Many of the top salespeople that we have interviewed regarding sales prospecting techniques divide prospecting into three distinct tasks:

1) Developing your prospecting list

2) Researching your prospects

3) Contacting your prospects

The first step in prospecting is developing a prospect list. Most ineffective salespeople skip this and other crucial sales prospecting techniques that end up wasting them time and energy.

As we discuss in the Time Management section, developing your prospecting list is a non-revenue-generating activity, and so it should be done on off-hours as much as possible so that you can maximize your 9 to 5 time on the phone or in front of prospects.

Where do you start looking for prospects?

Sales Prospecting Techniques Close to Home: Friends and Family

Use the inside-out process – start with your inner circle of friends and family members. They might not be prospects themselves but could refer you to others who might be prospects – or who might refer you on to others that get you closer to your ultimate pool of prospects.

Let everyone you know what you are selling. Your friends and family more than anyone else should be open to hearing your sales pitch and helping you to get started.

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Business Associates

Secondly, try those with whom you do business. Talk to your doctor, dentist, barber, your kids’ teachers. In effect, you are giving them business – putting money in their pockets – so ask them to help you as well.

Next, you should contact members of trade or professional associations that you belong to. (Definitely make it a point to join some associations, not only for networking but to keep up with the trends in your industry.)

Current Customers

Check out your company’s current customer list. Many times, salespeople leave money on the table by not tapping their current clients for referrals in other divisions of their customers’ companies – or in other organizations. Maybe you have a new or updated version of your product that you can upsell your current customers on.

The Internet

The Internet is one of the most incredible prospecting tools ever created. It is amazing how many potential new prospects you can find by using the Internet wisely as a sales prospecting technique.

Also, once you have your list of prospects, you can use the Internet to do more in-depth research on the company to find out about decision-makers, current strategies and thus potential needs of these prospective customers.

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