Choosing the Right Prospect: A 5-Minute Process for Better Outreach

4 minute read

Prospecting can be time-consuming. It’s necessary to grow your business, but spending more time on it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re getting better results.

You’re busy, and you don’t have the time to “waste” on poor prospects. It’s important to invest your time wisely.

What if you could whittle down which prospects were worth your time in less than five minutes? What would that do for your business?

Low Response Rate? How to Raise It

A response rate of 1-3% is considered outstanding in prospecting. That means for every 100 prospects you find, only about one to three of them will get back to you. So, to make the time you spend prospecting as valuable as possible, you want to increase the odds those one to three people are very likely to want to work with you.

How can you make that happen?

You need to contact prospects that are a good fit for you and your business… and who need your services. You can increase the chances of finding people who fit that bill when you follow this simple five-minute method.

A 5-Minute Process to Qualify Your Prospects

The first step is to decide on your project.

This system is ideal for three types of projects:  email messages, social media, and blog posts.

Choose one of those, so you can create a quick-and-easy template.

Once you choose your project, the next step is to focus on companies that need and want what you’re offering.

The key to this system is simple:  Find companies already doing what you want to do.

While a company may be considering adding automated emails, social media posts, or a blog to their marketing, it could be months — or even years — before they actually pull the trigger.

If they already do it, then it’s a good opportunity.

If You Selected Email Messages…

If you want to create emails for a company, figure out if your prospect already sends emails. This may seem surprising, but many companies may not have a need for automated emails. Especially in newer companies, many emails are sent one-to-one instead of through an email service provider.

So, ask yourself, do they have an email sign-up listed? When you visit their website, it should be obvious. Look for companies that have a sign-up form on every page… and especially the home page.

Next step:  Sign up for their list and start paying attention to what they send. As you read the first message, note one or two things you’d improve. This shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.

If they don’t have an email sign-up, skip that prospect for now.

Project Two: Social Media

If you want to write social media for a company, check their website first. Do they have social buttons listed on their website? You’ll start on the site and not a social platform, because if the buttons aren’t on their site, they probably aren’t much invested.

If they do have social media buttons, visit their social media pages. Have they posted within the last month on a particular channel? See what they’ve posted about and their activity. Don’t spend more than two minutes skimming and getting a feel for their presence.

If they only have a single post from two years ago, move on. The goal is to establish if they already use social media and are currently active with it.

Project Three:  Blogging

If you want to write blog posts, look for companies that have an active blog on their site.

It’s fine if their content is posted in more than one place, but you’re specifically looking for companies that host their own blog.

Use the same system as you would use for social media. Are they active and current? If they posted once a year ago and nothing since, they’re not a good prospect right now.

Did they used to post regularly and haven’t in a while? If that’s the case, there’s a chance they’re looking for someone to help.

Now You’re Ready to Get in Touch…

You’ve determined if a company currently uses the type of writing you like to do. Now it’s time to reach out.

Use warm email prospecting, an approach taught by Ed Gandia. (Listen to this excellent podcast from Ed about this method.)

You want to send a personalized message to each prospect. You can create a template, but you’ll tailor it for each prospect, mentioning details from your research.

As an example:

For Email:  I signed up for your newsletter and liked XYZ about the first message.

For Social Media:  I saw you posted about XYZ on Twitter. I agree/disagree because…

For Blogging:  I really enjoyed your latest post on XYZ. You covered the topic well.

Then, ask if they’d be open to working with an outside writer and ask if you should connect.

That’s it.

Each message takes just a couple minutes of research and less than 100 words. But, because you’ve made it personal and your message related to what they’re currently doing, you’ve increased your chances of getting a response.

Regular prospecting is a great way to build your business, and it doesn’t need to take a lot of time. Use this quick system to check if a prospect is a good fit for email, social media, and blogs. And if they are, reach out with a brief, tailored email message.

Do this often, and you’ll begin to fill your client pipeline. Do it consistently, and you’ll always know where your next project is coming from.