How to Prospect for New Customers (Wrong Answers Only)

  1. Harvest people’s email addresses from the Internet and add them to your email list without their permission. People love it when you do this.
  2. Put it on them to unsubscribe if they don’t want your emails. You’ve done all the hard work, after all; clearly it’s their responsibility to unsubscribe if they don’t want the benefit of your insights.
  3. Pummel your potential customers with repeated emails about the same topic. If you don’t send me at least one email every other day about the same thing, I seriously question your commitment!
  4. Don’t forget to ask, “If you aren’t the right person, please tell me who is.” Trust me on this one. The only thing people like more than getting pummeled by unsolicited emails is subjecting their unsuspecting associates to the same thing. (Unless they don’t like their associates but that’s another issue).
  5. Be sure to ask questions like: “Didn’t you see my last email?” “Are you still there?” “What happened? I’ve been waiting for your response!” or “Clearly, you didn’t see my last email.” You can’t possibly be a real salesperson if you don’t ask these delightfully daffy questions.
  6. Pretend you’ve worked together before by saying something like, “Hey, I want to reconnect…” It puts people at ease if they feel like you’ve got an established relationship.
  7. It doesn’t matter if you have never spoken to them and know nothing about their work loads, send them an email proposing a day and time for an appointment to talk. Most people are positively giddy to change their busy schedules to accommodate a complete and total stranger who is trying to sell them something.
  8. DO NOT assume they read the email where you say: “This is our final attempt at contacting you…” Be sure to send that one at least 10 times.

Have I left anything out? 

Please share your stories, but please do not embarrass anyone. This is meant to be a humorous discussion we can all learn from, not something that might embarrass individuals.  

David Seibert is president of The Seibert Group, a consulting and training organization for businesses that respond to RFPs from other businesses and from SLED (state/local government and education) agencies.


The Seibert Group provides a range of services:

·         Online proposal training

·         Onsite proposal training

·         Proposal and business development consulting services   


David authored Proposal Best Practices and The Sales Manager’s Guide to RFPs, he publishes Dave’s Blog about proposal and business development topics, and he is a regular speaker at numerous webinars, seminars, and conventions.


You can contact Dave at [email protected]. You can also follow Dave on LinkedIn.


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