We’ve shared great prospecting methods and not so great methods. The importance of prospecting and new business development never seems to change. What does change is the way we approach this all-important step in the sales process.
Source: Jeff Schmidt, RAB
In order for anything to grow, you must first plant a seed. This sounds ridiculously simple. However, we are constantly trying to “grow” business relationships without first planting seeds. Seeds can come in many different forms: people talking about you, people reading about you or any exposure potential clients have to you in a “nonselling” mode.
I want to focus specifically on the process of intentional and focused seeding. This is the practice of finding an article or information that you know will be of significance, relevance or interest to your client.
• You photocopy the article.
• Use a highlighter to mark a few of the key points.
• Staple your business card to the top left corner.
• In some white space, you hand write a note to the client: “Kevin, I think this article may be of interest to you.”
• Sign it, put it in an envelope, hand address the envelope and send.
Handwriting is KEY to standing out. It shows you took the time to do this personally, not some auto-responder or email database blast.
If you plan your prospecting and lead development with great efficiency, you will get optimum results. Try sending three to four “seed” pieces before you make initial contact. Two things happen:
1. The client is already “familiar” with you.
2. You have a specific reason to make the call. (Discussing the content of one of the articles.)
A warm prospect call that starts with, “I wanted to talk to you about that article I sent about focusing on the middle third of your team for maximum growth potential” is much different from a cold call that begins with: “I’m calling today to see if I can help develop your sales team with some state-of-the-art, blah blah blah…”
Focusing on the Four Keys of Advertising Success and starting a seeding system can be a great first step to becoming known before you are needed. It allows us to practice what we teach our advertisers about the importance of marketing. You are the product. You know how to market, but have you ever created a strategy to market yourself?
Jeff Schmidt is the SVP of Professional Development. You can reach him at Jeff.Schmidt@RAB.com. You can also connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.