Our free, weekly sales inspriration call today was very interactive and covered 21 minutes about prospecting. In real estate, they say that it is all about "location, location, location" and in deveoping new prospects it is all about "referrals, referrals, referrals." Better and more referrals is the first way to improve prospecting.
If you are not well connected with your market you need to find ways to get to the decision makers in your market through either cold contacts or warm contacts. Finding warm ways is the second way to improving prospecting - following up with people you have met or worked on committees with - or met through a customer or through an on-line networking site. Become a hub; rather than attending other networking functions decide on who you want to be around to leverage business and have fun. Create an event or group that does what you want but also helps others - this is how you can become the hub of a small or even very large business group. This can be done virtually or in-person.
The third way is to speak or write. If you are a confident speaker, find ways to share your expertise (not selling, but expertise) at business functions and events. If you'd rather stay in your office or store and can write - then you can push your expertise out to the world and gain warm contacts that way. Once you start re-purposing your content, you have products to sell in addition to taking good presentation material and turning it into web-based materials.
Cold calling is always a way in the door - it is more random and takes more effort but definately works in nearly every market and industry I know of. I recommend other ways first - but don't hestiate to try a cold call for information or ideas within a target company. Be professional and value others' time. If you are genuine and know the value you bring to the target company - assuming it is valuable for at least a conversation - then go for it.
Think of other ways, and post in our comments area. Let's accumulate at least ten more ideas.
Join us next Monday, or any Monday, on the sales inspiration call.