Marketing Basics

Prospecting 101: Tactics

Prospecting tactics are the strategies you use to gather prospects for your business. These strategies can change over time to fit your business and your personality. The approach you use when you’re first getting started will probably look different than what you do once you’re more experienced. 

Prospecting tactics have a close relationship with prospecting principles, but the two are separate from one another. While principles always hold true no matter what type of tactic you’re using, your tactics can always change. Most likely, you’ll need to try out a few different tactics before you discover a system that really works for you. 

We’ll talk about the three main areas of tactics, as well as how you can fit them to your personality and your strategy as a business owner. 

1. Job Sourcing

The first type of tactic is job sourcing — essentially, finding potential jobs through all the resources you have available. In the age of the internet, this often takes the form of online job sourcing services or bid boards. 

The most important thing to remember about job sourcing is that it’s NOT just about getting the job.

The most important thing to remember about job sourcing is that it’s NOT just about getting the job. In fact, there will be plenty of times you won’t win the bid, and that’s okay. Successful prospecting looks beyond just winning the bid or getting the job and extends into your relationships with people in your network. Relationships are a marketing basic that you should master.

For example, even if you don’t get a subcontracting job you bid for, you’ll want to focus on building a relationship with the general contractor in charge of the job. Try to reach out to them before you put in your bid, and contact them again after you hear back (even if it’s bad news). 

If you don’t get the job, ask them if they might still be willing to meet up for lunch or even have a quick phone call. Ask questions like: Why didn’t I get the job? Why did you choose the person who did get the job? This will help you improve your bidding in the future and ultimately get more jobs. 

As an added bonus, you might be able to find out about an upcoming job from the GC. If you put effort into your relationship with them now, they’re more likely to choose you in the future. It’s helpful to set recurring reminders to check back in with GC contacts, for instance, every three months. Regular contact helps prospects remember you. That way, when a new job does surface, you’ll be top of mind for them when it’s time to choose a subcontractor company. 

2. Networking

Networking is the prospecting tactic that’s done the most frequently, but the least effectively. Most business owners start off with a vague notion of what networking means and how to do it. The term can be hard to define, so what do we mean by “networking” when it comes to prospecting tactics? 

Networking is the prospecting tactic that’s done the most frequently, but the least effectively.

To some extent, almost every tactic we suggest here will involve some amount of networking. In the broadest sense, networking refers to building and nurturing your network of contacts within your sector. You can’t have prospecting without some networking. 

When we refer to networking as a tactic, we’re talking about taking opportunities to build relationships in ways that aren’t directly related to jobs. Think lunches and coffee with your most helpful contacts, attending trade shows, or spending time on a job site (that’s not your own). 

Often, business owners are too quiet at these events and don’t view them as a great chance to build on new or existing relationships. If you’re not a naturally outgoing person, we get it — it can be hard to break out of your shell and start conversations with strangers. If that’s you, then consider focusing on another tactic before you try this. That said, if you’re an extroverted, talkative person by nature, this will be the perfect way for you to improve your prospecting tactics. 

Make sure that you stay organized by keeping a detailed list of everyone you meet, their area of expertise, their contact information, what you’ve discussed with them, etc. All the networking in the world won’t get you very far if you don’t have a way to keep your information organized. 

3. Cold Outreach 

Cold outreach is usually what comes to mind when you initially think of prospecting: picking up the phone and cold-calling a potential prospect. Fortunately, cold outreach doesn’t just involve mindless phone calls. You can do research ahead of time to learn more about who you’re contacting and develop your ask. 

First, create a list of contacts. Every city has a public place online where they list pulled permits, and usually, those permits have the contact information for the GC in charge of the project. When you call those general contractors, ask about the permit they just pulled. What project are they working on? Do they have a next job planned? Would they be willing to meet up for lunch sometime? Remember, you need to maintain contact with GCs outside of just the jobs you’re interested in, and your ask doesn’t always have to be a contract or a deal — it can be lunch or coffee, too. 

Remember, you need to maintain contact with GCs outside of just the jobs you’re interested in, and your ask doesn’t always have to be a contract or a deal — it can be lunch or coffee, too.

Cold outreach can also take place online. LinkedIn is a great tool for meeting people, especially if you’re not keen to call contractors outright. You can use their Sales Navigator feature to find contact info for GCs in your city and message them online. 

You can also use email to gather contacts and begin reaching out. If you have Gmail and you know the name of a GC (but not their email address), you can type potential email addresses for them into the search bar until they appear. Once you do email contacts, make sure your emails are clear and personalized. Know your ask, and steer clear of formulating a general email to send to all your prospects.    

Use Your Strengths

Good prospecting tactics are the ones that fit your strengths and personality. Don’t feel pressure to try all of these tactics all at once. Some will feel more natural than others, so identify those strong areas and build on them for the future. 

If in the future you hire someone to do prospecting for you, make sure to look for people who have strengths that don’t match yours.

If in the future you hire someone to do prospecting for you, make sure to look for people who have strengths that don’t match yours. This will help round out your prospecting strategy and allow you to reach more people. 

Curious to develop your prospecting approach further? Check out our prospecting principles article. If you feel ready to take your prospecting and marketing strategies to the next level, then get a Free Growth Assessment with our team.

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