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Prospecting is a Campaign

Prospecting isn’t an event. Prospecting isn’t something that you do one time in an attempt to open an opportunity in a relationship with your dream client. Prospecting is a campaign.

You know I’m still a big fan of cold calling (download my free e-book here). But cold calling by itself isn’t the best of plans. Instead, you might think of a prospecting as a campaign, as component parts that together allow you to open a relationship.

Maybe you start by connecting to your dream client contact on LinkedIn. Maybe you ask someone within your network that knows your perspective dream client to make an introduction. Maybe you follow that up with a “no-ask” value-creating email that provides information that would normally be part of your nurture toolkit (you know the ideas that you share with your dream clients so they know you’re someone worth doing business with). When you send that email, write a note explaining why you think the idea is valuable to your dream client.

Instead of making a call your very next move, maybe send an additional email a week or two later and ask your dream client contact to set-aside 20 minutes for an exploratory conversation to determine whether or not there’s an opportunity for you to meet and share a few additional ideas. Instead of making the ask, end that email by telling your dream client that you’re going to call them in an attempt to schedule that short phone meeting.

And you don’t have to stop there either. Because you’re connected on LinkedIn, and because you have social tools, you can monitor your dream client contact’s activities. If you notice they’re going to a conference or interested in some particular idea, you can suggest a meet and greet or coffee.

It’s a campaign. Think of it as one.

When my primary role was individual contributor I could relentlessly dial the phone and make call after call without ever losing my discipline or enthusiasm for the task. But I understand why this isn’t true for other people. In sales there is no right or wrong; there’s only effective and ineffective. You make choices.

You don’t always have to choose just the telephone and, in fact, that’s not the best idea. Instead think of prospecting as a campaign and build five or six touches in front of that cold call. You may still need to ask five times for the appointment. But you don’t have to make all of those asks one cold call after the next.


What are the component parts of your prospecting campaign?

Why did you choose that order?

How do you open and begin to develop a relationship of value?

Why is a campaign more likely to succeed than a single prospecting method?

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  • Henrik Öquist

    Great piece, Anthony. I think far too many companies still just assemble a moderately thought-through call list for their reps and tell them to go for it.

    What you’re talking about here is a piece of a very early trend in devicing more intelligent processes for gaining (or earning!) a meeting with a client.

    So, one question. On the nurture side I come across a lot of confusion from sales people who think they should’nt have to nurture their prospects. That’s marketings job! They’ve got that inbound thingie that nurtures leads until they’re “sales ready” and then they’re magically qualified and pretty much good to make an informed buying decision.

    What are your thought on the distinction of sales nurture vs marketing nurture?

    (Personally I’d love to see an entire blog post about it. :)

    Thanks for a great post and blog!


    • S. Anthony Iannarino

      When a salesperson tries to create value by sharing value-creating ideas with their prospects and clients, it’s nurturing. When marketing does it, at its best it’s marketing, at its worst it’s spam.

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