Do you know how to find new customers and ensure more reach for your business ? Prospecting for customers is one of the most important steps in the sales process , being essential to show your credibility as an HR consultant and close more contracts.
But after all, how does this prospecting process work and how to ensure that it has good results? In this post, we explain a little more about the subject and list some important tips to increase your sales.
What is prospecting for customers?
It is the process of finding and contacting potential customers that match your business profile , in order to get closer to the target audience and close new sales.
To better understand the term, it is important to know the sales funnel , a strategic marketing model that shows the customer’s entire journey, from the first contact to the closing of the deal.
The sales funnel is divided into 3 main stages and prospecting is the first of them. At this stage, the intention is for the potential customer to get to know the company and start creating a relationship. Prospecting for customers
In the second or middle stage of the funnel are those prospects who show themselves to be potential customers and who have a problem that your company can solve. Finally, we have the last step or the bottom of the funnel, where the purchase decision takes place , transforming prospects into effective customers.
Understanding this funnel, it is possible to see that, although the ultimate goal of prospecting is the sale, it will only happen in the future . Thus, the intention of this phase is just to build a relationship, understanding the potential customer’s needs and educating him about the market and possible solutions.
Therefore, this process requires a lot of research, connection and relationship to direct the company’s interest in the services you can offer, preparing them for a more conscious decision-making.
What are the methods of prospecting for customers?
There are different ways to prospect clients for your HR consultancy . It is even possible to use more than one method or choose the one that best matches your business model. Next, we’ll explain each of the types further.
Outbound involves attracting people who do not know or have any kind of contact with your company. For that, you need to get in touch and present your services. Prospecting for customers
Contact can occur through different channels, such as:
- phone calls;
- messages on social networks;
- direct mail.
However, it is worth noting that outbound prospecting is more costly . That’s because it is necessary to invest in a contact from scratch. However, the model can be advantageous for professionals with a higher average ticket or large sales volume.
Another way to prospect customers is through inbound marketing, that is, attraction techniques such as SEO and content marketing. In this case, instead of actively going after customers, the professional creates techniques to capture attention or meet a market demand.
But for this type of strategy to work, it is necessary to create tools for potential customers to demonstrate their interest. Most of the time, landing pages are used, where it is possible to subscribe to consume new educational material, request a contact or access information.
Through this registration, the HR consultant has more information to start a nutrition process about their services and offerings. Thus, a relationship begins and it is possible to filter potential customers and approach them commercially, making calls, sending emails and scheduling meetings.
Finally, this type of prospecting is less costly than outbound , since it is possible to automate the flow of emails, the contents and direct contact happens only with those customers that you know have better business chances. Prospecting for customers
Another method of prospecting is referrals, which turn your current customers into sales promoters. This type of strategy is used, for example, in large companies such as Uber, Ifood, Dropbox and Airbnb, which helps in prospecting and guarantees the approval of those who already consume the services.
However, in order to have good indications, it is essential to have satisfied and loyal customers , always fulfilling what you promise. Just as your customers can help with word-of-mouth marketing, they can also hurt your business if they’re not satisfied. Therefore, to gain new leads, it is essential to focus on after-sales service.
The tip to ensure new prospects for referral is to structure a referral program , offering benefits and advantages to your customer base. Among the most used strategies are:
- product or service discounts;
- free content and courses;
- participation in fairs and events;
- free gifts and samples of new services and products.
In this method, prospecting takes place through third parties, such as business partners or affiliates . In this way, the consultant or coach does not need to contact potential clients and the cost of acquisition is passed on to the partner.
This type of strategy brings advantages for both parties, as the partner adds more services to its portfolio and the consultant gains new clients that he might not have reached directly.
Finally, there is the solution of adopting not only a prospecting strategy, but a mixed model, incorporating different methods. These choices will depend on the type of service you offer , your customer profile and the structure of your sales team.
So you can, for example, implement inbound for low-ticket products and outbound for larger tickets, as well as offer referral programs for services that you know have high acceptance and generate satisfied customers.
How to prospect clients for your consultancy?
Now that you know what the prospecting phase is, it’s time to start putting it into practice to reach your target audience. But how to do this? Here are some tips for getting started on the right foot. Prospecting for customers
Define your target audience
The first step to a successful prospect is to know your target audience well. We’ve already seen that shooting in all directions will make the process even more laborious and uncertain , so the tip is to build an ideal customer, that is, a persona.
