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Penetrating the Marketplace

By Harry Frisch

The first step of Penetration Selling, Prospecting, is defined simply as locating someone to sell something to.  This is where the sales process begins.  This is the step in which you, or your organization, locates some likely prospects to whom you can sell your wares.  This is ordinarily done by seeking out prospects who are already well aware of their need or want for what you are offering, or by taking steps to createa desire for your products within your marketing area.

For example, if you were selling a new set of automobile tires, you would want to locate those members of your market public who are already in need of new tires, and are already aware of their need.  Or, if you were pioneering a new product, such as the newest generation of cell phone, into your marketplace, for which there is not yet a demand, you would need to take effective steps to create prospects by creating a desire and demand for your product.

The key barriers one is running into in the Prospecting step are:  

  • How to effectively reach out to one’s prospects, and
  • How to attract a response from these prospects once they’ve been reached.  

Here one is interested in attracting response from both the actual prospects -- those already aware of their need for what is being offered, and already having a level of interest in acquiring it, as well as from the potential prospects -- those in whom an interest can be developed for what is being offered.

But how does one go about penetrating these barriers?  In Penetration Selling, the key tool used to accomplish these tasks is communication.

At a number of points in the sales process, “listening” is the salesperson’s key to success.  But when Prospecting, the main direction of your communication needs to be outward.  Prospecting is mainly an operation of outflowing!  To ensure a sufficient number of prospects, one needs to outflow communicate in whatever quantity it takes to get the job done.

Whether you are operating as a sole practitioner, and have to make all of your own phone calls, send all of your own emails, and design and deliver all of the flyers yourself; or you are backed up by a marketing department that is doing these things for you, in Penetration Selling, the name of the game for effective Prospecting is lots of outflow.

One of the greatest barriers in Prospecting is knowing what will be the most effective message to communicate in your sales promotions!  What can you say that will get the potential prospect to respond to your sales promotion -- to reach back and identify himself?  For example, should you say that your tires “Last longer than any other”?  Or would you get a better response if you mention that you have “The lowest prices in town”?  Or perhaps if you let them know that you have “The best warranty available”?

In the wide world of Marketing, one discovers that there are some very highly effective techniques for eliciting responses to one’s sales promotions.  To name a few:  There is the use of “urgency” (giving the prospect an irresistible reason to step up and inquire now), “frequency” (the technique of repeating your promotional message over and over again) and “ease of response” (providing your potential prospects with a relatively effortless way to call or write-in with a response to your sales promotion). 

There is much that could be said, and much that has been written, on the subject of how best to go about penetrating the barriers one runs into on the Prospecting step.  But be assured that, as long as you:

  • Truly understand what key barriers you are going up against when Prospecting, and you
  • Have a firm understanding of what the most workable principles are for penetrating through those barriers,

you should find yourself with a constant and plentiful supply of viable prospects for the goods and services you are offering.



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