Sounds like a weird metaphor, right? But building a prospect list is actually a lot like growing a garden. With both prospect lists and gardens, you plant “seeds,” give them attention, do some weeding, and care for those “seeds” consistently.

SONY DSCThe first step is to begin planting.
For a garden, you’d buy seeds based on what kind of garden you would like: do you want a vegetable harvest, herbs, or simply beautiful flowers?

With creating a prospect list, you would determine what kind of information your target market is looking for. How are you going to reach them – are you going to have an irresistible offer on your site? Are you going to put together educational webinars? Set goals for yourself – how many people do you want on that list and what’s the timeframe? Once you have the list you’ll want to start effectively beginning your communication or “planting seeds.”

After that initial contact, your prospect list – just like your garden – needs constant attention.
Just as you might check on the seeds in your garden to see that they grow properly, you need to cultivate relationships with your prospect list. There are great ways to do this through social media platforms like LinkedIn or facebook and certainly consistent email marketing. For those especially important prospects or referral sources, don’t rule out personalized, real-world connections such as phone calls, lunch or coffee meetings, and handwritten notes which make a nice touch.

In the midst of building these connections and giving your “seeds” constant attention, you’ll want to help them grow and spread. What kind of information or resources can you provide to your prospects? Is there new technology they should know about? Are their new products or services that will help them solve their problems (including yours!)? Educate them, entertain them and get them excited, and they will help you grow.

Give them great information and encourage them to share it with their friends, family, co-workers, fellow business owners, etc. They can help you ‘spread.’ Be sure to tell them how to share (forward our email to a friend, click the share button on facebook, etc.). Maybe make them a special offer for sharing your information. You’ll be building great, mutually beneficial relationships with others.

In a garden, it’s important to plant your seeds, give them attention and then help them spread and grow. Be sure to provide them enough water, sunlight, and nutrients (information, tips, resources, etc.).

So building your prospect is actually a lot like growing a garden. Plant, attend, and help it grow!

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