Think prospecting as a technique to fill your future business pipeline by pursuing leads that you hope will evolve into clients. While existing clients create revenue today, a salesperson must always be thinking about where the business will come from next week, next month, and even next year. In selling, prospecting is not a haphazard or part-time operation. All great salespersons are always engaged in prospecting in one way or another. They are continually focused on where tomorrow’s business will come from.
Now you may be thinking: if we’re truly involved in relationship selling, shouldn’t we be able to rely solely on prospecting?
Admittedly, doesn’t building long-term relationships with our consumers ensure that they will remain loyal for years to come? Why do we have to be concerned with gaining new customers all the time?
These are important questions with critical responses. Of course, building long-term relationships with your clients will help you keep your firm more steady and sustainable. Also, it’s usually less expensive to keep your existing profitable consumers than to find new ones.
On the other hand, all sales organizations are constantly attempting to recruit new clients, keep consumers away from competitors, and increase their market share. Growth, from both current and new consumers, is the core of business success. So, we should not underestimate the importance of focusing simultaneously on retention techniques of existing clients and best practices for finding new ones, as both contribute to the business growth.
Apart from this broad perspective on growth, several other factors may make prospecting for potential clients an even higher priority.
- Your main contacts in the client firm quit or change positions. In this example, the relationship might change as a result of this. Thus, if the outcome isn’t positive, continuous prospecting can minimize any losses from that customer.
- Your firm needs to increase revenues to pay for expansion or other expenses. In such cases, your company’s compensation and rewards system may be modified so that salespeople are compensated more for prospecting and obtaining new clients than for retaining existing ones.
- A customer relocates to a new location outside of your area of sales responsibility. In this scenario, the business may simply be transferred to another salesperson within your company, but you will be responsible for finding a replacement. Prospecting ensures that a ready pool of potential new customers is available.
The above-mentioned examples can be considered red flags. Understanding the potential risks can help you to focus on both existing client retention and most importantly on applying effective prospecting techniques that can constantly enter new clients into your sales pipeline. In sum, prospecting is a key activity of successful selling.