Sales prospecting is the act of recruiting or seeking out new customers for a business. Prospecting is a common role of a salesperson. It is associated with a goal of increasing the customer base of the company and generating new revenue streams.
Salespeople use a variety of techniques to find and recruit prospects. Cold calling is a way for new salespeople to drum up business, although established representatives also use it to grow their customer bases. Cold calling means contacting a prospect without any previous relationship or connection. Established salespeople rely on referrals to grow. A referral is a person referred to the salesperson by another prospect or customers. It is common for a rep to ask a satisfied customer to provide names and numbers of other people who may have interest in the product.
Networking is another common technique. Networking involves getting to know people through social or community clubs and other local activities. By building a personal or professional network, a sales representative has an ongoing base of contacts. Real estate and insurance salespeople benefit from networking in a local market, since most people use these services at some point. Sending out direct mail, attending trade shows and placing contact forms on a website are other techniques.