Tag Archives: follow up

Don’t Send a Prospecting E-mail Like This

A good prospecting e-mail makes a follow up call easier and often more successful.

But the operative words are “a good prospecting e-mail.”  Here’s an example of an e-mail I recently received. It has just about everything you shouldn’t do when prospecting.  Read the e-mail and see my comments in bold.

The Prospecting E-Mail from Hell

Subject: Inquiry Localization Services (Okay, not bad.  I had no idea what this was or meant but the “inquiry” could have been about my services (in other words, a lead)…so I opened it.)

Hi Jim, (personalized and informal: good)

(GROAN! A quick glance at the length of the e-mail staggered me.  Clearly a pitch. Look at the length of some of those paragraphs!  Who has the time to wade through all this? I read it only because I felt an article brewing deep inside me)

Hope this finds you well and on a great path! (Trite. False. Waste of time. Credibility drops. Get down to business)

My name is _________ and I represent ­­­­­­­­­__________, an award winning e-Learning localization company.(ya…whatever…) I write this email to solicit an opportunity to meet with you and discuss our services around localization of content and e-Learning development.   (I see.  And what’s in it for me? What do I get out of it?  Talk about me, not you!)

(Man! Are you kidding me?  Look at this long, rolling paragraph! Am I supposed to be impressed with these features? It ain’t workin’ for me!) Since 2000, _________ has vastly expanded its e-Learning translation capabilities and in just 2011, we localized 200+ courses in 50+ languages both eastern and western. ____ has huge experience within localization of training materials, and now additionally providing extensive translation, engineering, and testing services for a wide array of e-Learning infrastructure software and content. We have saved thousands of dollars for our clients by rightly managing the source files (such as externalizing content in XML files) allowing customers to easily and more affordably perform localization of all titles. (Oh … here’s the benefit, nicely tucked away.  If the rep had told me this up front, I might have been a little more interested.  I suspect that 99.965% of the readers never got this far) Whether the content is scientific, commercial or legal, with _________ localization service at the helm, your content receives focused treatment, testified by quality of the output.

(Incredibly, there’s even more features… not that I care. Can you imagine the telephone pitch or the voice mail that this rep might deliver?) With a team of over 5000+ multi-disciplinary translation specialists, ________ does more than million words of translation and voice recording across 100+ concurrent projects every year. _________ localization services have proven their effectiveness at more than 50 training design companies, and with many leading publishers. G-Cube’s clients include Huthwaite, Corpedia, Kaplan, Omega Performance, ESI International, Sunwin Services Group, QA, Practice IT, Skillsoft, Cigital, Datatask, Incisive Media, Oilennium and many more.

Here are some of the examples of language works:

SSQM Chinese: <link> (Stop, buddy!  You’re killing me by overwhelming me.  Do you think I have the time in my busy day to read all this and STILL click on the Chinese link?)

SSQM Spanish: <link> (see above comment)

I’ve also attached a calculator that will allow you to calculate the expenses if ________ were to do translation, voice recording and repurposing for you.  (Don’t tell me there’s an attachment too? Who would open it?)

_____ is the one amongst very few organizations in the world to be assessed at Level 3 in SEI-CMM (look at the jargon!) frameworks. Its solutions have won prestigious awards including Brandon Hall, APEX, Codie, and Deloitte Fastest 50 Technology. 

I would like to trade 30 minutes of my ideas with 30 minutes of your time.  (isn’t that clever and cute!)  Are you free on 21st  August (Tuesday) at 10:00 am your Local Time for a quick call? Later works well too.   (Oh dear… you can bet I won’t reply.  And just to be sure, I’ll screen every call on the 21st just in case the rep decides to call anyway. I mean, what more can he “tell” me?  EVERYTHING  has been laid forth in the e-mail)  

Look forward to your reply. (Ain’t gonna’ happen)

Best Regards,

How to Improve Your Prospecting E-mail

Look:  I know I was being somewhat sarcastic and flippant in my remarks. But these types of e-mails are typical and I am tired of them, aren’t you?

If you’re  using e-mail for prospecting your message has to be about me, about problems I might have or about opportunities that I might achieve. You need to offer hope.

