Most entrepreneurs mistakenly believe that every consumer or business is a potential customer. As a result, when looking for new customers (prospecting) entrepreneurs tends to spread their energy around without focusing on unique customers or how to find them. The sales process depends on creating a “pipeline” of opportunities, meaning that for every ten potential customers you add to the pipeline, you can assume that only one or two of them will become paying customers. Prospecting, or building the pipeline is essential to sales and must be a top priority.

“Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time prospecting in the wrong places, which wastes time and energy that you don’t have.” 

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Here are some tips for effective prospecting:

  • Don’t just follow the crowd. If you are offering event services, many people will tell you where the rest of the event world goes. It won’t hurt to do that, but why would you only go where your competition is? Try and find another place where event planners hang out where they wouldn’t be faced with all of your competition.
  • General networking is overrated. Oftentimes, entrepreneurs will go to events, such as meetup groups, that have no connection to the product or service they are offering. There is nothing wrong with being social and connecting with other entrepreneurs, but when choosing your networking time, try to hone in on groups or meetings that are more focused.
  • Find where your customers are. Even if they don’t go looking for your service, they could be just as valuable as someone seeking you out. For example, if you offer counseling services for divorced women, you could find places where divorced women in your area hang out. This will require creativity, but if you find it, you may be the only game in town.
  • Ask for introductions- but the right ones. It is always helpful for friends, family and colleagues to make introductions. But make sure you are asking for the right introductions. Too many times we ask for introductions that are not the target customer. It would be better to search a colleagues LinkedIn contacts for specific criteria and ask for that introduction.

Entrepreneurs spend a lot of time prospecting in the wrong places, which wastes time and energy that you don’t have. Remember, an entrepreneur’s most important asset is time and while you must keep up with prospecting to keep the pipeline full, you must improve that skill to make the most of your precious time.

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