Speak with your prospects

What’s the best way to reach new prospects? Any way that works is the short answer. Big business talks a lot about the customer experience, multi-channel integrated marketing, open rates, conversion rates, sales pipeline and Return-On-Investment (ROI). The traditional view is that you do direct marketing, and then build on that with telemarketing. For many small-medium businesses it can be worth talking to the experts and fine tuning to obtain the best possible results – But what do you do if you are a really small business or a start-up? – what have been termed micro business – You don’t have a marketing department, you don’t even have a marketing budget, you don’t have people who know how to design an email that won’t be seen as spam or take people to a design-rich landing page that tracks unique customer ID’s and works on mobile devices as well as computers. Your six year old daughter can probably design better marketing posters that you can, and your idea of high value prospects is the telephone list in front of you.

So what will work for you? Despite all the bad press about telemarketing, and the certainty that you will hear “we have a no names policy” and “we don’t take sales call” it is still worth picking up the phone. Why? IMHO it’s the only form of communication which is immediate and two-way. When you do speak to someone you can engage with them, ask questions and more importantly listen to what they tell you – Things that despite all the hype is not really happening with any other medium – Sure you will get the odd waste-of-time call – which itself can save you a lot of time as they are probably not worth pursuing. But you really don’t need that many “positive” calls to make it worthwhile.

How do you make it work for you? Well its worth spending time getting the best possible list of contacts you can and do some homework. If some company has just moved offices then a call to some frosty receptionist that begins “hope your office move went well – they’re always an upheaval aren’t they” may get you through the door and may elicit further information – “Oh our manufacturing plant has moved but the administration building is still here”. It’s useful to have a one page flow chart of how you want the conversation to go. Use your six year olds crayons to map out who you need to speak to you and what results you want – If you don’t know then how will your prospect? Then write some bullet points of key phrases – we are your local XXX, and based in XXX. Our major benefits are XXX. Write down some objections and every time a new one arises add it to your list. One objection to your call may be “now is not a good time”, a good response would be to look for alternatives, “would this afternoon be better” or “I can call next week if that’s better –Would Tuesday morning be best for you?”. Add all your prospects onto a spreadsheet or a simple database so that you can record details including those call-back times you’ve just agreed. Make a target of making XX number of calls that hour, or that morning, that way so won’t get side-tracked and end up with that easy excuse of “I’m too busy to make calls and they never work when I do call”. And if all else fails, you can always send an email or a letter as a follow-up to your call.