How to Research Your Best Prospects
Lesson twenty one how to research your best prospects so the idea the challenge let's say with researching your prospects is that sometimes it can just be too vague and in order to make it less vague, you want to focus in on what I call your living breathing prospects, the people who will actually give you the work those are the people that you need, and one of the things I see creative, professional, especially doing a lot is focusing on their own marketing tools, perfecting the website, improving the linked in profile, focusing on their blogged not that there's anything wrong with that, but it can be overdone, and it could be a really good excuse not to start the reaching out to develop relationships with the people who can actually give you the work. I see so many people actually not ever getting to the relationships because their website isn't ready or they just don't know exactly who they're talking to. So in this lesson, I want to really focus on who exactly are those people and ...
where are you going to find them? Because one of the main questions in the chat room has been, how does one find clients? All right? So I'm really trying to answer that in his many ways, as I possibly can today, I hope I'm doing it so first you start by mining your existing network whenever you're doing marketing, especially if you have experience, we were talking in the last segment about whether you have examples of work to show or connections already people somehow forget that they might already know people who could give them work and they haven't been in touch with them, so the first step is always start with what you already have, which is your existing network and mine it so that could involve linked in it could involve just going through your email inbox and reaching out to our replying to people that you haven't been into but within a while, right? So really focused on your existing network that might be plenty that might be all you need to get enough work toe fill your plate or it might be enough to figure out who can give you the fees that you need, right, but really don't forget your existing network then as we were talking in the last segment also, you're going to start finding clones of your favorite clients. You've already identified who your favorite client is. You've got all their personality traits, you know exactly where they are, what their title is now you're going to go looking for them and this could also be done on lengthen it could be done through some resource is actually that ed gandhi is going to share with us also, but there are lots of tools out there too pull together lists, and I'm not necessarily suggesting that you buy a list of five thousand people, which is what's for sale out there often usually creative professionals on ly need a handful, maybe twenty five, maybe fifty, maybe one hundred prospects to be reaching out to on a regular basis to again keep your pipeline full, keep enough irons in the fire, and I think one of the things that is overwhelming for people because they don't think enough about it is that we don't need million's we don't need thousands, we just need something manageable, and you could make it manageable for yourself. Number three is find prospects who look like they need your help. So what does that mean? You need to know what someone who needs your help looks like, and again, hopefully by identifying your favorite clients, we have put together some characteristics already of who might need your help. But one good example often comes up when we think about for web designers, for example, you might someone find someone who either doesn't have a website and therefore obviously needs your help because they need a website or more often you find someone who has a really bad website and you think, well, they obviously need my help. Because they have a bad website now of course you have to it's a little tricky have to be careful with that because you're not going to go to someone who you think needs your help and say you really need my help your ex is really bad right? That would perhaps put them off and so really the suggestion is you have to find out if they think they need your help because you can only help people who think they need your help and that's also part of the qualifying process as you're talking to people you have to be listening for and looking for the signs of not only that they need your help but that they know they need your help. So what does that look like? What does that sound like? And then find prospects who clearly value your services at the high level? This is also how you command the fees you deserve. In other words, if you're a designer, then you look for companies in your target market who already are using design services and it's clear that they value them because their design is good and you might look at that and say, well, why would they need me there already doing what I would do for them, but again I wouldn't jump to any conclusions I wouldn't make any assumptions about what they need until you reach out to them because they may have a really flaky and unreliable designer and be looking for someone or open to someone who might be better in terms of the way they work and you wouldn't know that if you made the assumption that they must not need me because already they've got good design, right? And on the other side you also may see people who don't have the quality of the design and you shouldn't assume that they don't value design either because they may not have found the right person and they may be just open to and looking for someone exactly like you if the timing is right and you reach out to them, then you could make the connection all right, so we're trying to figure out ways to find your living breathing prospects. So then where do you do this research? Where do you find them? So we're going to start with a few very simple kind of obvious resource is that most people are usually not using the first one is in your neighborhood, so if you start locally to see who might be around you literally, that could mean go out on the street and walk the streets and see who's out there and I'm using actually food related examples for all of these here today, so this is literally go out and see what food related businesses maybe on the street that you could help don't forget your local area you could also find them in online and print directories, so I was mentioning a few in the last lesson and in the last segment, but additional ones include your local chamber of commerce could be a good resource, especially if you are interested in small businesses or a particular type of small business or as we've talked a little bit about already trade groups, but these online and print directories are available and usually free, sometimes for a fee and finally online, so from googling and sometimes it takes some very creative googling to come up with the key words that are going to bring the kinds of prospects that you're looking for. And then you have to dig in to find the actual contacts, but linked in, as I've mentioned, is a really valuable resource, especially their groups section section. So you start looking for groups in the vertical industries that you've already identified, and they usually bring together the people who are part of that industry, and literally the members of that group could be your prospects, and from there you can start reaching out to them. We'll we'll talk about how exactly to reach out to them, but literally, that could be your prospect list. All right, now, I advise, starting with what I call practice prospects, right? Because once you've identified the industry, you uh should not go after your dream clients first because you have to get into the groove of how to reach out to people and we're going to talk about some of the obstacles to reaching out to people soon but it's important to start with people and organizations and companies that you don't want that much but wouldn't mind getting right where you don't have much at stake but it would be great if they did say yes and that way if you make mistakes it's not a problem at all you can say the wrong thing to them