Next, your message must be short and to the point.  I’m going to scan it, not read it.  So you better make it crisp and clear. It must look short and read even shorter. It’s not something you whip up in 2.5 minutes.  It takes time and effort to compose an effective message.

Finally,it must intrigue me.  It must make me want to learn more.  You do this by teasing me about the potential benefits you have to offer.  Get me salivating with curiosity.

What to learn more? Visit the other articles on this page.  Learn to write an e-mail that gets prospects to turn their heads.

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A Magic Two-sentence Email that Gets Stalled Sales Back on Track

by Chris Lytle www.max-atm.com

Here’s an interesting tip to help you get a stalled prospect back in sales motion:

When a customer didn’t call me back, I sent this e-mail:

“Cliff, I still have you on my ‘waiting for’ list of people I’m expecting to hear from. Am I still on your radar? Chris”

His response:

“You are good. Let’s talk this morning if you are available. I’m out of town but can be reached on my cell phone.”

Result: Before I could call him, he called me from the road and we scheduled our next meeting. My two-sentence e-mail worked (I believe) because I really do have a “waiting for” list and keep track of people who owe me a call, an e-mail, or a contract – and because the “radar” question lets the customer opt in or out without pressure.

The author of “The Accidental Sales Manager,” Chris Lytle, CSP, time releases immediately applicable sales advice via the MAX-ATM Automatic Training Machine website. Check it out at www.max-atm.com

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Do Me a Favor and Rate this E-Mail Follow Up Message

Do you ever have clients and prospects who don’t call you back after you’ve spoken or sent a proposal or quote?

You know what I mean: you’ve spent time on the phone discussing their needs, an opportunity is evident, the client seems keen enough, you’ve sent a proposal or quote and suddenly, things go silent despite your follow up calls and messages.

But here’s a nifty little e-mail message that seems to be getting a response.

The Message

Subject: Mike, can you do me a favor?

Hi Mike,

I have a quick favor to ask.

I am following up on the proposal I sent you regarding __________ (your product or service) and how it can  ________ (briefly describe the benefits the client will derive). I’ve left a couple of voice mail messages and e-mails but as of yet we haven’t been able to connect.

Can you do me a favor leave me a voice mail message or send me an e-mail on where you are at in the decision making process?

If things still look good, great.  If not, no problem.  In either case, it would help me with my planning and follow up (not to mention getting my boss off my back).

I appreciate the gesture and look forward to your e-mail (or leave me a message at xxx-xxx-xxxx).

Kind regards,

Why it Works

This message works for a number of reasons.  First, the subject line is intriguing.  It uses the prospect’s first name which tends to catch the eye and draw the reader into the message.  And next, it creates interest because it asks for a favor.  A favor is an unusual request. It is somewhat personal and that makes it compelling.  You can bet the recipient will read further.

Second, the opening line reinforces the ‘personal’ request.  Note the use of the word ‘quick’ which tells the reader that the favor won’t take long.

Third, the e-mail provides a quick summary of the situation by reminding the prospect about your product or service AND the benefits the client might derive.  This is important because it reminds the prospect why they originally requested the information from you.  In other words, it can help remind them of the need.

Fourth, the message lays on a little guilt by saying that you left a ‘couple’ (which really means more than two) voice and e-mail messages.  The rebuke is very soft and cushioned by the phrase, “…but as of yet we haven’t been able to connect.”  These words gracefully imply that perhaps the prospect has tried contacting you but you weren’t available.  They’ll feel less guilty but it makes it a little easier for them to respond.

Fifth, the ‘favor’ is clearly defined: an e-mail or phone call regarding the status of the sale.  The e-mail makes a ‘negative’ response easier to give if that’s the case (“no problem”), and it also suggests that the rep is getting some heat from the boss because the prospect hasn’t responded.  Again, the clever and subtle use of guilt.

The e-mail concludes on a positive tone.

Summary

This message will get you a good response rate.  It has a reasonable and polite tone and because it asks for a simple favor, it is hard NOT to respond.

Give it a try and see for yourself.

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Sales Tip – Pick Up The Phone – Solve Problems – Follow Through

by Peter Ramsden, www.paramountlearning.co.uk

The latest fashion in lead generation seems to be social marketing.

