How Businesses Build a Quality Prospect List (And What To Do With It)


“Master the topic, the message and the delivery.” - Steve Jobs

Growing a prospect list starts with your current customers – and the ones you like working with most.

Look at them. What makes these folks special? What do they have in common when it comes to your business? Is there one service they use a lot or a product they always buy? Are they all in the same industry, or do they live in the same area?

Any prospect who has a lot in common with your best customers is going to be a hot prospect indeed.

Quick note: A “prospect” is not a “lead.” A lead is often little more than somebody’s contact info. A prospect is somebody who, for whatever reason, is a whisker more likely to want to do business with you.

Prospects also don’t even have to be interested in buying right now. They just have to fit the general characteristics of the folks who already buy from you.

Another way to find good prospects is to see what markets are doing well in your area. “Market” can mean a lot of things, from more people moving in-- to more businesses opening. Sometimes all it takes to spot an opportunity is taking the time to look.

And of course, what’s the competition up to? Probably most times you look at the other guy with envy that they’re doing something you can’t. When you’re building your prospect list, though, flip that around: What’s your competition not doing that you can?

Look around your company, too. People know people. You may have so-so prospects that can turn into great ones because somebody right under your nose has the inside story. Ask.

Get the word out

Now that you’ve got this list (with luck, a big one) of people who have a better-than-average desire to buy from your business, what do you do with it?

Thing is, you’ve got a lot of ways to reach them today – a lot – but you’re going to be just noise if you don’t speak loud and clear and right to their interests. Some mediums to consider...

Direct mail. Even though the mailman still brings you a lot of recyclable material, you have to admit that physical junk mail isn’t as common as it used to be. That could be your opening. Depending on how many people you’re trying to woo, invest the time for handwritten notes or the expense of mailing a book.

Sure, these aren’t cheap, but they could pay off when you’re trying to reach the best of the very best of your prospects. Requesting a signature on delivery is a relatively cheap way to stand out, too.

Despite the bucks for printing and postage, direct mail still works. And so does this...

The phone. Nobody likes getting cold calls and nobody likes making them – but salespeople say they still work. Study your list well, let folks know about you before you call and you might get somebody keen to buy (a happier cold call for everybody: the warm call).

Social media. Join online groups where your prospects are and then behave like any other member: helpful but not like somebody looking to sell something. Sooner or later, they’ll recognize your expertise.

Email. Most people say they prefer to be contacted by email – yet the open rate on unsolicited email remains small. Best bet is to only contact and communicate with prospects this way if they’ve given you permission. Drop any the moment they ask you to.

List to-do’s

Your list will soon have to tell you more than just somebody’s address. It needs to provide you with actionable data. So, think about:

  • A second list for prospects you contacted but who didn’t give you their business.
  • Notes for a follow up that you can use when you ping them again next quarter.
  • Scoring prospects on how close they are to buying from you – and who’s on the cusp of being dropped from your list because, let’s face it, some people just aren’t interested. Plus, it makes room for new folks who ARE interested.

Happy prospecting.

BE THE ROAR not the echo®

Janet Behm
Utah Real Estate Accountants
(801) 278-2700


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