to sales, concentrating on closing a deal with a current client is not enough. You have to think long-term to be successful in this competitive industry, and being able to tap into a steady stream of customers interested in your services is the best way to keep your numbers up. The secret lies in properly identifying potential clients, an essential process known as prospecting. Skipping it would be akin to looking for an object in a pitch-black room, and prospecting half-heartedly wouldn't be any better. But do it right, and you might just be rewarded with consistent sales.

It takes a lot of time and effort to create a pipeline with enough good prospects to see you through quarter after quarter. You have to capture your prospects' attention, keep them interested, and make them want what you're offering. To accomplish that, you have to nurture your relationship with your prospects, and this requires a massive amount of patience. Sadly, a lot of sellers don't prospect enough, or don't do it properly. Either they don't understand how to do it, or they just don't view it as an important step. This is understandable: prospecting involves communicating to strangers, and it comes with a high possibility of getting rejected. But just because it's not enjoyable doesn't mean you should stop giving it your best.

Here's what you can do to make prospecting easier:

1. Know your target market

Once you have your list of prospects, zoom in on the people or companies whom you think can benefit most from your services. Study your past sales to create a profile of your ideal customer and check your database for people who fit your template. This way, the time and effort you spend prospecting is maximized.

2. Prospect regularly

Let's be realistic: your chances of getting a customer immediately after just a single cold call are just a bit higher than your chances of winning the lottery. You can, however, drastically improve your chances by offering your services to more people, and the easiest way to do that is to dedicate regular hours each day solely for finding new prospects and for following up on existing leads. It's not the most fun activity, but it's necessary if you want a steady stream of customers coming in.

3. Fine-tune your sales pitch

Don't just talk about what you do and how awesome your services are. Know your prospects' specific needs, and communicate how you can cater to these. Being able to offer tangible benefits to your customers show that you genuinely value your clients and don't just see them as cash cows.

4. Switch up your tactics

Think out of the box and don't just rely on usual methods like emailing and networking. Take your game to business development agencies: they are experts in their field and they save you time, money and energy, providing you fertile grounds for expanding your reach. There are so many ways you can make people aware about what you're offering, at reasonable cost- you just have to use them to your advantage.

5. Utilize your existing customers

Take care of your customers: remember their birthdays, send them invites to exclusive events, and get feedback from them. Word of mouth will always be one of the best forms of advertising, and happy customers telling other people how pleased they are with your services is an effective method of increasing awareness of your brand. Also, once you've closed a sale, don't hesitate to ask your client if they know anyone else who might need your services. Who knows, your next client might just be closer than you think!

Related: Sales Excellence In Five Steps

Jezreel Bokingo

Founder and Managing Director, The Wingman

Jezreel Bokingo is the founder and Managing Director of The Wingman, a business development agency. A business opportunity creator, strategist and a creative, he is passionate in business development, relationship management, demand generation, sales strategy and event management that help global entrepreneurs win new business and expand in the Middle East, North Africa and South Asia. He has worked with blue chip clients that include Emirates, Jumeirah International Group, Majid Al Futaim, Nasdaq Dubai, AXA Insurance and Chalhoub Group, just to name a few.
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