As a father of four and grandpa of six I maintain a constant awareness of the environment my offspring inhabit. Like you, there is not a month that goes by where we fail to hear about incidents of abuse, many of which begin with inappropriate touching. Today I want to turn that inside-out and relate it to the selling world, by talking about “appropriate touching.”
Regardless what is being marketed, we are all constantly looking for ways to sell more. Since there are never enough company leads to achieve our goals, creative selling activity and sales lead self-generation becomes more important with each passing year. Most of my clients are in blue collar industries, so when they think about self-generated sales, they typically either pick up the phone and “dial for dollars” as a part of a cold calling campaign; or “hit the streets” by door-to-door canvassing neighborhoods where they typically sell their products or services. The main problem with this activity is that salespeople hate to do it, and it’s a low percentage shot.
Let me remind you that the best source for new customers, who by the way are the easiest prospects to talk to and the least expensive to make contact with, are your current customers. Prospecting “in the family” is less time consuming and less awkward than any form of cold calling on the phone or in person. Not only will it provide you with new sales, but also with more referrals with introductions as well as video testimonials (when you ask for them), to bolster your future selling success. The key is finding the most effective ways to communicate with them, without requiring a ton of your time, and at a reasonable cost.
I have browsed results of several different studies over the years that indicate that in order to keep your name fresh in the mind of your customers, you need to “touch” them 10-14 times each year. A “touch” is simply any communication with a client; an email, a phone call, a snail mail letter with an offer, a postcard, a Christmas card, a face-to-face meeting, a birthday greeting, an email link to an article of interest, etc.
These same studies state there is no single best way to touch customers, but rather the most effective outreach involves combining a number of communication formats. That means sending a dozen emails or a dozen postcards is not the answer, but rather a combination of the afore-mentioned variety of communications will be much more effective. To accomplish this, consider establishing a “touching” calendar to help you schedule who should receive what each month, so that you end up “touching” your customers about a dozen times each year.
It would also seem to make sense to alternate the more labor-intensive methods so as not to have to do them all during the same month. For instance, you probably shouldn’t schedule yourself to send handwritten notes to every customer during the same month, due to the amount of time required. If your business contains any seasonality, and most do, don’t schedule time consuming “touches” during your traditionally busiest month. These suggestions are fairly obvious, but sometimes salespeople overlook common sense in their zeal to make sales.
Finally, ensure that what you are sending is of interest and value to your customers, or they will quickly learn to ignore you and your communications, automatically chunking your mail in the trash or deleting your electronic offerings. As long as you communicate something they deem as positive, they will pay attention to you and your messages, which is the whole point of the exercise.
“Appropriate touching” like we have discussed in this post will require some thought and customization of content, but the payoff will be huge in terms of existing customer retention as well as add-on sales and plenty of quality referrals and testimonials.
——–Should Doug “Appropriately Touch” Your Sales Team———
Sales coaching by video chat is extremely effective, and the best part is it’s very inexpensive. No travel expense, overnight rooms, or meal charges, and your folks aren’t taken out of the field. Thirty minutes one morning each week is the only time investment. My website provides details, including a 6 minute video from an actual coaching session.
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