The Survey Approach to Prospecting

If you have access to a postal mailing list for potential clients, I suggest sending them a simple, one-page letter of introduction then following up with a phone call. [Even better, if you can network with someone else who already does business with the people you’re trying to approach, get their permission to send the letter under their name.] If you have access to email lists, consider using those addresses in a similar manner.

The letter needs to be personalized with the recipient’s name. Don’t send letters with a salutation of “Dear Friend” or “To Whom It May Concern”. Here’s a sample letter derived from my book, Sales Prospecting for Dummies.

        Good morning, Mr. & Mrs. Barrett,

                 Thank you for the opportunity to introduce myself and my company, Clean & Clear, a professional window cleaning
service serving the West Phoenix area. With the holidays behind us and decorations being stored away, it’s time for a
fresh outlook on the New Year. Our 200+ satisfied clients are choosing to view that outlook through crystal clear
windows and mirrors in their homes and offices.

                 Since our teams are already scheduled to be in your neighborhood this month, we are offering you a free sample
window cleaning, large or small, inside and out, along with an estimate to brighten your entire home. Our company is
licensed, bonded and insured. Our service technicians are friendly and guaranteed drug- and smoke-free.

                 I will be calling you within the next day or two to answer any questions you might have about our service and to ask
you two quick questions as part of a survey we are conducting in the area. Thank you in advance for your time and


        Jane Smith

Wait a couple of days after sending the letters before calling. When Mr. or Mrs. Barrett answers the phone, identify yourself and ask if they received your letter of introduction. You won’t know which person may have read the letter or who the decision-maker is at this time. If Mr. Barrett says he’s never seen it, apologize for any confusion and ask to speak to Mrs. Barrett. If she hasn’t seen the letter either (some people just don’t open their mail on a regular basis), say, That’s fine, Mrs. Barrett, the purpose of the letter was to introduce myself and ask, if you wouldn’t mind answering two quick survey questions for me. We are a local small business serving many of the homes/offices in your neighborhood.

Then go right into asking your first question. It should be one that makes them think and gives you more than a yes or no answer.

        1. Since our service enhances the brightness of your home/office, what thoughts come to mind as you look at or through your windows? The normal reaction to this question will be for them to look at or through the closest window. Even if they hadn’t paid any attention to it for months, they will now. You’ve just drawn their attention to a challenge they may not have known they had.

Now, you offer the solution with your second question.

        2. How would you feel about a free sample window cleaning, large or small, inside and out, along with an estimate to brighten your entire home?

If they’re interested, pursue the opportunity to meet them and provide the estimate all the while mentioning the benefits of your service, the professionalism of your teams, and, if necessary, similar situation stories of satisfied clients.

If they’re not interested, ask permission to touch base with them at a later date and time and to send them your contact information should a situation arise that causes them to see the need for your service.

This information is copyrighted by Tom Hopkins International, Inc. for reprint permission, contact Judy Slack (



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  1. Are they donating to your cause in-state? If so, you will have to graciously thank them and move on to another potential donor. A good question to ask would be: “I’m curious, what is your motivation for donating to causes (or charities)?” When they tell you why the donate, point out how your organization meets that need.

  2. tommy horndt says:

    great advice. i want lots more. thanks.

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