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The challenge for so many businesses is having a continuous flow of leads coming into the business. I have said it before and believe it to be true – leads are the equivalent of cash flow! Without cash flow businesses die!
What happens too often is that we get busy implementing and fulfilling business with our current clients but we are not filling up the pipeline of business, so when we have finished implementing we have a drought and need to kick start everything again! Not healthy.
But let’s start at the beginning.
You need a system! You will not do this effectively without a proper CRM system. The investment –and it is not a lot – will be paid back many times over. I use Contactually, which I find brilliant and simple to use. There are many others – some of which I have tried and found cumbersome – but there are plenty to choose from. Contactually is brilliant for keeping in touch on a one to one basis.
But you need a system for 2 primary reasons:
1. To collect the names and details of people you want to stay in touch with, and hold valuable information about them.
2. To stay in touch with them, have a record of your conversations and interactions, and be in a position to automate as much as you can.
So, why keep in touch? Well, obviously the objective is to build you business and make more sales.
Now, let’s focus on making sales! We all have a sales process – not everybody recognizes it as a process, or indeed have mapped it out that way. Nevertheless, there is a process and we need to bring our prospects through that process in order to convert them into clients.
However, we need to have a communication strategy to move those prospects through each of those stages – remembering that everyone will move through that process at a different pace.
So, let’s look at those stages and what they involve from a communication perspective:
• Familiarity – Getting to know you. Finding out of you are dedicated to them? Might you be the one to satisfy their needs. Remember, you may not have even met them right now – they might be looking at your website, or asking around about you.
• Trust – Are you someone they can trust? Are your values clear? Is it clear what you stand for? Don’t forget that purchasing a product or service is very influenced by the emotional connection.
• Become a lead – The first step to make contact is made. What will they get that says something about you? If they opt in to your list on your website, what will they get and what will it say about you?
• Become a prospect – Now you are engaging and there is the potential for this prospect to convert to a customer. What will you share with them that builds on the steps that have gone before?
• Customer – They are now a customer, so how will you communicate with them now? How will they be treated from now on? How often will you communicate with them? What will you share with them?
Remember one thing in all of this – the prospect decides when they become a client, not you or me!
How often have we all made the mistake of making a proposal, and then once they decline, we move on to find some new prospect? Let’s be honest, we have all done it!
However, it may well be that that prospect will decide that what you proposed is exactly what they need and the time is now right – and where are you? Nowhere to be seen!
It would be different if you had a strategy of keeping in touch. You would then be front of mind.
So, keeping in touch is fundamental.
However, it is not a one size fits all approach!
What I am talking about here is not a newsletter approach. I have nothing against the newsletter approach – I use it very effectively myself! Here I am talking about one to one communication.
So, you need to segment your network and decide on the sort of communication you will have with each one of them. For example, you may not want to send the same information to a client as you do to someone you network with who deals with the same target market.
There is no one way to segment your market, so for the purpose of an example I am sharing how I do it.
My segments include the following:
• Conference organizers – I speak and attend conferences, so want to stay in touch.
• JV Partners
• Past clients
• Referral partners.
There are others, but this gives you an example.
There is no doubt that staying in touch will generate more sales. Regular contact leads to increased trust, which builds strong relationships and helps prospects do business with people they know, like and trust.
So, how do you translate that into daily activity? Firstly, let me emphasize that it must be daily activity – not weekly, not when you have “spare” time. If it does not become one of your daily rituals, it will not happen and you will leave many sales behind that you could so easily have captured.
An example of a daily ritual:
• Send 7 emails each day with added value information
• Introduce 2 people in your network to each other
• Reach out to 1 person you don’t yet know but you believe they can help build your business.
So, in summary:
• Invest in a system that you are comfortable with.
• Map out your own sales process
• Identify what communication you will share to move people through your sales process – what they will get at each stage.
• Segment your network into separate groups and have clearly defined communication objectives for each segment.
• Create and adhere to your daily ritual