Do you wish that you could start a business and have an endless flow of customers?
The challenge is that many entrepreneurs don’t think deeply about this idea. They think deeply about WHAT their business does. But how to maintain an endless flow of customers?
No one thinks about it.
To be fair, it takes ALOT to do the WHAT in business. So it leaves you with little time to do the buidling of your business – building awareness, finding prospetice customers and growing your overall brand.
But if you ever want to grow a more profitable business – and you are not seeking venture capital or investor money with a product that can 10x scale – you probably want to learn how to build a better prospect list.
Let’s dig into 3 steps to get you started.
How do you grow your PROSPECTS list?
- Not the people who spend money on your business already
- Not the people who like your stuff on social media but will never buy
- Not the people who don’t even know you exist because you are working behind the scenes
The people who COULD buy from you one day.
Why do small business owners have this problem?
Small business owners often rock at the services that they deliver. I know a number of microentrepreneurs who can:
- Write a book that would make you cry
- Develop a video script that would make you sound like the leader of a Fortune 500
- Design a website that is visually stunning
- Handle your beauty needs so that the stars would be asking YOU who did your hair/makeup?
But figuring out how to grow your prospect list is one of the most PAINFUL parts of growing a business.
Prospects are the people who MIGHT be interested in the future. They are not ready to buy today. For a host of reasons.
Your job is to find them and keep them engaged. But it is HARRRRDDD work.
The real reason why finding prospects is hard
Typically most small business owners don’t have a strategy for finding and growing their prospect lists. They’d rather reach out to former buyers. Or pray that one of their friends and family will support.
What makes finding prospects so darn hard is:
- You have consistently show up
- Without the incentive you’ll make money today
A long term investment without the short term profits. Ughhhh.
Your first step to growing your prospect list
So before you throw in the towel, let me offers a few tips to growing your prospect list. First consider the mindset shift:
I’m not suggesting you post FIRE sale on your website or start radically discounting your prices.
But start thinking about how you can change your overall marketing strategy to bring in more potential new people to your business each month.
You might have been doing the “same ole, same ole” with your marketing for several months. Consider how you might change things so that you can you take 1-2 steps outside of your comfort zone and get new skills in:
- Video marketing
- Case studies
- White papers
- Relationship building on social media
- Connecting with influencers
- Sending out your email newsletter with some personal ahas
There are 100 things you can do to get out of your comfort zone. But, notice I specifically did NOT give how-to steps at this stage.
Start with the mental game shift. Do something different in your personal life this week to get started. Cook a new meal or try driving home a new way! But start out making the shift mentally before you take any action. You’ll end up with better results.
How prospecting works
Let me offer a simple non-business example.
My daughter is in a dance group and was invited to perform at a famous venue. I reached out to a few friends and family to invite them
I thought it would be easy. The venue is a big name. And the tickets were free.
- People needed help logging online and creating an account
- There were questions about parking and what to wear
- And I totally forgot to send reminders
However, it was fun to speak to everyone and invite them. I knew that everyone wouldn’t show up. But, I was open to the invite process and what would happen on the day of the show.
No one is surprised when we do this in our personal lives. If you want 100 people to show up at your party, you either invite 150 friends or 50 people who always arrive with 3 extra friends.
But, why don’t we think about this when it comes to our businesses?
Usually because we are so emotionally attached to the results. And we forget the psychology of how and why people buy. When you become a customer for the long term, it’s usually because the business has found a way to develop a long term win-win relationship. They didn’t invite you to the store once and bank their hopes on you buying immediately.
Your Second Step to growing your prospet list
If you want to find 10 new clients who are paying you $1,500 for your services, you are probably going to need to reach out to 1,000 people.
Yup. I said it. 1,000.
- Not 1,000 people following you on social media.
- Not 1,000 random people that took free samples
- Not 1,000 people who liked your Instagram picture
1,000 people that you communicate with directly. You need a prospect list of 1,000.
Why that many?
Typically the people who hire you when you first start are friends and family. Or at least in your warm network. They already know you. They already TRUST you.
Once you exhaust this list, you have to expand your comfort circle. And that requires you think about your numbers completely differently.
So you might not need to speak to 1,000 people before you land 10 sales. But if you want to keep those sales coming in consistently, start getting comfortable with thinking with larger numbers. If you hit the sales goals without reaching out to 1,000 people, that’s great. But if you are having rough months and get tired of prospecting, you’ll remember that it takes shaking alot of hands and kissing alot of babies before you necessarily connect with new potential clients.
The CRITICAL third step for finding prospects
The list of options is pretty extensive. You can:
- Share personal “ahas” on social media
- Offers behind the scenes in your newsletters
- Get interviewed on podcasts, radio, or other media
- Post webinars or clips of you speaking at events
- Share testimonials of every darn win you have for clients
The key is not to do 100 different things. Nobody got time for that! Find ONE or TWO things that you do well and do it CONSISTENTLY.
I’m always blown away when someone meets me at an event and remembers something that I put in my email newsletter a few months ago. Because I have already moved on and am thinking about what I am going to do next month.
But people remember.
It’s how you connect with them.
It’s how you build trust.
So talk to your business coach/advisor/mentor. Find 1 or 2 ideas to start with.
And be consistent about building the relationship even when you think no one is listening!!!
I hope these ideas of how you can get started in buidling a prospect list gave you something solid to dig into.