Prospecting – The Search for Customers

Business prospecting, the search for potential customers (also referred to as suspects) is well known in many sales-driven industries. Entrepreneurs and small business owners, sales-driven or not, can benefit greatly by prospecting for potential customers.

Prospects by any name are simply leads–customer leads. Many marketing activities can generate leads, yet all leads are not equal. Before you start prospecting it’s vital to know who you are searching for.

Who is your customer? Create a customer profile for your ideal and borderline customers. This profile is based on who purchases similar products or services. When they purchase: seasonally or on a regular basis. Why they purchase. Does the product or service fill an emotional or physical need or want? Where and how do they make purchases; in person, mail order or online? Identifying other demographic information is helpful such as gender, age group and median range. Knowing who to prospect is key.

One of the most common methods of prospecting is to purchase leads, or lists. Entrepreneurs, home-based and small business owners should not overlook this proven method. Lists are plentiful and available locally as well as on the internet from list providers, mail houses, printers and even trade journals. You can develop your own list as well. Newspapers, magazines, phone books, trade directories and your neighborhood are full of leads.

Many businesses share the same potential customer and will use nearly identical forms of lead generation. However, some businesses may be more specialized or competitive and require creative approaches.

Do-It-Yourself Prospecting

Obtain and develop your own list of potential customers by giving away free information, a consultation or a gift. Announce your free offer through:

  • Advertising (print and online)
  • Direct mail
  • Word of Mouth / One-on-One contact
  • Telemarketing
  • Cold calling
  • Your Web site
  • Trade Shows

© 2006 Gabrielle Melisende. All rights reserved worldwide. Reprint rights: You may reprint this article as long as you leave all of the links active, do not edit the article in any way, give author credit and follow all of the publishing guidelines for EzineArticles.

The Secret To Having Prospects Call You And Ask If They Can Sign Up In Your Business

I still remember the first time I had a prospect call me up one day and ask to join me in my network marketing business. You see, this particular prospect had already researched me and who I was before he called. He read a number of my articles and he watched my videos. Do you know what was happening between my prospect and I during this time Friend? It is called RELATIONSHIP building.

The POWER that the Internet offers today is unbelievable. Through my video’s and other marketing strategies my prospect was able to get to know me and trust me on a personal level. The best part was it was on Auto-Pilot. I did NOT have to go door to door like I used to when I was trying to build my network marketing business and seek out interested prospects. Not only did this take a tremendous amount of time but I might (if I was lucky) find one or two interested people who would take the time and hear what I had to say in any given day. How was I expected or anybody in my downline expected to build a business this slowly? The TRUTH: It did NOT happen to me and it did NOT happen to my team.

This is the #1 reason WHY people eventually quit in their network marketing business. That reason being a lack of interested and qualified people to talk too. It’s funny, I was taught back then to just pass out a DVD or CD to a prospect and then ‘shut up.’ I was told to let the ‘tool’ do the work or let my upline answer questions and build rapport.

Doing this was SUPPOSED to be duplicatable. The truth was it took the ME out of the equation and made me look like a random SOLICITOR and not a PROFESSIONAL ENTREPRENEUR who had true VALUE to offer people. The interesting thing was that while observing all of the LEADERS in my company and their teams I found that their downlines looked up to them and valued them. Also, it was easier for them to RECRUIT others because they were seen as more valuable in the eyes of their prospects than me. This VALUE allowed the top leaders in my company to recruit bigger fish.

After taking my business online a few years ago I had to really get rid of a lot of the training my company and leaders taught me. The secret behind HOW these successful ‘Guru’s’ or top money earners were recruiting so fast was that they developed their BRAND and they knew HOW to MARKET it.

Today’s message is very POWERFUL Friend, because if you really ‘GET’ how powerful BRANDING is to your business then you will be light-years away from other distributors and earn more money faster.

I hope that after reading today’s lesson Friend you will see WHY building your brand is vital to your business. Think about this for a second, HOW much are YOU worth to the MARKETPLACE?

Really think about this for a minute and decide on your worth. It is the first step to developing your brand. Everyone comes to the table with a certain level of VALUE. Brian Tracy in his book,‘The Psychology of Selling’ makes a great statement. ‘NO One is SMARTER than you and No One is BETTER than you.’

The truth is we all start at the beginning. Leaders are NOT born they are made and you are what you think about most of the time. If this is true and ‘it’ is, then we need to be pumping our brain everyday with PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT training. We need to work harder on ourselves until we instill the skillsets and the self-confidence and determination that will take us to the top.

None of this happens overnight Friend. It is HARD. Being a success is hard work. Anyone who tells you differently is deluding themselves. But the reward is worth it. Living a life on your terms is SOOOO worth it!

Being out of DEBT and free is worth it. Having extra money in your bank account is worth it. Spending more time with your children and your family is worth it. Working for fun and not because you have to is worth it. You might have other reasons, but the truth is too decide on the price you will have to pay for success and resolve to pay that price.

Your BRAND is YOU! The top factor in WHY your prospects will decide to join your business is YOU. In the back of their mind Friend your prospects are always asking themselves if you are the leader that will show them how to achieve success in your business opportunity.

In Online marketing the best way to brand yourself as a leader and a person that attracts prospects is to give away value. As you learn new skills or experiences, simply use this knowledge to help others. When prospects view you as a MENTOR who truly desires to help and who gives incredible amounts of value they will naturally become ATTRACTED to you.

This is how you must build your brand online Friend. Another important point to understand is that online people are skeptical. It’s understandable why people choose not to listen to you when they don’t know if you are telling the truth or if you are who you say you are. They have good reason to feel this way Friend. Many people online are putting on a facade. They market themselves as the ‘Jack of all trades’. They are only out for one thing and that’s usually money and they are definitely NOT adding value to the marketplace.

