The process of making sales can be broken down into two basic functions: Marketing and Selling. For our purposes we will define marketing as all activities that are undertaken in order to generate leads. We will define selling as the actual person to person communication with leads when we discuss their needs and ask for the sale.
Marketing can take many forms, from cold prospecting to advertising, to getting referrals and so on. The key to success is usually to move away from cold prospecting where you feel resistance at every turn; rejection is common; you get “shopped” against competitors; and you waste tons of time working with leads that simply aren’t ready and instead develop a marketing system that attracts prospects to you naturally. If you do this properly, you will get to a point where qualified prospects who are predisposed to work with you come to you asking for assistance.
One way to implement this is to use advertising that actually works. You can do this by changing your advertising from “Brand Name” style advertising to direct response style marketing that is focused on return on investment and uses copy that expresses the benefits the prospect will receive.
In a perfect world the lead would smoothly move from the first phase to the second and life would be grand. Unfortunately, life is not that easy. The leads that will be generated will always be spread across the continuum from being hot and ready to take action to luke-warm and just starting the research process and everywhere in between. The question then is what to do with the ones that aren’t ready. In many cases this will be the majority of the leads. Having some form of customer relationship management system is critical to make the most of these leads and using attraction marketing.
Your follow up system should be designed to continue providing helpful information to the prospect in a way that keeps them moving along the sales continuum and sets you up as the helpful expert that they can look to for guidance. With a good customer relationship management system most of this follow up can be automated and take the form of direct mail, email, voice broadcast and fax broadcast. Each communication would, of course, encourage the prospect to call you directly if they have questions or are ready to make a decision.
This way when you talk to them personally they feel like they already know you, they are well aware of how you do business and what you can provide and they are predisposed to do business with you.
By Andrew Adamson