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3 Prospecting Strategies: Broad, Narrow & Intermediary – When To Use Which & Why

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Prospecting is an incredibly important part of the business, some sales gurus may even say it is the most important part of the sales process, arguing against the common notion that the close is the most important part. As usual every part is important but gauging which to put more weight on at one time will depend on the field, experience position and level of those involved. With prospecting one is able to promote one’s brand, generate qualified leads and even position oneself to negotiate major deals.

Most attempt, however only one of the following strategies, the broad prospecting strategy, and because of most people’s expectations and the nature of that strategy and a lack of clear alternative, most people are not really taking advantage of the endless possibilities that open up when one masters prospecting at every level. If you have no interest in being financially free, this may not be valuable to you otherwise you should know that any information taking you any inch closer to greater financial freedom is worth reading.

First we will start with what we mean by each of the strategies being covered in general, and then provide specific hypothetical examples to better understand the specific principles behind how those strategies work when applied in practice.

Broad

This is the most common strategy, and the one most people tend to muster up when clamouring for a new opportunity. This is where the term “numbers game” really comes from. In this strategy you contact as many people as you possibly can, each once, with your story in hopes that someone will provide you with that opportunity you are looking for. This usually requires one expect to try 10-1000 times before getting substantial results, which is why many often settle before realizing their intended goals in the midst of understanding how low a return one may have for one’s outreach in this way.

Since this tends to be the most common method people attempt because it is most obvious and seemingly direct and appears to be the most standard way to do it, most people are not usually reaching the level of accomplishment they had initially seen for themselves. However that is not because this is a completely inefficient and ineffective strategy, though it may be the least potent strategy, it still works if one doesn’t give up and truly tries all 1000 possible prospects, or potentially many times more. If one can have a massive vision for accomplishing objectives with this method, it can be incredibly successful, however most don’t expect the nature of this method to be so torturous nor do most employ any other method, but this only gives room for those that keep going anyway and eventually do learn the following strategies as well.

Narrow

This strategy, which is employed usually only towards family members where the relationships are solid, as it is the natural way to interact, particularly with those that take care of you like parents or elder relatives. You may also employ this strategy unwittingly with close friends after years of building up your relationships, but being aware of what is actually happening beneath the surface, can allow you to intentionally implement this strategy instead in an extremely targeted way. This strategy is to instead simply focus on a single most qualified individual of all and reach out to them as many times as possible as well as possible for as long as possible. This is in contrast to the broad strategy which is a quantity over quality approach, this is the absolute opposite strategy since it requires you not only contact the same person once but hundreds, even up to thousands of times to build the kind of relationship you may be looking for. That’s why this strategy is to be used on only the absolute ultimate of prospects since it is a serious investment and so great experience and clarity may be required to target the right individual.

Constantly trying again and again with the same person, within reason and legal limits (don’t keep pushing if you get  a restraining order) which should not be a problem if you are doing your best to appropriate, sensible, making the best impression you possibly can the first and continuing to do so every time with each fresh facet of your character. This is a longterm approach from the beginning and can be, at the extreme level, equated with the classic disciple who seeks out and self initiates absolute servitude to receive the true teaching from the master. This is similar to the mentor and apprentice relationship as well. At a less extreme level this may be your loyalty to a teacher or guide as much as you can, even if you are not living with or shadowing the person, you can still grow or develop such relationships. In some cases it may just be cold calling your most admired personality’s secretly for years before receiving a few precious minutes of time with the person to truly inspire the next part of your journey.

Intermediary

This final approach is one that most do not naturally employ. This however is very observable among experienced business and sales people who understand the priorities and resources of the company or organization and have most likely developed or adhering to a system that is pretty much following a hybrid of the first two described strategies, something in between where one isn’t going completely cold with cold prospects nor honing in on one individual for the longterm to warm them up as much as possible where appropriate, this strategy is instead a sophisticated approach where one filers out the mass amount of potential prospects in your cold outreach initiatives down to a select number of more qualified people. These may be distinguished individuals, but not necessarily at the level of legendary mentors or influencers, but rather people who you could bring value to not as an admirer but rather as a provider, not only for a quick return and turn around but the kind of relationship where the client is so happy they keep bringing you business again and again.

Ideally in the narrow strategy as well you may be honoured to do work for those you admire in your chosen discipline, but this is rare, so instead enjoying all of those who you can come closer to yet still enjoy a highly valuable mutual exchange consistently, these are actually potentially more important than your initial inspirations or those that have motivated you to take initiatives. These are the kinds of relationships rather that are the life blood of your business if it is to stay relevant over the longterm and most importantly be meaningful to the lives of all of those it touches. However this strategy is very difficult to implement without implementing the other two strategies at the same time. That is because you will always need a larger group of prospects to pool and filter out the most qualified leads, while the most coveted of prospects can motivate you to go big and not be satisfied only with the interim, in order to have the incentive to elevate everything you’re doing, again and again, better impressing your most loyal customers and providing them even better service for a reputation of continually improved experiences when dealing with you.

