Prospecting & Lead Generation Pt 1 – Prospecting



Every business needs customers willing to pay for the product or service the business provides. Finding and cultivating new customers should be a never-ending process for any business with a desire to succeed. Surprisingly, many businesses either take a lackadaisical approach, do the bare minimum necessary, or simply overlook prospecting and lead generation.

Prospecting and lead generation, while critical, does not need to be a complex process in order to be effective. Quite the contrary; a business with the commitment and mindset to consistently nurture leads and prospects has already crossed one of the biggest hurdles. Renowned author and businessman William Clement Stone said, “Sales are contingent on the attitude of the salesman, not the attitude of the prospect.”

This article is the first in a series dedicated to successful prospecting and lead generation. People sometimes ask about the difference between these two. The simplest definition is that lead generation is a one-to-many activity, such as sending out a direct mailer, and prospecting is a one-to-one activity, like a phone call. However, after working with hundreds of clients, my advice is to consider prospecting and lead generation holistically, because both are required for success. This first article is a broad view of prospecting.

Prospecting is essential to any sales endeavor but is often overlooked or poorly implemented. In order for prospecting to be successful, it is essential that it becomes both a priority and a habit. Additionally, it is essential to understand your prospect and choose your methods of communication appropriately. Implementing these steps will help to improve prospecting results.

Make It a Priority

Although everyone knows that the prospecting is important to the success of any company that relies on sales, it rarely becomes a priority. It is often put off in favor of tasks that provide instant gratification. Prospecting must become a priority. This requires:

  • Scheduling: Choose a time for prospecting. Many experts advise people to schedule prospecting early in the day, but you need to choose the time that is effective for you and your prospects
  • Preparation: Prepare what you will say ahead of time but be flexible. Do not simply read a script.
  • Professionalism: Remain professional throughout the process. Do not allow an internal negative attitude towards prospecting affect your communication. Similarly, don’t take it personally should you encounter negativity from prospects.

Identify Your Ideal Prospect

Prospecting is time-consuming, which is why it is necessary to identify ideal prospects before beginning the process. Your ideal prospect is your ideal customer. Your company is able to fulfill the needs and wants of your ideal customer. Conduct research to determine who benefits from your product or service. The information you must find beyond how your business meets client needs includes the following:

  • Values and priorities
  • Budgets
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Buying habits
  • Profession
  • Interests

Once you have identified the ideal customer, you will be able to focus time on prospects who are likely to become your customers.

Choose Prospecting Methods

There are numerous prospecting methods available, which will be addressed in greater depth in a later newsletter. While you will probably choose multiple methods of prospecting, you must focus your energy on methods that your prospects will respond to when they are exposed to them. For example, younger prospects are less likely to respond to cold calling and more likely to respond to social networking and webinars. The better your research on your ideal prospect, the better you can select the best prospecting methods! Prospecting methods commonly used include:

  • Cold calling
  • Referrals
  • Content marketing
  • Email marketing
  • Networking
  • Seminars
  • Social networking
  • Webinars
  • Advertising

Every method is considered a “touch”. It will take multiple touches to convert a prospect into a client. Be sure to provide value in every touch you make with a prospect – how your product or service will ultimately make their life better or easier.

Make It a Habit

It is not enough for prospecting to become a priority; it must become a habit. There is a common misconception that habits are easily made within 21 days. Recent studies, however, show that it takes roughly 66 to 200 days. When you first decide to make a new habit, the first few days are easy. After the honeymoon phase ends, it is easy to become disillusioned and fall back into old habits. When this happens, it is important to focus on the positive outcomes and follow your schedule of prospecting activities. After struggling through this phase, prospecting will become second nature. In order to truly make prospecting a habit, you need to ensure that you are working at it daily.


By Christine R. Spray

Photo: ID 5122591 © James Steidl |

Leading through change


Leading Through Change

At Strategic Catalyst, we do believe great leaders can be made because we’ve seen it happen with hundreds of our clients. The Leadership in the Workplace series we just wrapped up focused on traits of leaders and strategies to sharpen leadership skills. These strategies are intended to build the person in the leadership role. With a strong leader in place, it’s time to assess the current business landscape and identify what is needed to propel the business to the next level.

“The next level” will vary by business – it may be penetrating a new market, increased net revenue, adding key staff, or redefining the corporate culture. Such changes can stir a range of emotions in employees; fear, anger, anxiety, and tension are common and can stop progress dead in its tracks if left unchecked. Leadership can be a lonely road when charting through such changes. Strategic Catalyst can be the objective coach and mentor to navigate leaders along the emotional path to the next level.

Create a leadership action plan

Working together, our first step is to define the action plan needed to ensure a leader is equipped to address the challenges ahead:

  • Set Leadership Goals
    In leadership, as in life, you will never come to the end of your learning, but you want to rank in priority order those qualities you want to develop.
  • Address the Goals
    Determine how you will accomplish your goals. Do you feel you need to learn more about teamwork so you can better lead a team? Join a team sport. Do you want to communicate better? Take a creative writing class or join Toastmasters and get some public speaking experience.
  • Seek Inspiration
    Learn about a variety of leaders, their styles and how they dealt with challenges. Read books and conduct research on the internet or at libraries.
  • Choose a Role Model
    Based on your research; choose a role model that fits your personality. Read several biographies and find videos on his or her life.
  • Seek Experience
    Take a leadership role in a social group or club. Gain experience working with people on many levels.
  • Create a Personal Mission Statement
    Imagine your legacy. What do you want to be remembered for? What do you want people to think of you? What kind of leader are you determined to be? Write a statement that defines who you will become.

Be the change

In their book, The Leadership Challenge, authors Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner identified five abilities that were crucial to successful leadership:

  • Model the Way
    You must lead by example. You can’t come into work 10 minutes late every day if you want your employees to arrive on time.
  • Inspire a Shared Vision
    If you capture the imagination, you will inspire creative thought and increase loyalty.
  • Challenge the Process
    Don’t continue doing something just because “We’ve always done it that way.” Situations change, and sometimes a policy or procedure never worked well in the first place. Think outside the box.
  • Enable Others to Act
    Truly empower people to act on their own within their level of authority.
  • Encourage the Heart
    A positive attitude is infectious.

Understand your leadership style

Christine works with leaders to identify their leadership style, and how to leverage it. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership model addresses four types of leadership styles:

  • Telling
  • Selling
  • Participating
  • Delegating


Identify SMART goals

You are prepared as a leader to be the champion everyone in the business needs to follow in order to reach the next level. Now is the time to identify what that next level is and define the parameters of success around it. List the SMART goals and be sure to share them with everyone in the business. Remember the emotions employees may be feeling and help them understand what’s in it for them as the changes are being implemented.

  • Specific: The vision itself is general while the goals are specific targets to be met.
  • Measurable: Goals must be measurable in terms of progress and attainment.
  • Attainable: Clearly, a goal which cannot be met is not a goal, it is an idea.
  • Realistic: A goal may be attainable, but not with the resources at hand.
  • Timely: All goals need to be accomplished within an established time frame.

Change is not easy. People don’t like it. Leaders must be willing to walk alone because some of the team who started the journey with you will not finish with you. And that’s OK. Strategic Catalyst is here to help.

By Christine R. Spray

Photo: ID 128940008 © Daniil Peshkov |