The first step for a firm that is targeting prospects is to identify the different groups of prospects, and decide how they are going to be targeted.
Directly targeted prospects
These are the small groups of companies that firms should personally target for approaching during the year. Firms need to select businesses they are familiar with and feel most comfortable approaching.
Passively targeted prospects
These are the indirectly targeted prospects that are referred to a firm by a firm’s network of clients and referral sources. Although a firm doesn’t target these prospects directly, a firm indirectly targets them when making clear to referral sources and clients, exactly what type of client they are seeking.
Since no firm has the resources to prospect every company in its potential database, the vast majority of prospects are non-targeted. Nevertheless, they remain prospects, and provide a pool from which future targeted prospects might be drawn.
To run a successful prospecting program, a firm needs knowledge of their prospects, information on other firms competing for these prospects and methods for reaching these prospects. To gain prospect knowledge, a firm should answer the following questions:
- What does a prospect look for in an accounting firm?
- Why does a prospect consider changing accounting firms?
- When does a prosect consider changing accounting firms?
- How does a prospect choose an accounting firm?
- Where are the prospects?
- Who should I speak with?
This “what, why, when, how, where, and who” is the key to successful prospecting.