I´m back from a two week vacation and would like to start the week of by sharing some tips for not only jump starting your cold calling campaign but your business income as well.
True business development success begins with consistency. Here is a step by step plan for making sure that you keep your name in front of prospects and generate more clients. These steps are in the order or approximate order in which I think they work best. However some of them can be done unilaterally.
Obtain a list/Cold Call/Verify
Obtaining a list to cold call from is easier and more inexpensive than you think. Start by looking into local chamber websites for contacts. Most will list a directory of their members which often includes key personnel and their e-mail. You can also do an industry search on Google to see what listings pop up. The bottom line is that there is no need to pay for a list if you don’t have to. Once you’ve gathered enough names to begin calling you need to verify the decision makers. This can be anyone from the CEO of the firm to the controller depending on who makes the final decision for whatever you’re selling. Once you know the person’s name and have verified the address etc,you’ll need to…..
Send out 2-500 Direct mail pieces per week
The direct mail approach is still one of the best ways to reach new prospects. You can do something as simple as a flyer or as complex as a corporate identity piece. I suggest going to http://www.vistaprint.com/ for your materials. They offer everything from postcards to business cards to web site creations, all for a nominal cost. By sending out 2-500 pieces you’ll usually get less than a 1% ROI by not calling afterwards but a higher percentage by following up on each and every one you send. Even if you can’t call everyone in one sitting, just the fact that you’re calling them at all will produce results.
It’s important that you get your name in front of people on a regular basis. One way to do that is thru direct mail pieces like postcards or direct mail pieces. If you´re going to send out envelope sized direct mail pieces, don’t forget to contact your local Business Journal’s circulation dept. for discount coupons to mail to prospective clients. (See next step.) They are always looking to increase their circulation and will often cut you a deal on your own subscription.
Contact your local/trade business newspapers or magazines about offering your prospects discount coupons
Because I promote the San Francisco Business Times and Crain´s Chicago Business at my workshops, I´ve managed to build a wonderful partnership with both publications. Offering coupons provides several functions.
A. It adds value to your product/service
B. It keeps your firms services/products in the fore front of a prospect´s mind
C. The publication will often give you a certain percentage off your subscription making it virtually free (SF Business Times deducts several weeks off my weekly newspaper subscription for every coupon they receive with my name on it. So far the publication has cost me nothing over the last several years.)
D. It´s a great direct mail stuffer and makes it more difficult for a prospect to toss your information because of its association with a reputable publication.
E-mail 2-500 prospects per week.
There are a lot of thoughts and controversy surrounding e-mail and spam. But the bottom line is that it is still one of the fastest, easiest and most cost effective way to reach new and current prospects if done correctly. The trick is that you should e-mail without fail every week and have a fresh batch of e-mails every week as well. Check local business directories, chamber websites, and company websites for listings of e-mails.
Follow up on those dm pieces that you’ve sent with a phone call. It´s amazing how many people send out direct mail but never follow up on them. It’s also surprising the number of business owners who think sending literature is a waste of time. To me, sending literature is only as effective as the energy and willingness to follow up on it. You always want to make sure of three things when you do follow up. 1. Make sure the prospect has actually received the piece. 2. Make sure the prospect has read the piece. 3. Make sure you ask what the prospect thought of the info and services. It makes no sense to address envelopes, buy stamps and send pieces if you’re not going to determine that the prospect has even read your information. And while you’re at it, go through your database to mine it for prospects you haven’t contacted in a while. Be sure to always verify contact info before sending literature if possible. It´s a great time to update your database also. Set aside on average 6-9 hours per week to make calls. This includes referrals, cold calls, warm calls and e-mails.