Catersource is part of the Informa Connect Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them. Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

6 Steps to Prospect in 15 Minutes

Yes, I have come up with a way for you to prospect in 15 minutes, but the first time you try it, it’s going to be more like an hour while you figure things out. I did a little survey to find out how many salespeople are prospecting regularly, and I was pretty surprised to discover that the majority rarely do so. This means they aren’t finding new clients, and I get it. There aren’t enough hours in the day and there is so much to do, but this is also our job. You should always be searching for your next customer. If they are coming to your business effortless, that’s great but then you’re an order taker.

The six steps that follow are designed to bring in new business in a proactive and strategic way.


Step 1: CRM

What does this stand for? Customer Relationship Management. This is the tool you use to keep track of everything, from the list of clients to who is dealing with them at the moment. It’s an excellent way to determine which customers are being taken care of, which need some attention, and those that don’t have a designated salesperson. This way, you can snap them up quickly and get straight into the game.

Step 2: Company website

For corporate clients, take a look at their website. It will show you what they do, the way they interact with others, and will give you (generally) good insight. You can look for the company story and core values, as well as the content of their blogs, to understand their background, as well as their beginning. Usually, websites will give you reasonable access to the company social media accounts as well, which can be handy for information gathering.

Step 3: LinkedIn

This is such an underrated social media platform. You can learn so much about a person and the company they work for through it. Take a look at their recent posts and updates to their profile, but also spend time browsing their awards, publications, and achievements. You can see if there is anything on their LinkedIn that you have in common, as this will help to build a stronger connection and speed up the process. It shows you know who they are, and it’s just a fantastic professional platform overall.

Step 4: Social media

We’re in the digital age, and that means social media reigns. Instagram is a significant platform to follow people, whether it’s clients or competitors. You can save hashtags related to your business and keep an eye on them for ideas and help you get the word out about your company. Other than that, it would be best if you learned what your clients are posting. What is important to them, and is it something you can relate to? Social media is a fast and easy way to learn about your customers, and it only takes a couple of minutes to get through.

Step 5: Competitors

Competitor pages are essential as well because they allow you to get further insight into your client and what makes them tick. Take a look around and see what makes each of them different from the other. On the plus side, you may even end up gaining another customer through this, widening your client base even more.

Step 6: Gatekeeper

This is an obstacle you need to overcome, and you can do so using kindness. The gatekeeper is the person who answers the phone, blocking your access to those in charge and those who can say yes to your ideas. You should work to befriend the gatekeeper, maybe even sending a little gift, as this will soften their approach. That way, you will often find that they are the ones telling their boss to give you a go. The good news is that most people listen to what the gatekeeper has to say.

Once you have the practice down, you will find that this whole process doesn’t take more than 15 minutes to complete. They are quite simple steps, and this is why they are so often overlooked during sales methods. As a salesperson, it is down to you to make a connection with the customer and show them that you care. Similarly, you should be searching for new ones every day and interacting with them; you can’t afford your client pool to go stagnant.

Meryl Snow

Owner, Feastivities Events, Philadelphia, PA and Senior Consultant, Certified Catering Consultants

With nearly 30 years in the special event and catering industry, Meryl Snow is the co-founder of Feastivities Events and the creator of The Triangle Method.  As a Senior Consultant for Certified Catering Consultants, Meryl travels throughout North America training clients in the areas of sales, marketing, design and branding to help businesses get on their own path to success.She is the author of Booked It! and Cha-CHING!

Meryl Snow

Catersource Advisory Council Member

Founder of