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What Do Your Prospects Really Want? Ask Them

January 22, 2015

What Do Your Prospects Want Postcard Targeting

Ask any successful entrepreneur for the most important source of information they found while growing their business and you’ll get a familiar answer: their customers.

Customer feedback is a hugely important aspect of business growth. It’s one of the most important elements of the Lean Startup movement and a favorite of successful entrepreneurs and marketers the world over. 

Getting customer feedback is relatively easy – that is, if your business has customers to ask for feedback. But what about if your business is small and only just starting to engage in the type of direct marketing that produces customers and income?


Why you should ask your prospects what they want

Every year, thousands of potentially successful marketing campaigns fail because of assumptions. Marketers assume, often erroneously, that they know better than their prospective customers about what they want and how to market their products.

Instead of the top-down approach – designing a campaign and then marketing it – it can be far more effective to take a bottom-up approach to marketing by asking their prospects what they want in a product and then creating their campaign.

Asking your prospects what they want in a product, service, or offer is surprisingly simple. It’s also immensely valuable for your business, providing insight that your internal marketing team may never have been able to come up with on its own.


How to survey your prospects and generate insight

Cold selling is hard. It’s something every salesperson fears, and rightly so. Getting turned down by a prospect drains your energy and, when you’re selling something new and unproven, can do serious damage to your company’s confidence.

Asking a prospect for information, however, is a lot easier. By connecting with your prospects and asking them for feedback on your product before you start marketing it, you achieve two very powerful things:

  • You neutralize the natural aversion that prospects have of being cold sold on a product, making it easier to sell to the same people or companies once your campaign is ready.
  • You also gain insight and information about your product and market from the most valuable source of all – the people and companies who’ll be using your product in the future.


Cold calls, emails and other ways to survey prospects

Before you start interviewing prospects, interview your existing customers to find out why they chose you. You might get a wide range of answers – some customers might work with you for your service, while others might care more about price.

Once you’ve gained feedback from your existing customers, start reaching out to your prospects. If your prospects operate online, use a cold email. If they’re local businesses, try cold calling them or dropping into their store for a quick chat.

The key to receiving insightful feedback (and avoiding sales aversion) is making it clear that you’re not trying to sell your product or service. Ask for feedback and it’s likely you’ll get it, along with a great lead to market your offer to in the future.


Putting your prospects’ feedback into action

Feedback can be a powerful tool for your next small business postcard marketing campaign. With the right feedback, you can hone your message and deliver direct mail postcards that touch on your prospect’s problems and business pain points.

Asking your prospects for feedback might seem like an unnecessary step or delay, but it’s arguably the most important step of all in the direct marketing process. An understanding of prospects lets you deliver a more targeted, effective campaign.