Whilst I am a big fan of social media marketing I cannot help but think that many users of this new medium believe that it will actually do the selling for them.

I recently posted an emergency request together with my contact details on a number of social media sites for technical help with a problem I was having with word-press. I waited and waited expecting lots of calls but to my surprise the phone remained eerily silent.

On the other hand my in-box was a real hive of activity as I received message after message, PM’s and DM’s offering assistance and advice on who I should call. But still the telephone was quiet.

I checked to see if the phone line was working. Yep it sure was.

Now maybe I was at fault? Maybe I should have followed through on all those messages? Maybe I should have called each and everyone of them and begged them to sell me!

The last time I looked the easiest way to make a sale was to solve client problems.

Surely they should be calling me?

Surely making direct contact would be a great way to demonstrate and build trust in one’s ability to solve problems and potentially create a business relationship.

In point of fact only one person picked up the phone and called to offer assistance. Yes only one! Everyone else expected me to call them.

To cut a long story short the gentleman who called me fixed my problem in seconds. At that point without prompting I asked;

How much would it cost to solve all my other problems?

He promptly gave me a price quotation for the work I needed doing and I confirmed my order the following day.  I have since placed further orders for work based on the fact that he was the only person who offered assistance when I needed it most.

Several days passed by and not one person followed up on their PM’s and DM’s. Not a single message or call to ask if I have resolved my problem or not.

If only they had picked up the phone!

If you want to make sales then pick up the phone. Don’t hide behind technology. You know it makes sense.

Peter Ramsden is the Director and owner of Paramount Learning Ltd. As well as holding an MBA from Bradford University School of Management, Peter has more than 20 years experience of sales and marketing,  leading and directing national and international agents and distributors in a multicultural environment, marketing industrial consumables to multi-segment clients. Visit his website at www.paramountlearning.co.uk

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Hidden Telephone Selling Gems – The 10 Best TelesalesMaster Articles of 2011

There’s over a hundred articles on this site. Pretty daunting, isn’t it? To make it easier for you, here are the 10 most popular articles on this site (and other sites!)

#1:  The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success – In this article you’ll get even more links on variety of tele-sales skills and techniques.

#2:  7 Cold Call Opening Statements From Hell – If you don’t nail the cold call opener, you don’t have to worry about the rest of the call.  Here are 7 openers you want to avoid.

#3:  How to Leave a Killer Voice Mail Message (And Get Your Calls Returned) – Tired of a lack of response from your voice mail messages?  Try this one on for size.

#4:  How to Slay a Sales Slump in 15 Minutes or Less – We’ve all experienced a slump. This award winning article tells you how to manage it.

#5:  The 5 Voice Mail Messages From Hell -Are Your Guilty of One of These? – The reason why your voice mail messages aren’t being returned is probably because the messages are weak. Do you leave one of these messages?

#6:  8 Sales Questions You Can’t Live (and Sell) Without –  The key to telephone sales success is in the questions you ask.  Good questions mean good answers. Here are 8 good questions!

#7:  How Mr. Spock  Would Plan and Prepare for a Follow Up Call – This article not only provides you with practical tips but also a job aid that you can download and use to plan your next follow up call.

#8:  “I am not interested!”  Dealing with the Ultimate Brush Off Objection – We’ve all heard it and it’s a tough nut to crack.  This article provides a rather provocative strategy to dealing with it.

#9:  8 Tips on How to Make a Perfect Follow Up Call – By far and away, this has been the most read article I have ever written.  Thousands and thousands of hits around the world. Find out why.

#10: 5 Ways to Overcome the Dreaded “Let Me Think About It” Objection – Don’t be caught off guard when a prospect tosses out this objection.  Here are 5 ways to deal with it.

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Don’t be a Customer Doormat: Look Busy, Act Busy, Be Busy

“If you want something done, give it to a busy person.”

Busy people get things done. You can rely on them. You trust them. You like dealing with them. They give you peace of mind.

It’s not that much different dealing with sales reps. Busy sales reps get things done. We can rely on them. We like buying from them. We like managing them.