For this, carry out a good market research , which clearly defines which companies you want to reach and what the business characteristics are.
Here, you can opt, for example, for consultancies for small and medium-sized companies or for a specific sector of activity. However, for this choice to be made, it is necessary to know what the market is like and what solutions you can offer for each customer profile.
Adapt your approach to the customer’s profile
Regardless of the chosen prospecting method, it is essential that you are well prepared at the time of the approach, offering objective and efficient communication .
Keep in mind that you may need to adapt your language according to the customer profile. The language used with the partners of a law firm, for example, can be quite different from the communication with young startup owners.
That’s why it’s important that you know the potential customer you’re going to talk to and that you’re prepared for that conversation.
Do not sell on first contact
As we have seen, prospecting consists of creating a relationship and gaining the trust of the potential customer , so it is not always advisable to try to close the sale in the first contact.
Ideally, you should take this time to listen to the prospect and receive relevant information about their business. In this way, it is possible to know your pain and offer really effective solutions . Prospecting for customers
When making your first contact, remember to maintain a friendly, natural posture. Also, avoid standardized phrases or keep talking non-stop, without letting the customer continue the conversation, for example.
Have several communication channels
Technology came as a true ally for communication . If before, contacts were only made by direct mail, telephone or in person, today, there are several other ways to assist a potential customer and resolve their doubts.
So, don’t be afraid to use the tools to your advantage to optimize communication and make it more practical. For this, you can bet on tools such as email, WhatsApp, social networks and applications for remote meetings.
get ready for the conversation
When holding face-to-face or online meetings, the tip is to prepare a script and prepare well . Ideally, bring a presentation about yourself and your services to show how your solutions can meet demand.
In addition, remember that the prospecting phase consists of educating the client, so it is essential to be open and prepared to answer doubts and questions in an immediate and confident manner.
Demonstrating knowledge of what you sell is extremely important for decision making, as well as strengthening your credibility.
Build your credibility in the market
A large part of the prospecting process concerns the professional’s credibility. That’s because, it is at this point that the potential customer will clear their doubts and educate themselves about your services. Therefore, he must see you as an expert, a safe and reliable source of information.
In this sense, it is possible to build this credibility in several ways, for example, participating in events in the area, giving lectures, creating networking or building a solid foundation in social media. Prospecting for customers
LinkedIn, for example, is a good network to build your professional image , since through it, you connect with other professionals in the field, share experiences and show a little of the services offered.
don’t be invasive
Selling takes persistence , so there’s nothing wrong with going after prospects after the first contact. In fact, many times, customers are actually expecting a second contact, even if they said no the first time .
However, there is a difference between persisting and nagging. Getting in touch again to bring you new content or information is different from calling 3 or 4 times a week just to charge a decision.
Therefore, create a nutrition flow to bring new content, tips or even a consultation during prospecting and avoid aggressive and invasive approaches .
ask the right questions
Listening to the prospect is essential to improve your services and offer products that really make sense for that company, but for that, you need to seek information and keep the communication channel open.
Thus, it is important to question and let the customer talk about the current scenario and their expectations . The ideal is always to ask open-ended questions, that is, ones that cannot be answered with just “yes” or “no”, as this type of dialogue breaks the flow of communication.
Even if the customer is not interested, leave your contact
The sale will not always happen when you expect it. Therefore, after some refusals, it is necessary to give up and go to new potential customers.
However, remember that people can change their minds and that the business landscape can become more open to consulting in the future. But even if you give up on closing the sale, don’t forget to leave a contact , maintain the cordiality and be available if he wants to talk about solutions again. Prospecting for customers
Ask for directions
You’ve already seen throughout this content that leads are an important prospecting method. So when closing a sale, don’t be afraid to ask the customer to refer you to other companies.
This is a way to generate value for the business and build on the credibility you’ve already built with the customer. After all, if he liked what you have to offer, he may be more open to recommending your services.
The chances of closing a deal with a customer who came through referrals are very high and have a conversion rate of 3.63%.
In conclusion, prospecting for customers is an important step in marketing and should be used with caution to reach new customers and ensure a solid portfolio. But in addition to an adequate approach, it is important that the consultant or coach knows their market well and has good products to offer, thus ensuring a complete experience.