you can you know ignore them if you need to they're just practice prospects and you experiment with your process as you're working with them okay, now we have another what would you do if so let's ask the question and then we'll go back to the online chat room to see what people have to say but get ready studio audience here is the question what if you can't find a trade association for the market that you're interested in justin what would you do if you can't find a trade association for the market that you're interested in d'oh um I guess I just, um just start networking with people in that industry and I found that just making phone calls and starting to talk to them because it may not be completely obvious what trade organizations online but I think just like you the phone making a phone call in asking questions you still use the phone? Absolutely how bizarre umm I say it that way obviously in just because most people are afraid or forget to pick up the phone and when we get to what are your obstacles to reaching out? We already had in yesterday's session people saying I hate cold calling we weren't even talking about cold calling and what is the difference in your mind between the phone calls that you're talking about and cold call thank you. I think it comes from a curious place rather than like an intention to try to sell a our market, your services it's just getting started and it's like if it's amazing like how powerful making a phone call is and just sharing what you're in for and and asking the right questions and even asking, could you connect me with these folks? Are where do I look? And people really want to help way established that in session one, right when we talked about networking that people really do want to help, and I think your point is perfect that these are not cold calls this is you doing research this research could morph into selling or into prospecting if you get the right person on the phone, but if you approach it as a research effort, it may be a little bit easier to dio so beautiful. Thank you for bringing that up, raina. I've never really relied on trade associations, but, um, for networking, I tried to find events that people in the industry would go to things that are interesting to them, um, and they could even be meet ups for smaller entrepreneurs around a specific topic. There are a lot of sort of entrepreneurial consulting or learning meet ups and things like that, where I've met a lot of prospects and, um, yeah, I just I think for me, for example, I really helps to be personally interested in what I'm dealing with because then it becomes fun to go to these events and it doesn't become a chore I'm interested toe learn what they're what they're having to say and to show and it feels less like I have to do networking, and I think what's important there is you're saying there doesn't have to be a trade association, there are other types of events that are put on that where you could find your prospects, and actually, if you can't even find those events and you are really passionate about it, you can create your own you can, anyone can create their own meet up, you can create your own little online world where these people and you can create your own lengthen group for your prospects right? I mean, all of the technology makes all of this possible, so don't be put off if there's no trade association but know that if there is a trade association is going to make things easier, let's go to zane and then we'll come to the online chat room. Yeah, for me, my strategy has always been like finding people within my network that are doing the same kind of things and getting results and going directly to them and asking them what's been working and what's been most effective because I, when I got started, actually I was going all these, like chamber of commerce events and things like that, and I find it was a big waste of time just wasn't meeting the quality of people, so not what I do is I graphical find people that are doing well in my network and asked him what's been most effective. What events? And also I tried to go to events where the thought leaders that I follow are at and even if it takes, like me flying to places or, uh, you know, paying a lot of money you have to do is put it in your budget yeah, right, why not, yeah. But I love that idea of going to your network, and also we're talking about research in a research approach to your network again, not trying to sell anything, and this leads back actually also to what we were discussing in session one, where you go not only researching, but as a possible journalist for your blawg, writing about the things that you find and talking to the people and using the research to turn it into content, right? That's, how these marketing tools work together, all right, daycare, where they sing in tehran we've got a lot of very good responses here, some of which to echo what are students here was saying three eighteen media says I would maybe look for a message board or a forum on the subject. Laddie just says simple, I create my own aunt debra second say I'd ask the people that I know many bassis saying I look at people in the industry's profiles to see what they are a member ofthe and she's found with linked in to be really useful for that on other people check their college alumni directory. Those are all excellent ideas, and I just want to echo also the fact that linked in once you find your favorite client that you're going to clone, then you look on lincoln on their profile to see what groups they are part of, and that will lead you into the groups where you can find more people like them. It's perfect, excellent. All right, so the exercise that goes along with this lesson, which also in the workbook, has all the notes, and you're not going to do this right now, people, because we don't have time, but if you're at home, be sure to pause and find five practice prospects and then search for them in at least one of the places that we've suggested, and we've suggested a lot, but see if you can put together a list of five practice prospects that's all right again, one of the challenges as part of this outreaches people imagine they're gonna have to come up with hundreds of prospects. No, make it very manageable. We're just talking about five I recommend if you want to get five prospects right away, one of the tools that I discovered is angel list again. So it has a really good filtering feature so you can select the criteria of people that you want to find, and all you gotta do is kind of a list down all the thing off the prospects that you want, and you just have to click I'm interested and then I've been able to find that that's like the most effective way to get people on phone and it's been working well for me, so maybe people can give it a shot. Any other resource is that people know of and use that might be recommended, I would actually say angelus is a great place to go because you could also do it by location as well s o that wherever you are you confined these start ups that are emerging if that's the space that you want to be in it's really powerful there if you're interested in nonprofit there's also a website called charity navigator, I think something like that where you confined so much information about nonprofits all of all different types one girl is going teo, I'm a chamber of commerce in about twenty minutes, so she's going to try very hard to put some of this into practice and she's going to tell us how it goes? Excellent. Let me just say one thing before we move on about the chamber of commerce because sometimes it gets a bad rap, right? But it really all depends on what you're looking for and whom and sometimes the chamber, especially if you're looking for small business if you're just starting out small businesses a good market to start with and that's a good place to meet those people and like what I was saying yesterday about business networking international, each group, each chamber is different and has different qualities and different positive and negative aspects. It really depends on the people involved. We can't make a generalization that all chambers are worthless. Let's, not do that.