Putting Your Sales Networking on Steroids (cont.)
Last week I started explaining how my networking efforts were beginning to sputter for lack of time. I wasn’t generating the sales leads I knew I could get if I committed myself to fix the problem. I described step one and two of the process and now I will continue with the final two steps. You can click here to see part one of this article.
Step 3 – The initial follow up.
After introducing myself to my new contact in Step 2, I send them a few additional messages. These are meant to engage with them more personally, increases my “touches,” and familiarizes them with some additional services I offer.
I am a member of the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. It’s the second largest chamber in the country and it has been super for networking my way to potential clients.
Because I am a board members, I am encouraged to invite people to the chamber’s monthly trustee luncheon. It’s an embedded part of their membership recruiting process and enables me to offer people an invitation to an “A” class networking event at no cost to me. I attend these monthly anyway, why not bring along someone who can benefit from this resource that’s been so beneficial to me.
So after sending them my first follow up, I send them an email message inviting them to the next upcoming luncheon as my guest.
Several days later, I send them a message with a link to short video explaining the typical challenges business owners face with their sales cycle. (You can click here to see this.) It’s a presentation given by the Infusionsoft chief marketing officer describing a sales pipeline shortcoming that resonates with about 85% of small business owners I have met. It also positions Infusionsoft as a valuable potential solution for addressing this issue without sounding like it’s trying to sell them.
I present this piece as a resource to my new contact. Just about anyone that receives it thanks me because it is informative and valuable to them.
My final message to them in this part of my interaction with them, is a link to a blog post I’ve written covering a lesson I learned from reading a book called, “The One Thing: The Surprisingly Simple Truth Behind Extraordinary Results.” It’s a resource that shares with them something that has helped me run my business more successfully. It doesn’t sell them on anything, but does show that I’m a small business owner who spends time improving how I run my business.
Step 4 – Staying in touch long term.
Once I have sent my contact the intro email messages and a few more messages, I put them into my long term nurture sequence. That means they receive my twice monthly email message promoting one of my blog articles. It’s an email that looks like it comes right from my regular inbox. I use the same email signature I use for all my messages.
NOTE: These should NOT, and I repeat NOT, look like newsletters. I am not a fan or advocate of newsletters in general. They don’t get opened as frequently as an email coming straight from you. You can view my article, “Regular Ugly Email Works Best, Here’s Proof” for the results of an experiment I ran on open and click rates for newsletters versus simple email messages.
Now I’m a blogger. I really enjoy writing on the web and this goes back quite a ways. (If you want to see my earlier work, visit www.CareerJockey.org which provides resources job hunters and other people looking for career development advice.) My current blog covers Infusionsoft topics, web site development, and issues I face as a small business owner that may be of interest to the small business owners I target as customers.
These are typically interesting pieces that I limit to 750 words maximum. I occasionally do some technical articles when I have produced teaching aids for clients as part of a project I’m delivering to them. I also publish best practices articles which sometimes contain short videos for my team’s knowledge base. It enables our team to consistently deliver solutions and serves as a training resource for new hires joining our team. I might as well get more mileage from this work I do anyway.
My point is to provide something that is interesting and continues to position me as an Internet marketing expert in their eyes.
Even if you are NOT a writer, writing a monthly blog article is very doable. You need a simple article promoting some aspect of the services and products you offer your clients.
There’s a South Florida realtor I work with that taps into an article archive provided by a realtor subscription they have. It provides them with raw content they can easily modify and convert into blog articles. There are resources like this in every industry.
An attorney client of mine was struggling with his firm’s blog and my quick review of the only three articles they had produced in 8 months pinpointed their problem right away. They were getting way too technical. They were researching legal cases to site in their blog, including the details of Florida laws pertaining to insurance claims and explaining case law that I, as a non-attorney, was struggling to understand. My advice to my attorney client was to try and write at an 8th grade level as if his reader was his teenage son. He and his team quickly took on this new approach and can now produce blog articles that better address the needs of their audience in much less time
Step 5 – Use social media too.
Finally, since I’m producing this content anyway, I might as well share it on social media. I actively use Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Every time I publish a blog article, I publish links to them on my main feeds for those three. I also post it in several Facebook and LinkedIn groups frequented by my target customers. I also publish tweets to it using hashtags followed by target customers. Using tools like Hootsuite, I can automatically release links to my articles on all of these mediums so the effort required to get this message out is greatly reduced.
This is the approach my team and I have used successfully for our lead generation. We have run projects where we have configured the appropriate systems and provided training needed by clients to do this themselves. We also have clients that outsource this effort completely to us. In all cases, this has been a positive step forward for them.
Let us know what you think.