Most Businesses make the mistake of picking the low hanging fruit. These are the clients who are ready to buy from you right now. It’s great to have those clients – heck it pays the phone bill BUT statistically those represent only about 3% of your target market.
That means that, of your target market, you are missing 97% of all the potential business – UNLESS you have a follow up system.
Now, I am not going to get into a discussion of card scanners, follow up calls, coffee meetings or things you do to get a meeting where you can “close a sale.”
I stand firm in the belief that, if your client isn’t running up to you begging to do business with you, you aren’t doing it right.
So how do you do that?
I once heard a great definition of the difference between sales and marketing – and I believe there is alot of truth to this statement:
Sales is where you try to convince people they need your stuff. Marketing is teaching people why they need what you have and inspiring them to fall all over themselves to work with you.
If you follow some of the greatest of today’s teachers like David Neagle or Jim Edwards you’ll see that they are true master of this – AND as a result have more clients than they will ever need.
So how do you do this?
I promise, it’s not hard, you just have to spend a little time planning it out and it can work for you. Here’s how:
1) Figure Out the Real Problem
This trips up many a business owner and that’s why I spend a whole bunch of time talking about this. This isn’t the most important point of this article, so I’ll be brief.
The services or product you sell is almost never the real problem that you solve from your clients’ point of view.
If you’re a chiropractor you don’t solve the problem of misaligned backs. Yes, that’s a problem, but underlying that for your client is being able to live their life without pain – maybe get out of a wheelchair for the first time in years.
If you’re a financial planner, the problem you solve isn’t making sure their investments are stable and secure – it’s really making sure your clients can retire in the lifestyle they desire.
So, that being said, your goal is to educate your client with regard to the special problem you solve. The chiropractor might offer tips on proper lifting techniques. The financial planner might show parents the best way to help their young children learn to manage money.
2) Be Strategic When Networking
This is SO important. Remember the 97 percent of your target market who isn’t ready to buy from you yet? Have something that will be of value to your target market, like a newsletter filled with educational tips, a special report or an e-book to give away. Not only does this set you up as an expert (which you are by the way) it also creates a relationship where the first thing you are doing is giving – rather than asking for something.
So does this give you permission to try to give stuff away to everyone you meet at a networking event – NO. The rules remain the same.
You still want to introduce yourself by indicating the problem you solve and for whom you solve that problem. (instead of your name and job title – never do that)
So the conversation goes like this: (for a chiropractor) “I teach new mothers what to do so they don’t throw out their backs. Do you know anyone who is in a the (location) Mother’s club?”
Now depending upon the answer there are many ways the conversation could go. If the person the chiropractor is speaking with knows someone with a back problem, he could offer a class, book or a newsletter. If that person does know a mother’s club member that same class, book or newsletter can be the opening for an introduction to the club.
What is beautiful about this is it naturally allows the Chiropractor to start from a place of service – rather that seeming like he is trying to sell his services. PLUS if someone is ready to do business with him now (the 3%) obviously this person is positioned as an expert and can help that person.
Does that make sense?
Traditional sales training might tell you to set up a date to close the sale and/or that you need a certain number of “no’s” to get the “yes.”
Here’s the deal: of the remaining 97% (your “no’s”) 30% will never do business with you – period. OK those are your real “no’s” BUT that leaves a whopping 57%!
Of that 57% – 27% is aware that the problem exists and just isn’t ready to solve it – yet.
30% of your target market isn’t even aware that the problem exists!
But the problem you solve is very real, and in some cases urgent, they are just not aware of it yet!!!
Do you see how the mindset of traditional sales training really makes no sense?
OK so now that you have someone who wants more information, what do you do?
3) Systematize Your Follow Up
Nope – not follow up calls, not coffee dates, not sales meetings. (ooh edgy!) Have something you do regularly that provides valuable information.
a. You might have a regular educational event for your clients. The Pleasant Hill Chamber of Commerce (which IS a business BTW) offers a new member orientation (taught my moi) to teach people how to get the most out of their networking. It’s a value added service to help clients make more money by taking full advantage of the Chambers’ services and helps with member loyalty.
b. Do something extra. I was most impressed when recently I purchased a $27 e course and I received a phone call from the company welcoming me as a new client. This company has thousands of subscribers and has developed a system wherein an automatic phone call is placed by the owner of the company thanking and welcoming them. Wow. Was I impressed!
You could also do Send Out Cards, which automates sending greeting cards (hey-you can even include gift cards in the card – very cool!)
or you could simply make phone calls to your best clients in appreciation of their busienss to build loyalty
c. The most effective by far I like to refer to as “The Drip Method.”
An email newsletter (or ezine). A successful ezine has three main parts: something educational, something personal and something you offer.
Networking News is and example of a somewhat complicated newsletter. Don’t start right out of the gate trying to copy this newsletter exactly. Start with the basic three components, and as you get more comfortable, expand.
Be consistent and be patient. You’ll have clients who read every word, some who just scan and some who unsubscribe. Learn to celebrate all three.
When you consistently give your clients great content, you’ll automatically be first in line when they are looking for someone who does what you do.
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