By Andrew Neitlich

100 prospects at a time

By Andrew Neitlich

Some of my clients are following a good approach for marketing to local businesses. Here’s what you do:

1. Choose 100 businesses within your target market. Example: dental practices.

2. Send those 100 businesses a series of educational letters every couple of weeks.


3. Visit them live every week or two to say hello and drop off interesting articles, education, free advice about their web site, and do your best to establish rapport without being annoying. This can work if you approach it as nurturing a relationship in your community rather than making a one-time pitch. You can also ask for advice about your products, marketing approaches, associations to join, etc.

4. Try to offer something simple to show what you can do.

5. As businesses start looking like good prospects or no go’s, replace the no go’s with new businesses in your target market. Always have 100 prospects.

6. Support the above by being visible to this target market via association meetings, research, etc.

Many of you will absolutely hate the above strategy. That’s okay. It’s not for everyone. It’s hard work, and you will face lots of rejection (unless you focus on nurturing relationships).

All I can say is that it is getting results for lots of people, and that few of their competitors are willing to invest the time and sweat to do the same. Plus, it gets easier after the first few rounds, once it becomes habitual.

  • Anonymous

    Good post. Being a smaller business though, just starting out, I’ll probably start with a smaller number.

    Also, I’m interested to know how Experience Publishing is going, but I know you said you’d talk about your experience in a future post.

  • MickoZ

    That is worth in anything. Business, dating, life management, etc. ;-) Also that encourage you to do error (accepting doing it) as you have another challenge near the door waiting always.

  • 2. Send those 100 businesses a series of educational letters every couple of weeks.

    Won’t they ask why they are receiving your stuff in the first place? Should I/we be asking their permission before we bombard them with what they may consider to be “spam”?

  • Yeah as a small business I would do like 25 prospects.

    But the letters…do you basically tell them what you’re about?

  • One of the things that I learned this summer was targeting educational materials (or any mailings/contacts) during the ‘busy season’ for a specific market doesn’t work! While the content was great you need to also figure out the appropriate timing for your suspects.

    It’s also about understanding the different segments of your target market. Some will be progressive and some still have no computer in their business. That may be an extreme scenario, but consider the point. When your progressive suspects are busy they are usually looking at ways to improve at the same time. Vs. your non-progressive suspects are just trying to keep their heads above water.

    Bottom Line – know your market!

  • ghuytro

    I would also recommend using some kind of CRM tool – maybe even a Salesforce.com or it’s open source clone SugarCRM.com.

    Maintaining a single, holistic data store of customer/prospect data is a solid sales management strategy.

  • As for CRM’s don’t forget Act!. AFAIK, SalesForce and SugarCRM can’t sync to PDA’s which is a big deal if you’re out of the office selling or meeting with clients a lot.

  • The numbers game does work and with good timing it can reap better results. Our design group is small however targeting 100 businesses a manageable number with the correct tools. In our local market that with 100 prospects contacted on a regular basis we can expect to close 2-3 jobs. More then pays for the effort of “working” 100 prospects.

    We use QuickBooks for accounting and also purchased their ContactManager software. Using the CRM, which also ties into Outlook, allows one person to efficiently manage these prospects. Even if we forget to follow up someone, the system will not.


  • Anthony

    beley mentioned a few CRMs. I have also worked with offices that use Gorilla. It has the ability to synch with Outlook and from there into any other device. Mobility really is key now-a-day with CRMs.

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