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Choosing an effective solicitation approach

Remember that the primary goal of solicitation is to convey a message to your target audience in order to make them want to buy your products or services. The purpose of a solicitation plan is to organize the way you market to your target audience.

Solicitation is making contact, attracting attention or generating interest by any means possible in order to inform, survey or sell. Remember that the primary goal of solicitation is to convey a message to your target audience in order to make them want to buy your products or services. The purpose of a solicitation plan is to organize the way you market to your target audience.

Solicitation entails the following steps:

  1. Identifying your target audience (Who?)
  2. Determining the best means of communication (What?)
  3. Determining the goal of solicitation (Why?)
  4. Formulating messages based on your strategies (How?)
  5. Implementing your solicitation strategy
    • Making a solicitation budget (How much?)
    • Soliciting (Execution)
  6. Measuring solicitation results (Feedback)
  1. Identifying your target audience means making a list of the people and businesses you want to contact. You can do this using a variety of resources (company directories, references, business cards from events, etc.). Make sure the potential customers on your list are part of the target audience you want to do business with. You may need to do some checking (meet with potential customers, visit their workplace, get customer references, review credit reports, etc.). This is what is called qualifying your customers.

  2. Determining the best means of communication isn't an easy task. You need to choose a medium that will put you in the best possible light while minimizing any communication shortcomings you may have. Some people prefer to send mailers or emails, while others like to make phone calls or in-person contact.

  3. Determining the goal of solicitation. Are you contacting the potential customer to sell your product or to explain the advantages of doing business with you? Are you looking to set up a meeting to identify the customer's needs? The goal of solicitation will dictate the type of message you want to convey.

  4. Formulating messages based on your strategies. Your messages must be aligned with your objectives. Don't try to do too much at a time. It is best to prepare a separate message for each objective. Messages should be simple, easy to understand and reassuring for customers. When you have multiple types of messages in your repertoire, you can adapt your solicitation to different types of customers.

  5. Implementing your solicitation strategy. You first need to determine how much time and money you have to solicit your potential customers effectively and set a realistic solicitation timeline. Ask yourself the following questions: Of all my solicitation strategies, which of them am I most capable of financially? Physically? Which will have to be carried out by my employees? Which will have to be handled by service providers?

    Then you'll begin soliciting in accordance with your strategies. To maximize your effectiveness, you'll need to stick to your game plan and carry it out systematically. Remember, perseverance and determination are the keys to success. If you identified the right potential customers, chose the right means of communication, formulated the right message and followed through, chances are you'll reach your goals. You've sown the seeds, now wait till the time is ripe to reap the reward! Overnight successes are rare.

  6. Once you are done soliciting, you should periodically measure the results of your plan, i.e., assess whether you reached your objectives and whether the strategies you used were effective. You should also see whether you stuck to your budget and whether the business could have stretched its resources further. To measure your results, you will have to set objective evaluation criteria. It is best to have someone outside the business do this evaluation.

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The tables below will help you organize your solicitation approach.

Communications strategy
Means Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12 Budget

Solicitation table
Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Month 4 Month 5 Month 6 Month 7 Month 8 Month 9 Month 10 Month 11 Month 12 Total
Number of calls
Number of meetings
Number of sales
Projected sales

Customers to solicit
Pre-call Call Call outcome
Company name Address Contact person Title or position Phone no. Date and time Meeting Call back date Transferred Other

Videos

  1. Antonio Drouin(in French only) (1 min 25 s)
  2. Anne-Marie Chagnon(in French only) (2 min 18 s)
  3. François Mainguy (in French only) (1 min 42 s)

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