This leads me to the next and what I consider to be the most VITAL part of developing your brand. This is your AUTHENTICITY. That’s right, you must be AUTHENTIC online. In this universe there is only one of YOU. You are a special person Friend and because of this the marketplace wants you not somebody else.

In my life I make it known that by trade I’m a professional Librarian. This is a career that I love and I’m proud of. I also have a business that I love and am passionate about. It’s this authenticity that attracts loads of people to me. I may not be the best looking person on the Internet or the most successful but I’m the best at what I do.

It’s this VALUE that I’m willing to share with others that makes me an ATTRACTABLE entrepreneur that people want to get to know and work with. The by-product to increasing my value everyday and practicing self-discipline (so that I’m making sure the tasks that I need to do daily are getting done) is self-satisfaction and cash flow.

Once you grasp how important AUTHENTICITY is to building your BRAND Friend you will be on the high road to success. Begin immediately, if you haven’t already, working on yourself. Listen to good personal development and skill set audio tapes/CD’s and read books relating to personal development and online marketing everyday. You will be amazed at how fast you will see a difference in your business and life.

How to Pick a Trading Guru in 3 Easy Steps

We love GURU’s, don’t we? I mean, we just LOVE them. In all walks of life we seek out experts in their field to guide us onto the right path for success and ultimately happiness. Working out, romance, money management, debt management, religion, and of course, the topic here today — trading!

When it comes to trading we might love our Guru’s more than anywhere else. Whether self touted or legitimately gifted, we flock to Trading Guru’s looking for help on how to navigate the tricky waters of online trading.

If you’ve spent anytime around the online trading industry, you know that these Trading Guru’s can run the gamut from advice to education to cheerleading to stock picks. These guys can be cheap (free) or expensive (some over $1,000.00 a month) and for this monthly fee they promise to fill your trading account with that ever valuable commodity — cash!

With so many different Trading Guru’s out there and more than a fair amount of snake oil, I thought I’d put together an article describing 3 of the most important things you should be considering when seeking out your trading Guru.

1. Style of Trading

The first thing you’ll want to note is what method or style of trading does your prospective Trading Guru practice. Scalping? Day trading? Swing trading? Position trading? Investing? These are very different and separate trading disciplines, each requiring their own, unique skill set.

As trading is a highly psychological endeavor, aligning your personality to your style of trading is job one. For instance, if you have the attention span of teenage flea playing X-Box then it would be next to nearly impossible for you ro follow a position trading guru who holds trades from weeks to months. It just wouldn’t feel comfortable. Who cares if the guru in question has a killer track record? It needs to feel right for you or you’re not going to be able to follow it.

2. Track Record

Yes, these can be fabricated. Yes, some Guru’s do fabricate them. But if all you have to go on is the actual trades this Guru has made then I would have to say that any track record is better than no track record. And once you’ve looked at a few you will be able to separate the honest from the scam artists. A good Guru, if he is worth his weight in Guru-ness, will have this history readily available and will be willing to share it with you.

Now, when it comes time to view the track record you want to look at two things — Winning % and Average win compared to average loss. Why both of these things? Because a Guru can have a 90% win rate, but if all those winning trades are 2% and his losing trades are -40% then you will have a losing method on your hands and you want to RUN as fast as you can.

Another good thing to look at is frequency of trades. This falls under style of trading for the most part, but if the Guru makes 10 calls a day and you only have enough money to trade 2-3 of those calls then you will not be able to mirror his or her performance.

In reference to track record it’s also important to look at your prospective trading Guru’s recent performance. Have they been on a hot streak lately? If so you might be buying in at the top? Have they been on a cold streak lately? Just like the market, these eventually turn around.

Finally, how long have they been in business. If they have a track record of 15 trades, this is obviously not as good as someone with a track record of thousand’s of trades who’s been in business for years.

3. Cost

“It takes money to make money.” “You have to pay for education.” “Either you pay me or you pay the market.” “Less than one round trade per day.”

These are just a few of the pitches you can hear coming from those ever persistent Trading Guru’s regarding the cost of their services. These services — trading education, tips, strategies, stock picks delivered via Tweet, Text Message, Email — range anywhere from free to over $1,000.00 a month and anywhere in-between.

What you, a potential customer, should be thinking is: with my capital base, can this subscription pay for itself AND still make me money? If not, will it provide me with an education that I can use to make myself money after I cancel the service? If not, what am I doing here?

Let’s say, for example, you have an equity account of $5,000.00. Your guru charges $100.00 a month and offers about 5 trades per week (20 trades per month). You have a discount brokerage that charges $7 per trade for a total of $14.00 for each round turn. If you’re going to take each trade you would have a monthly cost of $380.00 just to trade these picks. $100.00 for service and $280.00 in commissions. That’s a 7.6% hurdle right out of the gate. That’s fine if you believe think your Guru can deliver more than 7.6% a month — but remember, that’s just to break even. And that’s on total equity. Of course, if your account is bigger the percentage cost gets smaller which might make the Guru worthwhile.

So there you have it. my three most important factors to consider when choosing a Trading Guru. 1. Trading style. 2. Track record. 3. Cost.

One other important factor here that’s worth noting is your Guru’s personality. Some are brash and brazen even to the point of mocking their subscribers, some are more of the cheerleading type giving you many whoop-whooop-s and Boooooooom’s throughout the day, and others still are very direct and professional in their approach. Be sure to get one that matches your personality. And above all, remember, the market should be treated with respect at all times. It’s not the lotto and it takes time, effort and commitment to learn. But who knows, with the right online trading Guru, you just might shave years off the learning curve.