There are two distinct types of target lists that you should maintain:
- a primary target list
- a mailing list or contact database
Primary Target List
Your primary target list includes the people you should contact first. These are the people whom you like and who you believe have the highest potential of leading to new business.
Mailing List or Contact Database
Your mailing list or contact database includes all of your contacts, including your longer-term targets. Selling is a numbers game. The more quality targets that you stay in touch with over time, the more likely you are to be successful in your selling effort. So it makes sense to keep the names of all of your potential targets in your mailing list. Later, as you become more knowledgeable with the selling process, you can review your mailing list to determine whether or not to purge some of them.
Don’t Omit Names
As you build your contact database, you will probably feel tempted to omit some of the names that you come across. You may not see them as worthwhile targets. Or you may feel skeptical about your ability to approach them in a comfortable manner.
However, we urge you to resist the temptation to dismiss names too quickly. Even if someone isn’t a target right now, circumstances change. Over time, you may develop new services to offer. Your prospects’ needs, authority, and financial situations may change. Their perceptions about the value that you offer may change.
Even prospects who are currently being served by your competition may be long-term targets and worth keeping in your mailing list. Your competitors may make mistakes. They could go out of business. You may have specialized skills that your competitors don’t possess. Of course, if your prospects are happy with the competition, you shouldn’t expect them to commit treason. But should circumstances change, you want to be positioned in the minds of your targets as the next provider of choice.
Having the names of your targets in a mailing list gives you the ability to stay in touch with your targets over a long period of time. This increases the likelihood that your targets will be thinking of you when the timing is right.
For more marketing tips, check out our book Selling in Your Comfort Zone.