I was working on my prospect list yesterday. Making calls, sending emails, following up. I actually spent quite a bit of time and made a lot of connects. I even closed a new client! It was cool to make a sale but something better happened. I got a compliment. Several in fact. But all related to the same thing. A couple of my prospects enthusiastically thanked me for all the excellent information I had sent to them.
At first I tried to remember what I sent. Because this was the first time I’d had a live conversation. And I had only sent one email. Oh yeah, my autoresponder! For the last week or so since they initiated contact, I’ve “sent” about 5 emails containing targeted and relevant information about my product. More importantly, it’s about their need.
They inquired on my website about pricing. I gave them solutions, answers. They never would have asked many of the questions. But I predicted what was in their mind and proactively answered. This forethought immediately launched me to the top of their list for new suppliers. One even said, “I’ve talked to several other companies and none of them gave me any kind of information.” That’s because they just focus on price. I understand that price is NOT the only factor. People want solutions to a problem first.
As I reflected on this, I realized how few companies do it! I have joined dozens of organizations, bought thousands of products, used hundreds of services. I can count on ONE HAND how many continued to follow-up with me. Usually I’ll get one call. Maybe two. If the salesperson can’t close me, he never calls again. Loser. No solutions. No answers. No real help.
I told Carolina about the compliments I received and she said, “I’d read emails related to my work. If they gave me ideas to do a better job.” Of course she would. Every word. So would you. And so will your prospect. You’re leaving a fortune on the table by NOT doing this. And don’t give me the time excuse.
Do you want to be top of your prospect’s list?
Answer their questions before they ask. Show them that you understand the burning need in their heart. You already know it. After 203 months in any industry, you should know the top 10 questions people ask.
You’ve probably already answered them in an email. Go back and find what you wrote. Polish up the text. Make it sound conversational. Keep it short, concise, and easy-to-read. Avoid overly-technically terms. Break it down into single topic sections.
Now here’s the million-dollar part. Create and autoresponder with this valuable information. Every time a prospect initiates contact (or you do), add them to the list. You system will kick off a sequence of emails that continue to information and dazzle your prospects for as long as you want.
The best part is, you do nothing! You can be sipping mai-tai’s and watching matinees. These emails are little soldiers, fighting to keep you on top.
If you do it right, you’ll do less work and make more money. Here are a few tips on doing it right.
1) Answer questions
Don’t try to tell prospects what you think is important. They don’t care. You’ll quickly lose them. Don’t blabber about your company’s history, or manufacturing practices, or the president’s favorite child. Give them laser-targeted information that’s relevant to them.
Identify the top 3-4 needs of your target market. Frame all your content around those needs. No exceptions.
Create a simple map of the autoresponder. This looks like the milestone maps I teach. I usually send several emails within the first few days. This assures a higher open and read rate. I’m still fresh on their mind. Then I’ll taper off the emails to about three days to one week apart for a few months. After that maybe down to once per month. I try to have all autoresponders go out for a full year (30-40 messages).
Also, it’s not all about sales or closing. A good balance is about 80% information (relationship building), and 20% sales pitch. I get emails from a computer company once per week. Never open them. It’s always just ads.
Keep your content fresh so they keep reading.
Ah! No! I’m not a writer! Oh, shut up. Do you want success? Become a writer. At least well enough to answer a few simple questions. If you can’t (or won’t), get out of sales. The entire sales profession is centered around the ability to communicate. If you really struggle at this, you probably should quit. Can you talk? Have you ever once answered a prospect’s questions with your voice? Perfect! Speak the answers and transcribe. That’s writing. Seriously, it’s that easy.
4) Stay on it
Every couple weeks, go review your content. Make sure you are saying the right stuff. If something changes in your industry, update a message. If you get a new question, add a message. And most important, make sure you consistently add ALL new prospects to the autoresponder. Let it do the work for you.
Autoresponders are not a substitute for personal touch. They are a compliment. They’ll make your personal touch more powerful. I like that it keeps my top of mind so when I call, they remember me. Many times they thank me. Changes the entire mood of the relationship. Instead of a salesperson, I’m a friend, mentor and consultant. A much better position to sell from.