I like dealing with sales reps that are busy. I like it when they can “squeeze me” into their appointment book later in the week.  I get the impression that they are busy.  And rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that they are in demand. And if they are in demand, they and their products must be good. Instinctively, I want to work with and buy from the best.  Lots of people do.

Conversely, I am not too keen on dealing with sales reps that are available at absolutely any time. It suggests to me that they have too much free time. And rightly or wrongly, I get the impression that they are not very good at sales.  I wonder if perhaps the product or service isn’t so great.

Of course, I recognize that being busy doesn’t necessarily mean a sales rep is good or that their products are great.  I recognize that accommodating reps can be very good. But the real issue here is one of perception. Busy has the perception of importance and value and significance.

So that begs the question: are you busy?

Or, at the very least, do you appear busy in the eyes of your clients and prospects?

Or are you available at the drop of the caller’s hat? Are you at their beck and call?

Beware the Doormat

Truth be told, some sales reps position themselves as doormats.  They are available anywhere and anytime for appointments, presentations, proposals…you name it. This can be detrimental to their sales success.

Here’s an example:

Client: “Your quote looks good.  When can we review the numbers?”

Sales Rep: “Gee, I’m free all day today, and all day tomorrow…Thursday and Friday too. Anytime you like!”

Sure, you can argue that you are simply being accommodating. You can argue that you are doing what it takes to get the sale.

But look at it from your client’s perspective. What might the client be thinking about a rep who is available at a whim?

‘Gee, this rep has all the time in the world. I wonder why? Hmmm, can’t be very good; sounds a little bit too accommodating; maybe a rookie; maybe a little too eager; maybe a little desperate; is no one else buying; maybe this isn’t such a hot product?  Maybe I should think about this a little longer.’

Being available at the drop of a hat can be a negative thing. People may perceive that you are not very good at what you do if you’re free all day. On a conscious or subconscious level, it makes them stop and wonder.

Another Perspective

Look at it from another perspective. Let’s say you weren’t quite as available. Let’s say you tell the customer that you have some free time late tomorrow afternoon and then again early Friday morning.

What impression would that create?

It could tell the client that you are busy; that people are buying your product; that you and your product are in demand; that you are a good sales person; that they are ‘fortunate’ to be dealing with you and buying the product. It tends to brand you as being better than most.

Another thing: it does NOT tell the client that you don’t want their business. It does NOT tell the client you don’t respect their time or their business.  It simply suggests that there is a lot of activity going on and that if you are so busy it must be because things are hopping.  It creates a sense of urgency. It betters your brand.

And that’s a good thing.

The point is that you have to be aware of perception and manage it and leverage it to the best of you ability.

If you do position yourself as busy, as someone in demand, your customers and prospects are more apt to keep the appointments you set with them. You have created a sense of urgency and importance and they tend to respect your time. The appointment you set now has a higher value in their mind.

A Moment of Truth

Don’t get me wrong.

I am not saying you should lie and tell them you’ve got fifty or sixty appointments booked when you don’t.  Not in the least.  I am simply saying that you should provide the times you are available to take that particular call. There is a significant distinction.

Summary

Busy sales reps are in demand because they are perceived to be the best.  The next time you are setting an appointment, whether by phone or face to face, be more stingy with your time.  Don’t be a doormat.  Provide select times that give the impression that you are not at their complete disposal.  They’ll have greater respect for you, your time, your product and your appointment.

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The ABCs of Tele-Sales – 26 Powerful Tips for Tele-Sales Success

A is for “ask for the sale” or “advance the sale. Don’t leave a call lingering by NOT asking for the order.  Close it, for Pete’s sake.  Or if you have a longer sales cycle “advance” it by asking the client for some sort of action (accept a proposal, quote, attend a webinar etc.) and then getting a commitment for follow up DATE and Time.  Go here for more information (http://www.telesalesmaster.com/category/closing-and-advancing-the-sales/ )

B is for “body language.” In tele-sales there is no body language. The tone of your voice accounts for about 85% of your message. This means you must deliver your message with conviction.  People are more convinced by the depth of that conviction than the height of your logic. (Go here for more information:  http://www.telesalesmaster.com/892/uncategorized/)

C is for cross sell. Increase the average value of a sale on 20% of your orders by as much as 25% by offering a related item at the end of every call, when appropriate.  You’ll not only educate your customer you’ll put more change in your pocket.  (Go here for more information http://www.telesalesmaster.com/946/add-on-selling/)

D is for Discipline… especially when it comes to prospecting (cold calling). Schedule it. Then do it. When it’s time to dial, dial.  If your day starts at 8:30, start dialing at 8:30. Or earlier. Not 8:50. Not 8:45. Not 8:35. Arrive on time. Start on time. Stick to it. It is your diet to good sales.

