10 Ways To Get In Front of Your Top Prospects
It’s harder than ever today to get the attention of your prospects. Between multi-tasking, meetings, juggling business priorities, responding to messages, managing digital distraction, and trying to achieve work-life balance, your prospects, like everyone else, are in a time deficit.
Looking at the competitive landscape for your prospects’ attention: On average, we’re exposed to 10,000 ad messages a day. We spend about 147 minutes on social media every day. The average person receives as many as 120 emails per day — that’s about 1 every 13 minutes (if we take 8 hours of sleep time out of the calculation). And your prospects are sitting in meetings for the good part of their days. While upper management spends about 50% of their time in meetings, the average CEO spends a whopping 72% of their time in meetings.
Despite the fact that a shortened attention span is the new normal, and there’s more and more competition for that precious attention, all hope is not lost to reach your prospects! There’s still a window of opportunity to break through the clutter and catch their attention. Start with our list of the top 10 ways to reach your time-starved prospects.
TOP 10 WAYS TO REACH YOUR TIME-STARVED PROSPECTS
Getting through to your prospects is all about making yourself memorable — so you’re top of mind when they need you. That intersection of need and awareness is where you win.
Here’s how to do it:
1. Ask for Referrals
An often-overlooked prospecting tool, referrals are one of the fastest paths to fostering new client relationships. Seek referrals from contacts who already know you — the people who are already your fans. Start by asking your customers who would benefit from what has already made them happy and satisfied. By nature of a personal recommendation, a referral builds a bridge of trust between you and your new prospect — which is a strong open door that helps you prevail over the competitive clutter. You can also consider friends and service providers as referral sources. Generally speaking, people will want to help you when you ask, so be as specific as possible with what you’re looking for. Then don’t forget to thank them.
2. Make Cold Calls
Don’t dismiss cold calling as an effective way to reach your prospects. Cold calling has earned a bad reputation because, honestly, many people do it poorly. When done well, cold calling works! Cold e-mails and cold phone calls are particularly well-suited for new products and new markets, where you’re looking to break through. The secret sauce for a successful cold call is adding a personal touch and having a plan. Develop a strategic, systematic approach by sending a well-thought-out package (do your research!) and following up in a timely fashion. Cold calls aren’t about making an on-the-spot hard sell. Be focused and brief to pique your prospect’s interest in taking the next step — to set up a meeting.
3. Establish Peer Roundtables
Establish and moderate an invitation-only group for a regular meeting of the minds that adds value in a key area. Meet virtually or in person, monthly or quarterly, whatever best serves the mission of the group — which you determine. Include a diverse mix of current clients, prospects, referral partners, and high-level leaders, all with an individual perspective, experience, or point of view to share that benefits the whole. You’ll strengthen relationships while exploring challenges and solutions on relevant topics from timely industry issues to leadership strategies and more. What about that time deficit and competing priorities? If the group delivers on its value proposition, your attendees will make the time for it.
4. Create In-Person Events
What do your clients and prospects need? Deliver it by creating in-person events. The real focus — and the real value — is the content. Center your event on a hot topic, top-tier speaker, book release, new product launch, or an industry innovation. For format, consider a lunch-and-learn style meeting, an evening event, half- or full-day workshops, or a multi-day retreat. Hold the event just once or on a regular basis, depending on the format and content. Be sure to create an experience that wows. After all, your attendees will be learning as much about your brand as they will about the content. You’ll have the opportunity to create touchpoints with prospects before, during, and after the event. With a valuable hook and the promise of content worth their time, your clients and prospects will make room for the event on their calendars.
5. Get Involved
This tactic uniquely puts the burden of time on you, not your prospect. Join civic or business organizations that expand your network to industry prospects and others who can be valuable referral sources. It’s critical to take an active role in the group. The greater your involvement, the better your visibility and the awareness of who you are and what you do. Be accountable and reliable in service to the group, just as you are in service to your customers. Don’t forget to consider cause-based groups, like non-profit boards, that can also help you build relationships. A note of caution: Don’t choose so many groups that you overextend yourself — think quality over quantity.
