Focus your prospecting methods towards building referral sources and watch your sales climb month over month

When we think of effective prospecting, it’s usually in the context of “going after the customer.” Cold calling, segmenting email lists, attending an industry event—all of these are “customer-facing” prospecting methods. But did you know there are more ways to use these methods, which bring steady leads and higher rates of closed deals?

It’s not as mysterious as it sounds. Simply take your prospecting methods and face them towards building referral sources. It’s prospecting for partnerships. Business networks, affiliate opportunities, and promotional space—all can point the right customers to your front door.

prospecting methods

4 Prospecting methods you need to start using right away

1. Specialize so your networks will remember you

There is a lot of noise out there today. There are companies with the same stories, who offer the same services, and advertise very similar products. Opportunities are expanding in one way, yet shrinking in another. How do you stick out?

The answer is specialization. Differentiate yourself from the competition and attract customers who desire what you offer.

You might say, “That will severely limit my audience! I’ll be turning business away!”

That’s the fear that keeps business owners and salespeople exactly where they are. If you don’t specialize in a particular service or niche market, you’re stuck competing with every other “general Joe” out there.

Now let’s get to the benefits. Why do we want to specialize? How will it help your prospecting methods work for networking and building partnerships?

You can pick your partnerships more wisely. How does your specialization match your networks of businesses, influencers, and communities.
Specializing makes you the best choice for your exact offering. You can place yourself with a strategy.

Your referrers know what you do. Their referrals are stronger because they can match a person’s needs with your specialty.
You turn away the wrong customers at the get-go. How many times have you come across a business lead that completely wasted your time? Your narrow focus makes sure your business allies are referring you to the right people.

2. Nail down a memorable elevator pitch so people know how to refer you

A fantastic elevator pitch develops opportunities in two ways:

  • When you use it in-person, it clearly describes what you do, why it’s valuable, and how it could benefit your prospect.
  • It allows your prospect (in this case, a referral source) to repeat the pitch and clearly describe it to a prospect. It’s a clear message that gets passed to the right people.

Have you worked on your ten-second elevator pitch? Is it so amazing that anyone who heard it could repeat it to another person? If not, your prospecting methods failed before they began. Get out your drawing board and start brainstorming.


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The core elements of a ten-second pitch are easy to remember; the tough part is writing it down and revising the pitch to perfection. Start out by asking probing questions about your business and what it offers. Write down your answers and then begin vocalizing and shortening them.

What is the problem your product or service fixes for the target audience?

  • How do you provide a solution? (Explain what you do).
  • Why did you start this business and what’s your aim? (Explain your story).
  • What proof of quality can you provide? (What makes you credible?)

3. Equip your business allies with crucial info and ways to contact you

Consistent referrals from affiliates and partnerships make for higher rates of closed deals. It’s one of the smartest prospecting methods available for small business owners. However, it’s so important to channel your referrals quickly and get them to contact you ASAP.

The basics of selling still apply: you must give a reason for the referral to take action, and make it easy for her to do so.

First, equip your chosen partnerships with a relevant, personal, and exclusive selling proposition. Make your referrals—from these select sources—feel as though they’d miss out if they didn’t follow up with you. Give them a reason to act now.

Second, make it easy for referrals to contact you and engage with your business. Provide professionally designed brochures and information packets, and attach a business card. Give your personal phone number, email, hours of operation, and location of your office.

4. Build networks to their fullest potential—take depth over width

Developing a high-quality group of business networks and partnerships is a challenge. It takes time, effort, and persistence (just like anything worth doing that pays off big)!

Choosing to work with a business or influencer in your market is a big decision. When you begin to build that mutually beneficial relationship, you have to nurture it. Otherwise, it will never grow.

You’re better off focusing on building the potential of one referral source than spreading yourself thin across many. Choose wisely and commit to making it a consistent resource.

Furthermore, you have to move past the soft forms of networking. You have to get out there and meet people (all other prospecting methods fall flat if you’re not willing to promote yourself in-person).

Should your LinkedIn profile be consistent and active? Yes.

Should your website look professional and offer great information and content? Yes.

Should you sit at home and only focus on “online” prospecting methods? No.

Get creative with how you connect with people and put that elevator pitch to use.


lead-managerlead-managerWant to follow up with your best referral leads in an instant? Schedule a free demo of our sales follow-up software and see how it works!


Have you strategized your business partnerships? Tell us your story!