Earlier this week I wrote about using a campaign as a method of touching your potential customers. And, it has come to my attention you wanted more information about exactly what you can use to effectively “touch” your potential customer as well as your current customers (good idea to also regularly touch your existing customers.).
So I thought I would provide a list of ways you can regularly touch your potential customers. This creates the top of mind awareness you want in your business relationships. So here they are…
- Success Stories
The most important tool in your tool box of engaging a potential customer. Give them evidence you have dealt with problems or issues they are currently having and watch the relationship grow.
- White Papers
Formalized reports on a topic of interest for the potential customer. It is designed similar to a success story, yet, has more detailed information and how to do something than a plain report.
- Research Results
This can be very specific product category research results to a survey results report showing ideas and potential solutions for a prospect. Usually these types of reports show how others are dealing with issues and problems and how they plan to address them.
- Industry Trends and Predictions
For your higher level prospects who need to be thinking several years into the future. Industry trends are usually based upon where the top people see an industry going in the future. And, since they are in a position to influence the future – surprise – these trend reports can be very accurate.
- Relevant Articles
Articles from trade magazines or business based magazines addressing issues the prospect is dealing with are seen as helpful by the prospect. Giving you credit for follow up and support.
The best method to stay in regular contact with all your customers and potential customers. This newsletter needs to be full of interesting articles and information designed to benefit the reader. There should be new success stories based upon your company providing the solution. This tool also allows the prospect to see how you honor and support your own people within the company.
This one is easy. Whenever there is a book that relates to something your prospect or customer is dealing with – you should recommend it – especially if you wrote it. Whether you actually purchase the book and send to the prospect is debatable. If it is a bulk purchase and mass mail out to a large number of prospects and customers – that is a difference maker.
- Referral Letters (before first contact)
A specialized and personal letter used as an introduction can be more powerful for getting an opportunity to visit with the decision maker. Use them wisely. Also, if you can get the referrer to write the letter on their letter head, it has a more powerful effect especially if the referrer tells the prospect to be expecting your phone call.
Also, this could include a series of testimonial letters from satisfied customers especially those in a similar industry or people the decision maker may already know.
Interesting little fact, postcards seem to get read. They are little and easy to view. Some people are telling me their postcards are getting a higher response rate than their letters and phone calls. And, there are really cheap these days, therefore more cost effective.
- Marketing Specialty Items
These are the little leave behinds with your logo printed somewhere on the item. Now in some cases, I have seen they used as a device to make an envelope “lumpy” those increasing the opening percentage. And, if it a handy little item, customers keep them on their desks and thus a subconscious method for name recognition. Cute and effective, try it out and measure results.
- Free Samples
The only time I recommend extensive use of free samples is when a process or product is complex, first time viewed by a prospect (no experience with it) or you need to differentiate from competitors. Using the free samples for the above reasons gives you an opportunity to have another visit for either demonstration purposes or to debrief the effect of the sample. I use this method with our assessment processes to show the power and accuracy of our reports.
An invitation to a workshop used for either training another customer or to show a particular workshop process you utilize with your customers will allow for a clearer understanding of how your help your customers.
- Executive Briefings
This is a great process if you can get the decision makers involved in the briefings . The key to the success of these types of briefings is there should be NO SELLING – only information sharing is allowed at an executive briefing. If you try to sell or get duped into answering sales based questions during the briefing – shame on you. Executive Briefings have become more difficult to get executives to come today due to others attempting to sell them at other briefings. Remember the goals is to show credibility and expertise – no selling allowed.
- Trade Association Presentation Announcements
One of the best methods to gain credibility and top of mind awareness is to be a speaker at a trade association the decision makers attend. As a speaker, the decision makers gets an opportunity to see you talk about situations and show your expertise in a public forum. Again, higher levels of credibility and increase. You know they are interesting in meeting with you when they come up after the presentation and hand you their card and ask you to contact them.
I put this on the list, yet, this is the one you must be the most careful about. In many organizations the acceptance of gifts is not allowed as part of an organizations ethics laws or regulations. Many organizations have a dollar amount cap on any gifts and in some cases do not allow their people to have any meals paid by a “vendor.” Check the rules with each potential customer before offering. You do not want to get the decision maker in trouble or have to deal with an ethic choice, or to get blackballed due to offering the gift.
Okay, there are probably a few additional ways to touch a potential customer other than the fifteen I have listed here. It is okay to find others that may be specific to your industry or the type of business you are in – product or service based.
The other part I did not mention were the use of letters and phone calls not to mention personal visits with the decision makers. Every touch counts. So, make every touch count in a positive way for your success.