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Grow Your Business Using Effective Customer Contact


Business executives are always looking for ways to grow their business, and you are probably on this list as well. I know I’m certainly looking for ways to continue building my business every day. This requires us to think about how to touch our prospects and customers to get the valuable “Top-of-Mind” status we need for success.

Since I get a steady stream of questions regarding how to “touch” prospects and customers, I felt it was time to share my favorite methods used to effectively get the attention of our prospect/customer’s minds. Below I've listed fifteen ways to effectively “touch” your potential customer as well as your current customers.

Most everyone knows the use of emails and letters can be utilized to connect with customers, the question is what do you place in the emails and letters? In order for these things to actually be read, you have to provide valuable content. The biggest mistake people make is always pushing “the deal of the week” on their customers. After a short period of experiencing these valueless activities, they stop opening your stuff – delete or trash is their immediate top of mind choice.

Your touches must become a valuable resource for your prospects to first open and later look forward to receiving. There are at least fifteen clear choices of actions you can take to drive value and the elite “Top of Mind” status you desire.


Fifteen Ways to Touch Your Potential Customers

  1. Success Stories
    The most important tool in your toolbox of engaging a potential customer is a success story. Give them evidence you have dealt with problems or issues they are currently having and watch the relationship grow. When placed in a story format, the customer actually “sees” themselves in the situation with you solving their problem.
  2.  
  3. White Papers
    These are formalized reports on a topic of interest for the potential customer. It is designed similar to a success story, yet has more detailed information on how to do something than a plain report. One of the best uses is to educate or re-educate a customer on a better method for their business – a quick door opener for discussion and dialogue with a highly interested and motivated prospect.
  4.  
  5. Research Results
    These can be anything from a very specific product category research result 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. Helping to connect the dots for your solution is your responsibility in the letter or request to meet.
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  7. Industry Trends and Predictions
    For your highest level prospects who need to think several years into the future, industry trends and predictions immediately get their attention. 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.
  8.  
  9. Relevant Articles
    Articles from trade magazines or business-based magazines addressing issues the prospect is dealing with are often seen as helpful. By sharing other points of view, it shows you are thinking about their well being rather than just selling them something. Today, this is more of a requirement than an option.
  10.  
  11. Newsletters
    The best method to stay in regular contact with all your current 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. Limit selling to either board ads or at the end of the newsletter highlight a product or service. Remember, these are NEWS letters not Sales letters.
  12.  
  13. Books
    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.
  14.  
  15. 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 letterhead, it has a more powerful effect especially if the referrer tells the prospect to be expecting your phone call.

  16. 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.
  17.  
  18. Postcards
    Here's an 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.
  19.  
  20. Marketing Specialty Items
    These are the little leave behinds with your logo printed somewhere on the item. In some cases, I have seen them used as a device to make an envelope “lumpy” thus increasing the open percentage. And, if it is a handy little item, customers keep them on their desks and it provides a subconscious method for name recognition. Cute and effective, try it out and always measure your results.
  21.  
  22. Free Samples
    The only time I recommend extensive use of free samples is when a process or product is complex, it is the 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. More importantly, when the customers sees how to use it themselves, the first order moves at a faster pace.
  23.  
  24. Workshop
    An invitation to a workshop used for either training another customer or to show a particular process  will allow for a clearer understanding of how you help your customers. It can often open their minds to new possibilities for implementation in their organization.
  25.  
  26. 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 today due to others attempting to sell them at other briefings. Remember the goal is to show credibility and expertise – no selling allowed.
  27.  
  28. 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 attended by decision makers. As a speaker, the decision makers gets an opportunity to see you talk about situations and show your expertise in a public forum. Again, you receive higher levels of credibility and increased confidence in your level of expertise. You know they are interested in meeting with you when they come up after the presentation and hand you their card and ask you to contact them. TIP: Get your smart phone out and set a time with them on the spot.
  29.  
  30. Gifts
    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 ethical choice, or to get rejected due to offering the gift.
  31.  
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. One specific arena I left out is social media outlets. Today, you must be careful in entering these domains due to the high level of personal agendas and debates clouding the airwaves of these venues. Focus on the ones actually used by your customers and prospects if you choose to use the social media regularly.

