The last affiliate marketers meeting in New Jersey in March 2011 was a little different from the other we had before. The discussions were more around scaling up business, customer focus, customer orientation and customer mining. It was apparent that with the economy picking up, marketers are planning for growth & efficiency in their small business.
Here is a summary of some of those interesting questions & answers around prospecting for new customers & how to separate the ones who are wasting your time from the ones who could turn out to be long term assets.
Small Business Prospecting for True Customers
- takes the time to have read the details of your business
- takes the time to explain their business & their needs
- asks pertinent questions that align to your business
- engages in a peer-peer dialog
- encourages a discussion on how your products or services could be used
- inquires about your commitments to your business & your customers
- ensures your financial strength & your ability to stand by your products & services in the future
- encourages you to ask questions about their business
- holds the first meeting / phone call in a planned way & plans for subsequent meetings
- sounds honest about their constraints even if it were financial
- asks for references
Typical Indications of Possible Time Wasters
- unfocused dialogs & keeps wandering from one topic to another
- inability to express their business needs
- unsure of how your business could help
- asking for whats free or for discounts early in the discussion
- promises you a lot of business in the future against a discount to begin with
- does not have a clear idea of your offerings
- very less knowledge of the competition (making it hard to differentiate your business)
- not sure about their financial commitments to the deal
The dilemma that every new marketer goes through is whether to still hope that a possible time waster could be turned into a long term customer & pursue the relation or to drop it the moment you realize that a mutually beneficial relation is out of the question! Having dealt with this situation a lot, we found that asking for a second meeting with a clear agenda to talk about is a way to ensure the seriousness of your potential customer.
The serious ones will always show eagerness & will turn up for the next meeting, prepared & willing to either commit or start talking about plans. The fake ones will not even bother to accept your invitation!