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8 Tips on How to Make A Perfect Follow Up Call

In many ways, a follow up call to a prospect is more challenging than a cold call.

Typically, it’s the follow up call that really gets the sales cycling rolling. It’s here where value truly begins to manifest itself. It’s here where substantive information is gathered; and it’s here where the relationship begins to establish itself.

So that’s why it is absolutely vital to have a superb follow up strategies and tactics so that you can make the most of the moment. Here are eight tips to making a perfect follow up call.

Tip #1: Get commitment for the follow up.

Perhaps the single biggest mistake reps make is not establishing a specific date and time for the follow up call at the end of their initial call. Vague commitments from the prospects (“call me next week”) or the sales rep (“I’ll send the proposal and follow up in a couple of days”) result in missed calls, voice mail messages and ultimately a longer sales cycle. All you need to do is simply ask for a follow up date and time. For instance:

“I’ll be glad to write up the proposal (quote, whatever) and e-mail it to you. And what I would like to recommend is that we set up Tuesday, the 16th, at say, 8:45 to review it in detail and determine the next steps if any. How does that sound?”

If this is not a good time, recommend another time. If that doesn’t work, get them to establish a time and date.  Creating a deadline is a simple but extremely powerful tactic. Use it.

Tip #2: Build equity and be remembered

Here’s another huge tip. After every call to a first time prospect, send a thank you card. Handwrite a message on small thank you card that simply says, “John, thank you for taking the time speaking with me today. I look forward to chatting with you further on the 16th! Kind regards. . .”   No more, no less.

In today’s fast paced world, a hand written card tells the client that you took the time and the effort to do something a little different. At some level this registers in the client’s mind and creates a degree of “equity” in you. It differentiates you and it gets remembered. And it gives the client a reason to be there when you make you follow up call.

If you don’t think a card will get there in time, send an e-mail with the same note. Just be aware that an e-mail does not have nearly the same impact as a handwritten note.

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An E-Mail That Gets a Response

Ever had a client or prospect never get back to you?

(SPECIAL NOTE: This article was written by Mr. Inside Sales, Mike Brooks.  This is a heck of a good article.  Visit Mike’s site at www.mrinsidesales.com for superb articles and products )

If you’re in sales, then I know it’s happened to you (or is happening with several of your clients or prospects right now).

If you have ever find yourself in a place where you’ve qualified a prospect, sent information to them on your product or service, and then find that they just won’t return your calls or emails, then I’ve got a guaranteed email that will get you a response.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go”

(Note: this email technique was one I learned last summer when I spoke at the L.A. Chapter of the AA-ISP. One of the participants shared it with us and I’ve been passing it along ever since!)

Subject of your email: “Should I stay or Should I go?”

“_________ While I’ve tried to reach you, I haven’t heard back from you and that tells me one of three things:

1) You’ve already chosen another company for this and if that’s the case please let me know so can I stop bothering you,

2) You’re still interested but haven’t had the time to get back to me yet

3) You’ve fallen and can’t get up and in that case please let me know and I’ll call 911 for you…

Please let me know which one it is because I’m starting to worry…

Thanks in advance and I look forward to hearing back from you.”

Is that great or what?? This works on so many levels including using a “Clash” song everyone can relate to in the subject line, to giving them options and an out in case they’ve decided not to work with you.

And, of course, you give people a reason to smile and that always relieves the pressure from the sales situation.

Use it this week and see for yourself how it works to get your prospects to get back with you and how it gets you deals. And then email me yourself with your results – I’d love to hear them

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Follow Up Calls: 28 Compelling Reasons Why You Should Be Politely Persistent and Follow Up With Your Prospects

Has this ever happened to you?

