3 cool ways to get in the door of your prospect or client…
1. Use Direct Mail:
Here is why. A client of mine was hoping to get new business generated in the corporate training sector. Her sales were flat, and she needed to break through the door in a more profound way. After discussing the problems related to this loss of income my client had a choice: she could give up the business, or she could market aggressively to gain the volume back through new customers. This client chose the second option, though she believed she knew (and in many cases, did business with), all the major prospects within a 20-mile radius of her office.
Our first step was to see if this was true. Using the Internet, we identified 43 companies with more than 500 employees within 20 miles of her location. We could pinpoint the companies that she was interested in approaching and wanted as clients.
Do you know all the key prospects in your area?
I often find that as small business owners we don’t spend enough time doing research. We sometimes think we know and sell to all the key prospects in our city or region only to discover after a little homework that we only know a few and haven’t even tapped into the wealth of prospects out there.
To check your prospect IQ, try two search tools to discover the names of the largest employers in your area. I like Scott’s Directory (although you may find some local directory listing businesses online on an economic development website). Also, if you go to your local Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Office they can present more listings as well.
Target the campaign
Now that my client could identify the prospects with which she wished to do business, she developed a campaign to reach those companies by marketing to 15 contacts in each of several campaigns she ran annually.
The campaign was typical of a well-planned niche market direct prospecting program. The objective was to reach sales management and human resource management of these companies and present the distributor as an expert in team building training programs. We believed all companies who have 500 or more employees would likely have team building training programs for their staff.
A new company copy line was created. “Let’s Get Engaged” was printed on letterhead and envelopes just below the company name. Two letters along with two engagement-related products were included. Each series of letters was targeted to the VP of sales and the VP of human resources in eight companies from the 43 companies identified in the research. The letters were delivered two days apart and followed up by a telephone call two days later. We sent two gold foil chocolate truffles in a blue (Tiffany’s-like) jewelry box (this represented two gold wedding rings) and in the second mailing we sent a photo frame for that “special” day (of training).
The process was repeated every six weeks until all companies had been contacted. In less than 90 days, this client got to meet 30% of those we sent out mailings to and obtained five new training gigs…
Finally, here are some tips to use when you create the enclosure letters.
Use short, two-paragraph letters with no more than three brief sentences in each paragraph. Managers have limited time and attention to focus on new promotional material.
Choose a theme. Themed letters with graphics increase effectiveness.
Tie the copy directly to the product to be enclosed. The connection can be simple. If you want someone to “look over a new service” then enclose a magnifying glass. If you’re going to follow-up with a telephone call, then enclose a real working telephone imprinted with your logo.
Consider including short references. Call your clients to get their comments about your products and services. Create a page of one or two sentence statements from several of your clients. Include their names, titles and direct telephone numbers. Make sure you get the clients’ permission first!
Package your presentation. Always use an envelope for the letter and gift-wrap the promotional product with attractive paper and ribbon.
These mailing ideas are fun, a trip to the bulk food store, or the dollar store, even Toys R Us, can spur on ideas to send to your prospective clients…
Don’t do more than 20 pieces at time as it can become costly and harder to follow up on and manage.
Track your outcomes too. Perhaps use a CRM software solution that allows you to track the success and follow up on these mailing ideas.
If you aren’t ready for a CRM solution, then track it using an Excel Spreadsheet solution.
2. Use your Chamber of Commerce or your networking group:
I would be talking to your Chamber of Commerce or key networking group you go to and ask to host a talk or seminar.
Now if talking isn’t your thing, invite reps from your industry to talk on your behalf and just host the event instead.
It can be more intriguing to bring in “Industry Experts” and it takes the pressure off from you, if speaking makes you nervous.
For example, if you are a social media expert and want to engage prospects, invite a rep from Linked In, Google, Shopify etc. to come and speak at a special Chamber Event your company or that you can host.
Give it a catchy title, invite your key clients and prospects alike and have them attend the Symposium that your company will host. If it is on social media, tap into the pain or challenges clients have with it and work that into the title of your event.
You can call it the “3 things you need to do to build your client base using Social Media”…
Have the companies you invite offer gifts to those that attend, marketing material and perhaps even get sponsors…
If you are in social media perhaps even do an exchange for food/snacks that you can provide at this event, so it can cut back on your costs.
Make sure the Chamber can get behind it by promoting it to their members too and this way you have a joint venture that can work!
To further offset costs, you can ask for sponsors to be at the event promoting their services.
Make sure to make the event space warm and welcoming. Give value to those that attend by having something to promote to them. Something they will want to sign up for, or have a free consultation, or future engagement with you. Make sure each person gets something as a gift from you towards the end. This could be some marketing material from your sponsors or speakers, a gift (a mug, t-shirt, hat etc.) can be a great “thank you for attending”, token….and finally, news about your new service or an upcoming irresistible offer!
I love events, but they do take some thought in the pre-planning, the title, the location, the vibe and feel of the event, the event itself needs planning and then the follow up after is also critical!
You can also send a thank you note to those that attended…it shows a lot of class and acknowledges that someone came out specially to hear more about how you help your prospects and customers!
3. Get out there and give back! Volunteer your time to a worthy cause!
Finally, the 3rd way to get into the door of your prospects and customers is to volunteer your time with an organization that moves you and inspires you.
I became familiar with an organization that spoke to me many years ago. The organization was the Kids Help Phone Foundation. They offer free counselling services by phone to kids across Canada who are facing a life challenge. These challenges can be they’ve left home, or worse, they may be in an abusive relationship with a boyfriend…nonetheless, this was the charity of choice for me.
I liked what they did, and I wanted to support them in a volunteer capacity.
I began to volunteer, mostly with fund raising efforts, from speaking to a group of Rotary members at their breakfast events, to working on the ever-popular Kids Help Phone Bowl-a-thon.
Well…at that time in my life, I was in a different profession, then I am today. I was in marketing and promotions, selling promotional items, incentives and yes Swag to larger companies in the Greater Toronto area. As I began to volunteer more with the Kids Help Phone on their events, I found that their strategic partners and sponsors like Bell, Nestle, Sealtest Dairy (at the time) and the Bank of Montreal have staff that were intrinsically involved in these events too!
I began to rub shoulders and meet the marketing people in these organizations and we began to forge relationships…these are the kinds of companies that I want to work with…as the volunteering happens, the relationships form and soon enough I am being asked in for a meeting with some big, cool companies…
Giving back paid dividends. Most importantly I loved what the Kids Help Phone did and that to me was my primary joy and motivator, it helped to re-focus my energy after my marital break-up, but then I forged relationships with clients and prospects that I wanted to do business with.
We got to know each other on a deeper, friendly, personal manner and so doing business with each other just flowed.
Now, if you want more information on this be sure to register for a 4 week webinar series I am doing in November with the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre every Wednesday Night in November from 7-8 pm
Here is more information on what the Mississauga Business Enterprise Centre and how they help you run your venture!