|Q: I know I
need to stay in touch with my prospects to close more sales, but how
can I do that without becoming a pest?
it comes to increasing sales for your business, it's all about
building relationships between your company or brand and your
customers. And since no relationship is based on hit-and-run tactics,
you need a program that combines marketing with sales and "touches"
your prospects repeatedly throughout the sales cycle.
On average, it takes about eight contacts or more with a prospect
before a sale is closed. The trick is to create a blended program of
marketing and sales tactics that incrementally moves your prospects
closer to a buying decision. Think about your prospect database as if
it were split into three groups--cold, warm and hot prospects. Cold
prospects are qualified businesses or individuals that presently know
little or nothing about your company. Warm prospects have previously
been exposed to your message and are familiar with your firm, but
aren't ready to make a purchase. The last group, hot prospects, have
moved through your sales cycle or have come to you by referral and are
the closest to making a buying decision. A well-rounded program must
employ a range of tactics that reach out to prospects in all three
stages, from cold to hot, on a continuing basis.
Open New Doors
The marketing tactics that you select to reach cold, qualified
prospects should excel at opening doors and exposing new prospects to
your message in a motivational way. Advertising, public relations and
direct mail are good tools for introducing new prospects to your
company or product message. Print advertising, for example, allows
sufficient space to educate prospects, and direct mail, with its
multiple inserts and emphasis on detailed information, can help move
cold prospects into the warm category. Online marketing, including
e-mail and opt-in lists, a strong company Web site, and advertising on
related sites and in e-newsletters provide excellent opportunities for
reaching out to cold prospects. Select the marketing tactics that will
work best for your company and combine them with sales activities,
such as networking and cold calls to in-house lists.
Warm up Prospects
Many of the marketing tactics used to reach cold prospects are
excellent at moving warm prospects further along in the sales cycle.
Multiple direct mailings to the same list, for example, are known to
produce higher response rates, and a warm prospect may be converted
into a hot one when he or she reads an article about your company in
the trade press. To reach warm prospects online, send personalized
e-mail to your in-house prospect database. This can be in the form of
an electronic newsletter alternated with product or service messages.
Combine your marketing with sales tactics, including warm calls to
prospect lists, meetings and presentations where appropriate, as well
as individual e-mails and sales letters to select prospects.
Add Heat to Close
Personal selling is often necessary to add the final heat to close
sales. In some cases, e-mail marketing, direct mail or direct response
advertising alone can sell a product or fill seats at a seminar, for
instance. But many types of businesses, particularly those that
provide a product or service through ongoing customer interaction,
can't rely on marketing alone at this stage. So the final step in
building a relationship with a prospect that goes far beyond the
initial sale generally involves combining effective marketing with
one-on-one interpersonal interaction to turn a hot prospect into a
happy customer or client.
About the author:
Kim T. Gordon is an author, marketing coach and media
spokesperson—and one of the country’s foremost experts on
entrepreneurial success. Her newest book,
Bringing Home The Business, identifies the 30 "truths" that can
make the difference between success and failure in a homebased
business. Kim offers one-on-one coaching by telephone to motivated
individuals, providing practical marketing advice and budget-conscious
strategies unique to your business. To receive free how-to articles
and advice, get information on coaching and appearances, read a book
excerpt, or contact Kim, visit
http://www.smallbusinessnow.com, a huge site devoted exclusively
to marketing your small business.
The opinions expressed in this column are those of
the author. All answers are intended to be general in nature, without
regard to specific geographical areas or circumstances, and should
only be relied upon after consulting an appropriate expert, such as an
attorney or accountant.
|As a small business, every opportunity to put your business in
front of prospects must be seized. Let Vehicle Card Pockets help, all the while
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