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I hate prospecting

Don't you hate prospecting? Cold calling, fighting your way past receptionists, leaving never-to-be-answered voice mail, scouring the yellow pages.. maybe some people actually enjoy that (thrill of the hunt?) but I sure don't.

Which might explain why I've never done any.

Well, that's not true. Before I worked for myself, I had jobs where I had to do that kind of thing. But that was a long, long time ago. For my consulting business, I've never done it.

Ah, gosh, that's not quite true either. I have done prospecting, but I did it indirectly: I let other people do it for me. For example, back in the early days of small computers, there were stores like Radio Shack that sold systems. The salespeople didn't really know much, but they wanted to sell. I'd visit the stores, and hang with the sales team. I let them know what I could do to help them sell, and they did the rest. No cold calling for me.

In more recent years, I don't bother with any of that. Oh, if I happen to be in a computer store, I'll drop off my card, but I don't go out of my way to do it. Nowadays I rely entirely on word of mouth and contacts from my web sites. Often that bypasses the sales types and the actual customer calls me, but the better sales people are involved in their customer's problems so I sometimes get calls from them also.

I guess I really don't hate prospecting - I just do it differently.

Life is too short to be doing things you hate. On the other hand, some things just have to be done. You need something that brings in new work, and if cold calling is the only way that's going to happen, then that's what you have to do. But don't resign yourself to an unhappy chore without at least trying to find alternatives.

Maybe a web site would work for you, or a web site combined with web advertising. Web advertising (Google or Yahoo ads such as what you see here) can be as inexpensive as you need it to be, and it's easy to track the effectiveness of it: you know how many clicks you paid for, and you know how many of those turn into new business.

If it doesn't work, well, pick up that phone and get back to the cold calls.

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I think there is a world market for maybe five computers. (Thomas Watson, Chairman of IBM, 1943)

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