When & On Whom To Use Each Strategy?

Now we can provide some applicable examples to better understand practically how these strategies are to be implemented. The broad strategy, though now probably not considered as expedient, ironically after considering the other two strategies, it should not be abandoned altogether. This strategy of reaching out to up to thousands of people, each only once to see who bites immediately is great for establishing a a wider base than your immediate power base of family, friends, relatives and associates that you are wanting to expand from and a great way to find out who your early adopters are, potentially great candidates for the intermediary strategy.

Extreme niches as well as highly mainstream branding models usually require a larger network than balanced niches, that are neither too mainstream, but if you’ve already established your network it may be important to now focus on the narrow and intermediary strategies until your current network or leads becomes less responsive and you need fresh blood in your world. Therefore the broad prospecting strategy is great when you still need to establish your network or require expansion, particularly when scaling. Meaning this is a great daily strategy, but is quite poor when employed solely on its own, though tempting to do so, it should not ultimately be forfeited for the other strategies but coordinated with them for the best effect.

The narrow strategy may also not be one you want to rely on solely, as it is more important than the other two strategies to get the targeting as perfect as possible before investing so much into one prospected party. In order to get the targeting right you will need the depth of experience and understanding to identify the most worthwhile target. This is very difficult to achieve without being able to bring the spoils of learning from being seasoned at implementing the other two strategies or deep networking in general since one is less likely to have the perspective and ability to recognize the highest value potential prospects without having developed a knack for prospecting at different levels already. Since these three strategies can all be practiced at different pacing each, the broadest being the shortest term and the narrowest being the longest term, it is possible to coordinate practicing all three simultaneously, and this will make since especially with a longterm prospect that is unable to help you before you invest so much you are not able to sustain your business without the other types of prospects as well. Just as those who are the exceptions to the rule, and succeed big with the broad strategy, that is like a lottery approach attempting to have one sponsor or endorsement that is to save you without your being able to ascertain results in a self-contained fashion. It is much better instead to be achieving results at all levels, from the colder traffic in the broad strategy the the qualified list of targeted leads you can each contact several times, dozens or more each as well as targeting that one golden lead over the long run as well, than to try to rely on a single strategy alone, as long as it can be coordinated effectively.

Thus for high ticket items, recurring services and subscriptions, the intermediary strategy is the most appropriate since it ensures that relationships are deeply developed to the point that the trust between you and your client become quite high, and you’re to negotiate more longterm opportunities and exchanges where you can constantly provide real solutions, innovation and empowerment in the most complimentary and fitting fashion. This is different from the even larger prospect one would target with the narrow strategy which is more for the purpose of being mentored, endorsed, invested in, sponsored or partnered with to accelerate or scale your startup or business. Finally the broad strategy, through a combination of organic (free, slow to progress, but longer lasting) and paid outreach to stay fresh in your current prospects mind while attracting new potential leads in conjunction with your carved out market niche.

Though coordinating multiple strategies as the above, even with different pacing and objectives for each, which should not interfere with each other, effectively employed can allow each strategy to strengthen the other, actually pulling all three together well and consistently is no small challenge, but if can be managed properly can form the engine that drives the system for your business to have any form of viability and likelihood of a real future. This is at once basic yet integral to every aspect of the company from ownership, to partnership, to recruiting and customers; there is no end to the importance of prospecting in every industry and these three strategies can allow you to accomplish it at every level.

Applicable Plans Based On The 3 Prospecting Strategies

A quick rundown of how to apply the above is provided to give you a rough idea of how you could create your own equivalent plan that fits your own industry and market to work from your current resources or develop the right overarching strategy where you can manage all forms of prospecting needed from where you are. Your week may look something like this:

  1. Promote or outreach to 100+ potential prospects every day.
  2. 1-10 responsive prospects from previous days are qualified through follow-ups at least weekly
  3. 1 ultimate prospect is contacted at least once a week for about one year or more

The first step could be done through automation or tried and tested copy that is meant for cold prospects, which you are hopefully targeting to some reasonable degree, this often is done in a way that still comes off as personalized but that can be repeated for all cold targeted prospects for the day. Since this is virtually automated, it takes much less effort to reach out per person.

The second step requires you to follow up with responders from previous promotions and outreach by going deeper with each individual through the qualification process. This is done through offers and questions to better understand the clients wants, needs and pain point, so that you are able to determine if you are able to provide the best solution in the greatest way possible to be sure it is a serious win-win for you and the customer over the longterm.

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