7 Steps to Easier Marketing & Prospecting
One easy way to uncover new clients is with a targeted approach using an effective sales letter and telephone follow-up. Let’s look at this simple 7-step process.
1. An Effective Sales Letter
No need to reinvent the wheel. Here are several tips for creating great sales copy from top sales pros.
First of all, make your letter look like a letter and not a brochure or ad. It should have a letterhead with complete contact information so that potential clients can contact you via e-mail, phone, fax or visit your information site online. Include a friendly, targeted greeting and a graphic or two for visual stimulation.
Open with one or two lines. Period. And open with your BEST stuff: your strongest benefit. Then follow up with paragraphs of additional benefits. You want to entice your readers to contact you.
Make your letter easy on the eyes with plenty of white space and paragraphs no longer than about six lines each. And choose an easily readable font. An 8-point script font would be tough to read at the end of a long workday.
Add your signature and then a PS. Make this PS emphasis your best offer and add a call to action. Tell readers EXACTLY what to do and when. For example, call: (800) 233-3333 TODAY for your free 2002 Insurance Comparison Report. Do test your response number out yourself first, though. And ask yourself: is this the correct number for them to dial? Do I have voice-mail and ASK them to leave their name, phone number, etc. for mailing the info? Listen to your recording and make sure callers do NOT have to travel through a maize of automated menus to leave a message.
PS – Don’t be afraid to ask for a sale here!
2. What to Include with the Letter
Wait, don’t mail that letter yet! Why waste your time and efforts when you can include some additional sales materials. Include a self-addressed stamped return envelope or reply card for quick, easy action on the part of the reader. Add a sheet with testimonial from happy, satisfied clients as reference for you and your products. You want to sell yourself and your products.
Some other items to add are business cards – one for the reader and one or more for their spouse and friends and a mini-biography of you with a short resume and photo so that you won’t be a “stranger” any longer. Add a current newsletter with company and product information so that you establish a firm foundation for business. Add a small wallet-sized calendar with your contact information on it and a handy ruler or holiday reminder on the back. Office supply stores like Viking Office Products sell bulk generic 2-inch X 3 ½ -inch adhesive-backed magnetic calendars and notepads. Simply attached your business card to the adhesive area and mail.
Add some “grabbers.” Bottom line: people like to receive a “package” in the mail with goodies, so include some. Say, “Thanks a million!” by adding a Million Dollar Bill to the envelope. A crisp, new bill will definitely open some eyes! And motivation will send your readers hustling to find out what the letter is all about.
Try a customized package. Many people do not want to compare insurance rates and see if you CAN offer them a better deal simply because they don’t want to take time to dig out old policies for comparison. Who has time like that today? Send a package with a cheap kid’s watch from one of those gumball machines made of plastic. Include a couple old dollar bills from a Monopoly game inside a tiny plastic trash can from one of those dime stores. And send a sales letter with this theme: STOP! Throwing your money away! Take a TIME OUT and call me TODAY!
You could even send a file with a Million Dollar Bill and a watch taped inside along with your sales letter packaged in a manila envelope. When the reader opens the file, they could find a sales letter themed: OPEN your folder today! Take a TIME OUT and save BIG TIME by calling me TODAY!
Include a PS that tells readers they do NOT have to locate old policies in order to save with you. YOU will happily do all the work! Place a big, red “X” on the cover of that folder you send.
3. Measurable Results
Establish a means to measure your results and monitor your progress. This will let you know if your sales campaign is effective or if you’re wasting time and if so, in what areas. Who knows, maybe you have a fantastic sales letter and package, but your response contact information is not correct. People may be calling your neighbors! Or maybe you thought you purchased a list of Senior leads to mail to targeted elderly people in the community, but you instead received & targeted a list of Seniors in High School instead. Any number of things could have gone wrong.
One way to measure results is to set up a unique web site to target a direct response from your letter. Set up a counter and use a host who has web statistics so you can check daily or weekly to see who visited your website. Statistics can also tell how long visitors were at your site, which pages they viewed, what order they surfed and much more. Take time to study these statistics on a regular basis. Things change. For instance, you may have a couple of links set up for visitors to click through, but maybe one is broken or not accessible for awhile because the server is down. If surfers can’t keep moving and clicking, you’ll lose them. They don’t want to wait for long downloads, wade through broken links & figure out how to get back. So test your site and stats. Find out if you’re losing anyone on page two or the home page right off. And make adjustments. Internet means Immediate – so make changes!
You could also set up an access code entry on a web page and mail potential clients a “Secret Code.” They can enter your site, say by giving you their e-mail address (for further contact) and their secret code, then be rewarded with a free report to download. A free ebook about you and your products or with industry news would be great, too.
Outside of the virtual world, you can measure results, too. Setup an 800-phone number just for your next campaign. See how many responses you get and where they come from. Caller ID can help identify people for you.
Have your readers request a fax. Or set up a Fax On Demand. Several fax companies even offer free or inexpensive plans like eFax.com or Send2Fax.com. Measure responses by the requests. A bonus for you: you’ll have another channel for follow up – THEIR fax number!
4. Targeted Leads for Your Sales Package
Now that your sales materials are ready for mailing, where do you send the package? Let’s go prospecting!
