1 Develop a Clear Marketing Message
This is always harder than it looks! Do you know your elevator pitch? Is it BENEFIT focused?
Have you tested it to be sure it’s clear? Do you use it verbally when networking?
Do you communicate the same message in all your materials–website, print, social media, proposals, sales meetings? Would all your employees know it? If you are constantly adopting new tag lines and phrases to describe what you do, it may be confusing your message. Take a good look and evaluate.
2 Tell your customers or members that you love them
Referrals provide a steady stream of prospects, even more valuable, third party endorsements.
Our phone rings every week with referrals “so & so said you can help, when can you start?”
Invest the time to set up tools to continue communicating with your customers (this always includes past customers or members). 68% of customers quit because of an attitude of indifference toward them. Electronic newsletters, mailings, social media, emails, are all effective. Find a mix that works for your audience. Once you find a system that works, you can stay in front of your audience, and tweak it as you need. Test new ideas though and keep it fresh! Review your client list (who referred them?). Look for a “clone” referral source. You may find a funnel of referrals already in place.
This will also be the basis for a consistent outreach strategy for prospects (that’s #6 on our list!).
3 Be unique!
Stand out, be memorable!
Specialty sells, “same as everyone else” doesn’t. What is the one thing you want people to remember (they won’t remember 10 things! that’s why we are only giving you three at a time)?
Tell a story. Then, tell it again!
Once is not enough, repetition is good. It takes time for your audience to remember what your story is, so you don’t want to keep sending new messages. Instead, you want to be sure they remember the message you already sent.
Our clients communicate a unique story throughout their marketing – and then find ways to support the position or story.
Analytical Food Laboratories provides fast turn-around times to customers by housing all services in their brand-new facility. They continue to support that messaging in all communications.
As the leading analytical laboratory in the Southwest, AFL is a true one-stop full service lab that provides integrated solutions and a consultative approach on interpretation of results. All departments are housed in one location, and all services are performed in-house. www.AFLTexas.com
Rheumatology Associates can give patients faster results and care by providing many location choices and in-house diagnostics.
We provide care to patients throughout the Dallas/ Fort Worth Metroplex with many convenient locations. We are proud to offer in-house diagnostic services including; full service x-ray, bone densitometry, and a CLIA certified laboratory for hematology, chemistry, and immunology. www.dfwra.com
4 Network to build relationships…then network more
People do business with people they know, like and trust. Widen your network.
This is still a great way to drive business growth. The goal is to create a network of people that know what you do and will recommend you when they identify an opportunity. They must have a very clear understanding of what you do and who is a good potential lead.
Network for “face time” with prospects.
The goal of sales people is “face time.” Networking gives you that. People do business with people they know, like and trust. It does not need to be a business function: could be the golf course or health club. Use every opportunity—grocery store, restaurant, soccer field, etc. 75% of our clients say, “I sell almost every prospect I get in front of—how can I get in front of more…?”
This is a great way to test your message or “elevator pitch.”
Nonprofits and Associations—this is great way to give back to the community and build relationships. Pick your groups and events wisely and make sure they know what you do.
Where do you go? For prospects, find out where your clients go. Build personal relationships, don’t be one of 300; but get to know people so they know what you do. Go outside of your industry associations where your competitors also go. Set a goal—how many times per week/month will you attend?
Social Media is a great way to network with a larger audience, but it doesn’t replace getting in front of a live group.
Social media should support your networking efforts. When you or your sales team make contacts, add them to your social media contacts. Request to connect and follow them. Not all social media or digital marketing is right for every organization. Use social media to establish yourself as an expert in your field and to communicate events or key accomplishments.
Doing it all is not effective and can be very time consuming. Find the right mix of networks and concentrate on creating the right community there. There is no need to post daily. Choose your moments and keep it fresh, but don’t worry about keeping up with a “daily” schedule.
5 Follow-up, follow-up, follow-up
Don’t forget that once you invest in networking or uncovering leads, you keep following up.
If they don’t respond the first time, it’s not because they weren’t interested; it’s likely they forgot because they got busy. Your job is to stay connected without being a pest.
You know the sales stats:
- 10% of all salespeople make 80% of all sales
- 46% make 1 call & quit
- 25% make 2 calls & quit
- 12% make 3 calls & quit
- Just over 10% keep on calling
- 80% of all sales are made after 5 calls
Persistence pays off!
It’s the same with networking and marketing. Prospects need to see your message repeatedly before they remember to try.
Use marketing communications such as quarterly letters or emails as one of your follow ups, then follow up with social media, letters or post cards, holiday cards and even personal notes. Use all your resources. This is similar to mass advertising—but less expensive.
Sounds too simple to be good…but this really works!
Key Note: You need a system! You can’t depend on remembering, and you need to keep track of your sales and marketing team if you have one. You need a good contact management process then a way to mark your touches. Keep following up even when you get busy. If it’s systemized or automated (at least partly), it’s less time consuming.
6 Keep putting your name in front of your prospects
You want to be there—top of mind—when the time comes, and they need your services.
In similar ways you keep in touch with customers.
Use newsletters or email, mailings, events, social media or even website messaging for specific prospect segments. This can be integrated with some of your customer communications (ex: newsletters can go to both) but make time for specific messaging for prospects. Like customer communication, once you have a system for managing your contacts and following up with prospects at specific times, it will be easier to stay consistent and see results.
7 Offer valuable information–maybe even for free
Why? Delivering value before a sale will build trust.
This provides a valuable screening mechanism. If they are interested, they are a prospect and worthy of your follow up. You can also collect interested leads. Send to about 1,000 names or something valuable, then follow up with those who say YES. Email and social media can deliver information or case studies (it’s low cost in the front end), then use a valuable sales person to follow-up with prospects.
What? Something of value.
If your audience is technical or would use information you have, develop a white paper or checklist or “guide” (ring a bell? “Marketing Top 10 List”). Provide a free seminar or executive briefing.
This will help position you as an expert.
8 Practice integrated marketing—did we mention consistency?
You hear “integrated” all the time. It’s a hot topic and big buzz word. What is it?
It’s starts with #1 from our list: A clear marketing message (there is no room for confusion). Then sending the message using various mediums: email, snail mail, web, social media, print or digital advertising, trade shows, etc. Use multiple mediums to amplify the message and keep “connecting the dots.”
The right place at the right time—with the right message.
Consistency is just as important. It’s all about getting the same message on a consistent basis in front of customers or prospects, so you are top of mind when they are ready to decide.
Again—persistence pays off!
We’ve already said this, but it can’t be emphasized enough. This is where we typically see the drop off. Start strong and stay strong! Prospects need to see your message repeatedly before they remember to give you a chance.
9 It doesn’t have to be perfect
Really—it doesn’t! Perfect is the enemy of good.
Marketing is a learning process. You need to measure results to choose better practices and build on those.
Test some ideas and a few different ways to deliver your message. Try email, try “snail” mail, try social media and visit some trade shows if that’s appropriate for your business.
Test your message (or elevator pitch) and see if your prospects understand what you do and how you do it differently.
Change a few things and try again…then adjust for better results.
10 If you don’t have time for Marketing, call The TransSynergy Group—we will take care of the first 9!
We can help you plan, do a project or serve as your complete marketing department.