Let your potential client know how you can positively impact his or her life.
Explain how your product or service will improve the life of your potential client. For example, when someone asks me, “What do you do?” my first thought is almost always to explain, “I’m a writer and consultant.” Unfortunately that response rarely piques the interest of potential clients. Instead I’ve learned to answer, “I POWERFULLY communicate business messages to get results.” This answer not only grabs their attention but stimulates more questions about how I might help that particular prospect.
Action item: Develop your value response to the question, “What do you do?”
When you describe what you can do for a potential client they are more likely to be interested in what you do. After all, it’s all about WIIFM – What’s In It for Me! My friend Ray is a dynamic individual. Coincidentally he runs Interlink a faith based organization. I recently overheard someone ask Ray what he does. Ray quickly replied “I help seniors and others stay in their homes as long as possible.” The person asking the question was immediately touched and wanted to know more. By providing just enough information to increase curiosity, Ray quickly gained interest and a new volunteer for his organization. Ray also learned of a senior in need through this interaction. You can follow this same strategy. Always provide information that is of value even if the prospect doesn’t schedule an appointment or need your services right now. The idea is to partner with customers to help them - not to trick them into services they may not want or need. Action items: Develop a response to further inquiries about your business or service and provide valuable information to potential customers that helps turn interest into appointments .
There will be customers you cannot help because their needs don’t fall within the scope of the services you provide. It’s a given. There will also be customers you don’t want to work with then provide a reference to someone else.
Keep a list of contacts handy so you can refer them elsewhere. Try to provide at least three contacts so they have a variety of providers to choose from .
Action item: Develop a list of referral sources you can provide as added value to customers you can’t assist
This may seem simple but oftentimes even network savvy people forget to gather business cards. Make sure to have a supply of your own cards on hand and trade cards with contacts you meet.
Discreetly made notes on the back of their business card when you were done speaking.
Now when you pull up his card, it jogs your memory about your conversation.
Action item: Make sure you have your own business cards on hand at all times. Start collecting cards when networking and noting possible projects and interests on the back of business cards. Consider creating notes in a “tickler file” if the cards are two sided leaving no room for notes. Staple your notes to the card itself.
One way to follow up without being a pain is to be on the lookout for articles or information that may be of interest to the potential customer. Clip it out and mail it or e-mail to them with a brief note letting them know you’re thinking of them. About one week later, give them a quick call to make sure they received the information.
Action item: Choose one prospect and send him or her an article of interest today. Make a note to follow up with a phone call in one week. Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the response. After all, you are providing something of value for nothing
When you’re running your own business, it’s easy to get caught up in day to day operations. It’s also easy to forget some of our best references and (possibly even clients) are our friends and family. Be sure to keep in touch and let them know what you’re trying to accomplish.
Action item: Never assume that everyone knows and understands what you are doing. Make a list of friends and family who may not be aware of what you do professionally. Send them a personal note along with business cards to ask for their help in prospecting. They could inadvertently become your top sales people
One of the first things we’re taught as children is to say “please” and “thank you.” Oddly enough it’s one of the first things that many business people forget.
People need to feel appreciated and valued when you let them know they are appreciated and valued. Continue to build relationships even after the sale by sending thank you cards or gifts. A little kindness will go a long way. Also, don’t forget to thank those who have done work for you.
Action item: Recall someone you have worked with lately you haven’t thanked. Then follow up right away.