Sales: Suspects or Prospects?

One of the most challenging tasks for new entrepreneurs is direct sales.  Since most new ventures are service based, the first point of contact is commonly a direct sales approach via:

  • direct mail
  • email
  • phone or
  • cold calling.

When developing your marketing strategy, as an entrepreneur you need to compile information about who your target market is.  This target market is a group of individuals or businesses you suspect will most likely be interested in your specific product or service.

When making that first contact with your suspect list, you can glean additional information to determine whether they really are in your target market. Those who show interest in your product or service by returning phone calls, emails, become prospects, and go into your prospect listThis is valuable information, as you can then analyze both groups.

You now know who is really interested in doing business with you, versus those who are not.

The challenge then becomes how to close the deal with your prospects.

Take a closer look at your suspect and prospect lists. You may find additional information about each group.  There may be common characteristics in your suspect list that show why they are not interested.  Maybe you missed something in your initial target market identification, and need to refine your approach or define another market.

If you analyze your prospect list, you may find commonalities. If you can define what specifically they seek, you may be able to use this information to help close the deal.

The response or lack of, from suspects and prospects, can be analyzed. This information then becomes valuable primary market research in real time that you can leverage by focusing directly on what your target market really wants.

If you know who they are and what they want or need, you can be very effective in your approach.  Occasionally, you may even identify a new or secondary market you didn’t know existed.

In summary, if you are starting a new venture and are using the direct sales approach, draw on the information from both suspects and prospects to analyze your market and approach.  By really understanding what they want or need, you can be much more effective in meeting those needs and closing the deal.

Need more information? Contact our Small Business Centre, take a look at our online resources or consider signing up for one of our upcoming Steps to Success seminars.  For more tips, follow us on Twitter @HaltonEcDev.

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