Don’t be a Victim of Sales Seepage
Simple Tips to Keeping In Touch WITHOUT Being Obnoxious
- Create a monthly newsletter or blog that is interesting, short and not something everyone in your industry is sending. The critical part of an effective blog is to be consistent. If you tell everyone they’ll get the article the first of the month at 9 am. It better be sent to them the first of the month at 9 am.
- Ask prime prospects or current clients if you can quote them or interview them for one of your newsletters.
- Set up Google alerts for bizarre information on your industry and send out monthly “Surprising Things Happening in [YOUR INDUSTRY HERE]?” Remember – consistency and unique is critical.
- Establish a community telephone call-in once a month. Speak on some relevant topic and open up the line for questions and answers.
- Keep a calendar of birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions. Pre-schedule cards through one of the online services, like Paperless Post.
- Create a postcard mailing for your entire list using a service like www.postcardmania.com. Never include a pitch. This is a greeting card that you should send out for birthdays and during Thanksgiving. Yes, Thanksgiving and NOT the winter holidays. Why? Because EVERYONE is sending holiday greetings and yours will get lost in the shuffle.
- Celebrate special events for prospects and customers like a promotion, new job, new assignment, or new website, and send out a postcard or email.
- Send out a lighthearted “tip” – kinda like the one I’m sending -customized for your network.
- Send a “thank you for your business” note and remembrance to clients at least once a year.
- Focus on your top 10 people in your network and drop by with a coffee, send a “How are you?” or “Just thinking of you” note every two weeks. If your client runs a restaurant, clothing shoppe or otherwise, pay them a visit. Buy something or eat something.
- Set your Google alerts about your prospect’s company or about your prospect’s industry. When you learn of news that is relevant to these people, send an “I noticed …” or “thought you might find this interesting…” email.
- Comment on your clients’ and prospects’ blog.
- Ask them to comment on yours.
- Ask clients and prospects to speak or be a panel member at an event you think would be right for them.
- Invite them to a networking event where they might enjoy meeting the people.
- Send surveys and industry information, links to podcasts or videos, and links to websites that offer free information that would help your network with their businesses.
- Create your own industry survey using a service like www.surveymonkey.com. Send it to your entire network and publish the results.
- Write a testimonial about them or their product or service and submit it to them without being asked. One cautionary note: you must be sincere and talk about an actual experience.
- Write a recommendation for them on a business social network such as LinkedIn or Twitter.
- Invite them to be a short-term advisor to a committee in a relevant business association (They will appreciate that you haven’t asked them to be on the committee.)
- Invite them to lunch or breakfast every six months.
- Learn what causes or charities they support and make a donation (even if a small one) instead of a Christmas gift.
- Follow targeted contacts on Twitter and re-tweet their tweets.
How Often should You Nurture Your Network?
Various sales studies confirm that a contact will not remember, trust or buy from you until they’ve heard from you – in a meaningful way – at least five times. Great. But, this doesn’t tell us how often we should contact a prospect in a week, month or year. While some sales experts say that your frequency should be 7 times in an 18 month period, the most successful sales people I’ve interviewed do so at least once a month – or more.
The most effective sales people are successful not because they’re better looking or smarter. They’re successful because they put the effort in to make meaningful content. They provide true value every time they reach out, while keeping themselves top of mind of potential clients and while reinforcing the belief that they’re the expert in their field.