6. Leverage Email Marketing
Jump directly into your prospects’ “in” box. There are four distinct benefits to email marketing: it’s cost-effective, creates ongoing interactions, is customizable via segmentation, and it’s trackable, so you can see who’s receiving, opening, and engaging with what you send. Successful email marketing strategies include writing a compelling subject line, setting up a delivery cadence that works for you and your audience, creating relevant content and/or messages, and establishing a clear call to action. Consider creating an e-newsletter, for your company or just for yourself. E-newsletters are an effective way to stay connected to your network, and they have the benefit of an opt-in feature — meaning you have a direct invitation to their “in” box. What about your time-starved prospect? Make the content worth their time and you’ll get the opens.
7. Build Channel and Referral Partners
Who knows the kinds of people you’d like to meet? And how can you help those people meet their own goals? The best kinds of strategic partner relationships are based on reciprocity — they scratch your back, and you scratch theirs, so to speak. Choose the referral partners you align with carefully, as their reputation is a reflection on you, and vice versa. The strength of your partners’ own relationships will open doors for you, considering the value of their personal recommendation and introduction. For convenience, you can even craft an email they can forward on your behalf. To make sure you’re delivering for your partners, consider strategic target swap sessions that will be a win-win for you both.
8. Get Visible
Increase your profile by attending events and, when you can, speaking at them. Strategically choose events that will draw target prospects and potential referral partners. As a speaker, you’ll have even more visibility — and credibility — than as an attendee. Make the most of your time by connecting with your targets at the event, leveraging breaks and cocktail hours for handshakes and conversations. Know who will be there and who you’d like to meet, as well as what you have to offer by preparing questions or focused talking points in advance. If possible, reach out to targets before the event to suggest opportunities to get together while you’re both there, and if you’re speaking, personally invite them to your session. As always, your follow-up strategy will be key to building and maintaining the relationship.
9. Be Social
Be social — on social media! Begin with the end in mind: What are your goals? Then consider how can you be helpful and relevant to your prospects. Choose your channel, develop a content plan and calendar to guide you, and get started. Random posts don’t work, they’ll just waste your time. Be focused and strategic. If you can, enroll a support team to help you achieve your objectives, and seek input from an internal social media professional or external consultant. Boost your reach and visibility by engaging with your prospects’ posts too, by liking, commenting, or sharing. Bonus points: Leverage social posts to promote #8, the events you’re attending and what you’ll be speaking about.
10. Host Webinars
When there’s a hot topic of interest to your prospects, like new government legislation, create a webinar to share information, tips, and resources. Or if there’s a specific area your prospects need help with, develop a how-to webinar that gives them a roadmap to follow. The webinar format allows you to speak at scale, while still personally interacting with your audience via Q&A. And there’s plenty of connecting to be done before and after as well. Like events, webinars can be one-and-done or a series. Webinars need only be as long as is required to deliver the content effectively, and shouldn’t be longer than your audience can tolerate. Enroll experts to help you develop and even present the content, and make sure you have a qualified event team to handle the tech so it all goes smoothly for your attendees. If the tech doesn’t work, your audience will feel you’ve wasted their valuable time, and that’s never a good look for you and your company.
Of these top 10 ways to reach your time-starved prospects, some will require more of your time than others — but all require a focused, strategic plan to be successful. With the right approach and a little patience, you’ll see a return on that investment of your own valuable time and focus. Which prospecting method will you put in motion today?
If you’d like to meet more qualified prospects, let’s talk! Reach out to John Atkinson, Sales Transformation Practice Leader, to discuss how to put these 10 methods to work for you.
About the Author
John Atkinson is a Managing Director at Fahrenheit Advisors and leads the Sales Transformation practice. He is a sought-after sales leader with nearly three decades of experience leading, growing, and managing sales teams, and driving profitable revenue for companies of all sizes. He is passionate and obsessive about helping clients solve their most vexing sales challenges and achieve their loftiest revenue goals.
John’s career has included all aspects of sales growth for start-ups (including the successful launch and exit of two companies), large publicly traded companies, and most recently, for 11 years at a top CPA and advisory firm. In all these environments John has managed and coached sales and client service professionals in sales strategy, new business prospecting, cross-selling, account management, and sales channel development.