Prospecting for gold is an activity that both tourists and residents enjoy in Idaho, where I live. Prospectors travel to rivers, creeks and other areas to search for gold and other treasures. "Search" is the key word associated with prospecting. Men, women and teens are not waiting at home, in an office, or in a place of business, waiting for gold to come to them. They go out and look for it. When they find it, prospectors do the work necessary to retrieve the gold, and sometimes, they dig to get to it.
Prospecting is a MUST for growing a family business. If you ignore it, your company will not grow to the levels you dream about. What's the gold in your business? What stops you from being a gold digger? What activities should you be doing on a daily basis to search and dig for gold? Here are some ways you should be prospecting:
Cold Calls to Business Owners
A phone call is perfect for making connections. With the right tone and words, you can win over potential clients, partners and suppliers. It beats emails and social media. I make a list of people to contact. I dedicate 20, 30 or 60 minutes to do it, at least once or twice a week. I add to the list as I come across people in my personal and business activities. For example, last night I attended a charity event and met a new business contact. I quickly added his name and number to my phone, and today, I'll spend a little time filling out his contact information. This week, I'll try to reach him by phone to follow up and learn more about his business and projects. I've done this at the park, at training events, at luncheons, at social events and more.
Think outside of the box. Not every event you attend is going to hold itself out as a networking event. However, there are key events you should attend to make the contacts necessary to grow your family business. The key is have a presence at those events, and have a plan. For example, if you know who you'd like to approach at an event ahead of time, then your plan should be to locate them and know what you're going to say. Prospecting doesn't have to start with, "Hi, I'm Daphne, and I'd like your television network to run my reality show for 12 seasons." In fact, it wouldn't be appropriate to even talk about your products or services at some events. However, you can still prospect. Perhaps your conversation is about learning why your prospect is passionate about a charitable cause. Maybe, you solely want to come across as interesting enough so that they ask you for your card or contact information, to get to know you. The point is that your mindset should be focused on prospecting at key events.
Why did you join that organization in the first place? You know, the one where you attend regular meetings, give your time and donations to, listen to good speakers and enjoy fellowship. Somewhere in the back of your mind, you thought about how it might benefit your business or increase your skills. That's how entrepreneurs think. So, what happened? Are you approaching members and building new contacts? Or, are you stuck in a clique? Are you speaking to the same people, every week? Do your fellow members know what you do? Could they refer business to you? If you don't like the answers to these questions, then change your attitude and approach. Become a prospector. Find the directory of members and do your homework. Figure out who you should connect with to help you grow your business. This doesn't mean you shouldn't just make friends for friends sake. However, if you're serious about growing a family business and improving your quality of life, then it's time to mix business with pleasure. Use discernment. There are organizations where it would not be appropriate to have prospecting as your primary goal. Know what those are, but step it up for those other organizations where it's smart and necessary to do just that.
Make a list of action steps you'll take to do more prospecting in the upcoming days and weeks. Figure out the missed opportunities to date, and correct your mistakes. Meet someone new, ask to be your organization's next speaker so that people can get to know you better, call every business contact in your phone and research new contacts to build relationships with. Go Dig!