You’ve made the call. You generate interest. Maybe you send a proposal or quote. You make a follow up call and leave a message and wait for reply. And wait…Maybe you make another follow up…no reply.

In a short while you are convinced the client was stringing you along. Frustration sets in. Anxiety. Uncertainty. ‘Do I call again? Won’t I look like I am stalking? He’s not interested. If he were, he would have called right. Why waste my time? Forget about it. Let’s move on.”

This negative self-talk is repeated every day, every week by hundreds of reps. It gets easy to convince yourself not to make that extra follow up call.

The trouble is there can be any number of reasons why the prospect has yet to get back to you.  In fact, at last count there are 28 reasons why the prospect hasn’t returned your call. You should follow up because:

1.   The squeaky wheel often gets the oil

2.   The contact lost your number

3.   The contact inadvertently deleted your voice mail message

4.   The prospect/client simply forgot to call you back

5.   Your e-mail was sent to their SPAM folder and never seen

6.   Your e-mail was lost “in space” and never made it to the client.

7.   Your e-mail was lost, misplaced or forgotten in a pile of other e-mails received

8.   Your client is swamped with work and has been too busy to call

9.   The contact is putting out a major fire and her priorities, for the moment, have changed

10. Your prospect inverted a number or two when copying down your phone number and was not able to reach you

11. The client or prospect expects YOU to follow up and keep them on track

12. Your prospect or client is grotesquely disorganized and needs someone to keep them on track

13. Your contact figures if YOU don’t show interest in following up, you and your product can’t be all that important

14. Your prospect has had a minor delay and needs to someone (you) to get them on track

15. Your prospect has put the project on the back burner or has gone with another vendor and you need to find out to have closure and stop fretting

16. Your prospect figures the ball is in your court and is wondering why YOU haven’t made a further follow up.

17. You did not include a signature file with your contact information on it – and the client did not have it handy to make a quick call back

18. Your voice mail (and phone number) was delivered so rapid fire or slurred that the prospect gave up trying to decipher it

19. You accidentally sent your e-mail NOT to Brian Basanda but to Brian Adams when you used your Contact info in Outlook

20. Most of the other vendors calling your prospect fail to follow up … which gives you the competitive edge

21. Your contact may have a gatekeeper who erased your message

22. Your prospect has a wicked sense of humor and is waiting to see how many times you will call

23. Your voice mail script needs a re-write; it simply lacked ‘umph’

24. This could be the deal of your career – you’ll never know unless you call

25. Your prospect deleted you e-mail on their Blackberry by accident and there’s no “undo” feature

26. A poor, hungry and driven competitor will make the persistent follow up call that you didn’t make …and will get the business you should have got.

27. What do you have to lose?

28. What do you have to win?

So there you have it: 28 compelling reasons to pick up that phone and make a few follow up calls. Print this list on a bright yellow sheet of paper. Post it at your desk and refer to it whenever you hesitate about making that follow up call.  Do it now. And close more sales!

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The Top 10 Ways to Stay In Touch With Your Clients Without Being a Pest

Do you ever get that vague and uneasy feeling that you’re being an annoying pest by calling your clients too often?

There is no question that in these tough economic times it’s important to stay front and center but incessant telephone calling is not the answer.  It is important to balance the nature of your contacts by doing two things.

First, mix your media. Use e-mail, direct mail, fax and dimensional mailers to get through the clutter that bombards your client’s desk. Use them to create a sense of value and worth with each and every day.

Second, mix your messages. Don’t always call or send business related materials.  While special offers, sales and other company literature can create value at a business level make sure you don’t forget the personal side of the equation.  Remember that people buy from people they know, like and trust.  Work on these components too. In effect, you want your client to welcome the contact, not avoid it.

Here are the top 10 ways you can do just that:

1. Send a Thank You Note

Every now and then take the time to send a thank you card to your clients and let them know you don’t take their business for granted. Give it character by using generic cards that are more personal rather than a thank you card plastered with your company logo. Hand write your message AND hand write the envelop. Use a real stamp. Your effort won’t go unnoticed!