GoLeads.com is about the most inexpensive place around for sales leads. For $9.95 per month, you get unlimited access to download thousands of contacts based on geography, keyword search or business size. Complete lists are generated in minutes online that can be imported easily into popular database programs like Excel and Act! To generate quick mailing labels. They even offer a free month trial.
For more leads, contact people you know. It’s easier to buy from someone you know than a stranger. So check with any organizations you (or your company) are already involved with like the Chamber of Commerce, your church, gym or health club, school and community center. And ask THOSE people for referrals, too.
Some places to check for lead lists in your area, try BizJournals.com, home of Business Journals in 55 markets throughout the U.S. They sell a well-known Book of Lists and targeted business and homebuyer sales leads. Visit them online to see what they have in your area.
Need more? How about searching in organizations that you do NOT belong to? Many sell their lists. Conduct an Internet or Yellow Pages search under associations who would benefit from a product you could sell them. For instance, new businesses to the area often join the local chapter of the American Marketing Association to get help spreading the word of the arrival. Contact your local chapter and see about getting a member list. Then prepare a sales package targeting businesses to see if they have enough commercial insurance coverage. Send the CEO a motel from Monopoly and a wet wipe and ask: “Are you all WASHED UP?” to see if they have enough coverage for water leak damage.
There are hundreds of associations and organizations out there. Be creative and take a chance.
5. Follow Up Plan
Now it’s time to kick back and relax, right? NOT! It’s time to get organized. On average, a new sales lead needs contacted about five times before a sale is closed. So you need to plan a long-term strategy of follow up.
If you’re already an organized person, great. If not, check out planner systems like Franklin Covey or Day Runner supplies at a local office supply store or online. You’ll want to set up a 3-ring binder with specific day-to-day organized follow up campaign space. Small planners are “cute” but make sure you have plenty of room to take notes during telephone conversations and space to log directions to their residence or place of business to meet in person. Plan room to grow.
Next, decide on how many sales you’d like to have per day ideally. Which policies earn you more money? Which products are you more familiar with? Then plan an income strategy. For example, if you’re more familiar with term insurance, plan on selling 2 new policies per day for starters. Then plan who you will contact and how, and note on your calendar when you will follow up with contact #2, #3, etc. until you get a sale from as many people as you can on your leads list. Increase the number of calls per day when yore ready to increase calls, letters, sales, etc.
Complete with prepared scripts so that you will know EXACTLY what to say each day during your campaign. Even experienced sellers can become sidetracked and skip an important step in the presentation, so have a script or at least an outline with important sales points in bullets handy.
Get help from the pros. Companies like Franklin Covey offer online classes, books, presentations, videos and cassettes to help improve your planning skills. Ask your local librarian to help you find materials to check out. Plenty of websites offer articles for help, too. But don’t stagnate. Especially with handheld gadgets in the market today, technology can really give your planning a boost with automated log sheets for easy downloading, database solutions to keep up with your leads, and much more.
6. ROI (Return On Investment)
How are your results? If they’re not what you’re looking for, here’s what to do.
Grab a pencil and paper and go through each step in your sales process to see where improvement is needed. Take a close look at WHAT you are selling. Check your sales letter. Is it selling you and your product? Is your information accurate? Can people reach you? Ask your family, friends and coworkers for feedback. Maybe you need to sell a back-end product, too? Or a combination package: home owners, auto & life. Make your investment of time and mailing material costs count.
Check your measurement set up. Is Caller ID blocking the number for incoming calls? Is your e-mail being filtered out as SPAM? Maybe your website is down or loads slower during the night. Check and balances times. Make sure your system is working.
Check your leads. Are they current? Call the place of purchase and let them know if your mail is being returned or the phone numbers no longer work. Have them send you a new, current list or credit your account. Don’t accept lousy service for yourself.
Go over your planning system – alone and with an advisor. Find out if you can eliminate time-wasters in your schedule and do more productive work. Find your strength areas and focus on planning your schedule around them.
7. Customize Your Own Strategy
Now it’s time to make your marketing and prospecting plan unique. You don’t want to let your sales style get dated and stale. Keep it fresh. Your prospects want to share in your excitement.
Tailor a phone script around a special sale or event for the month and visit the Resource Section below for help designing a secondary follow up mailer with help from some of the pros.
Continue with your resource list by adding to it on a regular basis. Take 10 minutes a day to scan the latest marketing tips that you find on their sites. Put one into action each week to keep yourself fresh and enthused. It will rub off on your clients!
Small Business Wizards www.smallbusinesswizards.com/how_to_write_sales_letters.htm
Find lots of articles, business tips and sales / marketing aids here for your letters and prospecting scripts.
Web Source http://www.web-source.net
Find tons of helpful articles here and FREE ebooks for your prospects. Place them online and have them enter their e-mail address (for follow up purposes, of course!) to log on and download or receive via their e-mail.
Uncommon marketing Techniques, Jeffrey Dobkin, The Danielle Adams Publishing Co.,1998.
OfficeMax Business Solutions http://www.officemax.com (Go to Business Services)
BizJournals www.bizjournals.com (Go to Business Resources)
Marketing Profs.com http://www.marketingprofs.com