Prospect marketing

Selling? Get Smart

American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG)

Oftentimes, generating a prospect can be far less challenging than actually touting it to potential buyers.

Marketing your “baby” requires considerable moxie, in addition to the necessary geological smarts.

This is especially true at the many prospect expos that have proliferated in different areas. This fairly rapid growth in numbers was no doubt encouraged in large part by the highly successful NAPE, which debuted in Houston in 1993 and has since expanded to other regions of the country.

Such events provide wide audiences for your sales pitch – but intense preparation is more essential than ever to justify the expense of setting up shop.

Independent Houston-based geologist and AAPG member Robert Pledger has spent a number of years generating, marketing and selling prospects. He noted that NAPE, for example, costs on average $75 for each showing of a prospect if you’re “in town” and $165 or more if you’re traveling.

“Make sure you get your ‘bang for the buck’ at NAPE,” Pledger encouraged.

For starters, keep in mind that you will be addressing a variety of audiences at an expo.

According to Pledger these can include:

  • An oil company seeking deals in a specific area.
  • An oil company trying to feed its own knowledge base.
  • Business people with money looking for someone with whom they want to conduct business.
  • Friends who want to see what you’re doing.

“Each has a different purpose and a different view of what you’re trying to do,” Pledger noted. “Each has their goals, which aren’t always yours, and you have to talk to those goals – you have to try to get an understanding of what they’re looking for.”

Rules of Engagement

Once you complete a presentation of your prospect, Pledger suggests that you watch eyeballs and listen to what your audience is saying.

“You may be giving them a story that doesn’t fit where they want to go,” he said. “For instance, they may be looking for development deals in an unconventional resource base and you’re selling a wildcat in the Hackberry – you’re wasting time.

“Get the presentation to where it’s succinct, there’s no fumbling and the key information can be seen from the floor because there will be a crowd around the booth,” he noted.

“They have to see what the idea is.”

He emphasized the advantageous approach he acquired from reading the Milo Frank book about getting your point across in 30 seconds or less, or else lose your audience.

“I have a 30 second spiel I give to someone,” Pledger said, “and if it fits what they’re looking for, then we go into the five minute spiel – and then likely on to more detail.

“I don’t present the actual prospect in the booth,” he commented. “But I do give out the executive summary – it’s likely better to get together in an uninterruptible environment to really get into it.”

He noted that when dealing with a financial person, the executive summary shows the cost up front, net revenue, ROI and amount of reserves. This enables the money person to risk the deal, price the reserves or whatever else is necessary toward that end.

Including maps with the executive summary is a must-do, lest someone recall an interesting prospect but remember little about it.

You Must Remember This …

Pledger emphasized the rules of ethics when it comes to marketing prospects:

  • Your audience has faith in you to properly and fairly represent your prospect to them. Make sure they clearly understand the technical risk – as you understand it – of your prospect.
  • Do not withhold or understate the risk on your prospect in order to satisfy your desire to get your prospect drilled.

He followed this with a somewhat sobering reminder, saying:

  • We don’t always generate “good” prospects.
  • Sometimes we generate “average” prospects that in our opinion may not have the qualities of a “good” prospect but still should be drilled from an economic and risk/reserve viewpoint.
  • “Good” prospects can end up dry holes.
  • “Average” prospects can find oil and gas.

u Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Robert Pledger
Robert Pledger

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