This is one of my favourite sayings from Bill Good (read his book "Hot Prospects").Posted by: David Regler @
Even though the book's been updated (it includes a chapter on Google) Bill's an old school trainer on prospecting systems. I first read one of his books when I ran a sales team back in the early 90's and his pragmatic style and no-nonsense approach influenced me greatly.
"Prospects are located not created" is a fundamental fact of prospect marketing.
And when you think about it, prospect marketing is basically the opposite to search marketing. It's the Yang to Google's Ying, if you will.
Search has undoubtedly changed the face of business-to-business marketing. Compared with just 10 years ago; it's now easier for prospects to find you.
Or should I say, it's now easier for prospects to find enough vendors to give them what they want.
Because there's the rub.
Searching Google (and let's face it, in the UK that's 90% of searches) will give you some alternatives, but it'll not show you everything.
If you're not in the handful of suppliers a prospect looks at (either through organic or paid search) then you're not in the game. And, of course, the term search implies that prospects know what they're looking for.
Many times, when we open doors for clients, the prospect is aware of a need but hasn't yet decided how they were going to fulfil that need.
They were looking for ideas.
Are they busy searching Google to find get new ideas? Sometimes.
But they're also going to conferences, chatting with their peers and meeting new and interesting suppliers.
When someone actively seeks them out and engages them in a conversation about these issues it's a welcomed call. And typically leads to new business with little competition (compared with a prospect that found you on google along with the other usual suspects).
Another reason I like the "located not created" phrase is that is implies a search, which is what prospect marketing is.
Our campaigns always start with sourcing data and names and then scoring and segmenting the data-set; we're searching before we pick up the phone or send an email.
And when we speak with a prospect we're asking questions to qualify their interest.
Sometimes we strike gold and the timing is perfect. More often, we identify a future need which requires nurturing.
Either way, our focus is not about creating a need; it's about finding a qualified opportunity.