2. E-mail a Newsletter or Link

You can unobtrusively ‘touch’ your clients with your company newsletter but make certain that the newsletter has more than just company propaganda and special offers. The idea is to create value that goes beyond a transactional relationship. If you don’t have a newsletter, scan the web and look for sites or links that might be of interest to the client either on a business or personal level.  (For example, if the client loves to cook, maybe you send a link to a cooking site).

3. Send/E-mail/Fax a VAA (value added article)

Scan industry magazines and tear out articles that might be pertinent to the client. Attach a Post-it Note that says something like, “Kev, I thought of you when I saw the article on distribution management. Enjoy!” Your client will be impressed that you took the time and effort. Or, if you know the client well, scan magazines that might be relevant to a hobby or passion. Show him that you listened, remembered and took the time to do something extra.

4. Fax a Contest

Laura Tribble is a tele-sales rep who faxes her clients Trivial Pursuit-like contests typically related to the holidays. For example, near the Fourth of July she faxes 20 or so questions focused on Independence Day.  Laura offers a little prize (like a couple of bags of chocolates or candies) to the top five winners. Doing business with Laura is fun and customers look forward to her next contest. The proof? She often gets a 40-50% response rate. Who do you think is remembered when it is time to order?

5. Arrange for an Office Treat

For your top clients, arrange a Pizza Lunch or something similar. Call your client, tell them you’d like to ‘buy them lunch’ (even though you might be a thousand miles away) to say thanks for their business. Arrange a date and time, determine their favorite pizza place, call in the order with your credit card.  Follow up shortly after the event and listen to them sing your praises. Or have a “Lunch and Learn” Session. Arrange for the pizza and then call in and use a speaker phone to provide tips and ‘how to’ information on your products or services.

6. Send a Dimensional Mailer

Some clients deserve a little something extra and memorable. Send them a book, or seasoning salt, or anything that has height, weight, scope and dimension. It might be related to work or to the season or specifically to the client. Don’t be extravagant. The point is to have clients open up a package like it was their birthday. They will be wowed by your thoughtfulness,  Yes, it can get a little pricey but your top clients WILL remember the gesture and the equity in you as a vendor will soar. (P.S., Resist the urge to send promotional products with your company logo. They’re ‘okay’ but they don’t leave much of an impression. Send something different that reflects you or your client).

7. Send a Postcard or a Greeting Card by Mail

Every now and then send a greeting card to your client. It might be holiday or sports related, or maybe an inspirational quote.  Cards are different because create curiosity: ‘Hey, who sent ME a card?’ They get opened and remembered. They even pin them up at their desks.  Check the internet for companies that allow you to send cards via the web that look and feel like they were hand written. They even include real stamps.

8. Make a Non-Sales Phone Call

Every now and then call your client and talk about anything but business. If you have something in common – e.g., the two of you are Florida Gator Fans or you both watch “Dancing with the Stars”- use it as a pre-text to call. Again, do NOT discuss business. Keep the call short. Have some fun or lament about a bad call, and then leave it at that. The idea is to show the client t that he relationship is more than the sum of their transactions. (P.S., Leave a fun voice mail message relating your common interest if you can’t reach the client. E-mails work too.)

9. E-mail a Greeting Card

You can also e-mail a greeting card that has ‘look’ and the feel of a handwritten card. There are a few internet based companies that makes the whole effort fast and easy by providing a huge on-line selection of cards that you can customize and send out as quickly as you can click. Check them out.

10.  Use a Combination of 4

It is important that you use at least four of these techniques in combination and never get dependent on a single tactic. Using four or more of these contacts ensures that your effort gets through all the “crap” that is vying for your client’s attention. In addition, stick with the program. One or two touches are simply not enough. Staying in touch, building value and creating a relationship is a journey, not a destination. For your top clients, never let more than 3-4 weeks go by without some sort of friendly touch over and above your regular business calls.  Your “B” clients should be touched about every 6-8 weeks over above business calls.

Summary

Staying in touch without being a pest requires time and effort but the rewards are considerable.  Your efforts will typically translate into more loyal customers and bigger sales. Take the time and effort to add this strategy to your regular calls.

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