I hate prospecting. I hate picking up the phone and making calls. I hate walking into a room full of people I don’t know and talking about myself.
But I have to. I have to prospect for new clients all the time. It is a fact of life for an entrepreneur like me. It is also a fact of life for job seekers.
Face it. Finding a job is a numbers game. You have to find more people to build relationships with people who can help you find that elusive job that is right for you. You are prospecting exactly like I am! Our goals are a little different but the process is exactly the same.
Let’s take a deeper look at prospecting for opportunities to see if there is a way to make prospecting a little easier. Instead of cold calling and lots of big, faceless networking meetings, let’s change our definition. I like this definition much better:
“Prospecting is a perpetual search for new customers by initiating contact with likely buyers through a series of relationship building activities, including:” phone calls, visits, mail, voice mail, and social events.”
Notice the key words:
- Perpetual – Prospecting is forever. You can’t just network for this job. Job search networking will be a part of your life forever. We are all just one meeting away from finding our next job. You will need your network forever so start accepting that idea.
- Likely buyers – Just like a small business person, when you network you are looking for likely buyers, people who will be helpful, people who know someone or something you need to know. These are your targets.
- Series – Prospecting / networking is an ongoing project so consider your activities to be a series, not just one touch. It takes several touches to make this work. You should set goals and measure your progress in outreach and networking activities.
- Relationship building activities – Your goal is to build relationships not just reach out and touch someone. Just collecting LinkedIn contacts is not sufficient. You must do something with your contacts – you must build relationships so people know who you are. You must be prepared to give people what they need in order to get what you need. Those relationship building activities take many forms. Don’t confine yourself to LinkedIn contacts or networking meetings. You should be having lots of coffee to get to know people!
What are you doing to turn your contacts into relationships?
How are you helping your contacts so you can build relationships to find new opportunities?