The other part I did not mention were the use of 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 and grow your business faster. For more information, you can download my free report on Aligning Sales & Marketing for faster Revenue Growth now.

Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect and Sr Business Advisor/CEO for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He can be reached at 901-757-4434. Or use this link to schedule a future call with Voss to discuss your business growth.

Posted: 8/3/2016 7:30:00 AM | with 0 comments
Filed under: Business, Contact, Customer, Graham, Grow, Voss, Your




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SMALL BUSINESS
Your business may be small, but that doesn't mean that your impact can't be huge! The Greater Memphis Chamber's Small Business Council serves to encourage, support, recognize and be a resource to small- and medium-sized businesses in the Memphis area. Here, our talented panel of contributors will present big ideas that could make a huge difference to your small business. And don't be afraid to ask questions ... no matter how small.

CONTRIBUTORS
VOSS GRAHAM
Sales & Small Business Ownership
Voss W. Graham is CEO and Senior Business Advisor for InnerActive Consulting Group Inc. He is known by his clients as "a knowledgeable partner who helps our team achieve business growth." He provides practical experience as a small business owner for over 29 years, yet is often engaged with Fortune 500 companies in the development of their people and business strategies.

OBSIDIAN PUBLIC RELATIONS
Public Relations
Several professionals and strategists from the local Obsidian Public Relations firm provide excellent advice on everything from research to media relations to event planning. They believe that all companies, no matter how big or small the company or its budget, should have a public relations plan driving how they manage their relationships with key stakeholders. Public relations is an integral part of doing business the right way.

JOEL MYERS
Human Resources
Joel Myers is a career Human Resources professional, with over 40 years in the field including 26 years in consulting.

TOM PEASE
Small Business Advice
Tom Pease is a small business owner of an office equipment dealership called e/Doc Systems, Inc. He has also owned a full-line Kawasaki dealership as well as a document shop. He used 30+ years of experience in owning a business to author two books, including: Going Out of Business by Design: Why 70% of Small Businesses Fail and Small Business Survival 101. He also has published 85 columns in The Memphis Daily News as the Small Business Advisor.

LORI TURNER-WILSON
Marketing & Public Relations
Lori Turner-Wilson is CEO and Founder of RedRover Company, a sales development, marketing and PR consulting firm. Lori works with companies large and small, from start-ups to mature organizations, to help them improve the productivity of their sales force and the return on their marketing investment. Lori writes a weekly syndicated column for the Daily News, Memphis News, Nashville Ledger, and Desoto Times, among others, titled “Guerrilla Sales & Marketing,” for which she won a 2011 Summit International Award and 2012 International Communicator Award.

INFERNO
Design and Digital Strategy
Founded in 1999, inferno provides brand development, advertising, public relations, design and digital marketing services to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Headquartered in Memphis with a satellite office in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the award-winning firm produces results-driven work by passionately combining strategic thinking, creativity and culture to ensure the success of its clients. For more information, visit www.creativeinferno.com.

FISHER PHILLIPS LLP
Labor & Employment Law
Fisher Phillips attorneys are ready to help you take a stand: in court, with employees and unions, or with competitors. Fisher Phillips has the experience and resolve to back you up. That's why some of the savviest employers come to the firm to handle their toughest labor and employment cases. The firm has 350 attorneys in 32 offices, including Memphis. For more information, visit www.fisherphillips.com.

PARAGON BANK
Finance
Since its founding in 2005, Paragon Bank has maintained a solid focus on the community and customer service. For more than 10 years, Paragon has delivered innovative products and financial expertise, convenience, and a deep understanding of what both businesses and individuals need from a ban, in order to provide solutions that make a difference. In the areas of business or personal banking, lending options or wealth management, Paragon delivers cutting edge technology, an experienced team and the most service-oriented staff of any community bank.



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