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I had to be reminded of this recently, which is a bit embarrassing. It doesn’t matter how many prospects you have in your “pipeline”. It’s how many people who need or want something that you sell see your message at the right time (when they are ready to buy).
With the magic of Social Media and the Internet, you can get a ridiculous amount of information. Phone number, address, contact information, who the principle players are, etc. As a result, old school sales managers salivate at the thought of having sales pipelines full of thousands of potential customers.
In reality, though it doesn’t matter much if you have 100, 1,000 or 10,000 entries in the hopper. It all still boils down to making that connection with a prospect. Saying the right thing to the right person at the right time will create success. Sending out generic email blasts to thousands of contacts isn’t likely to generate much interest. Think about it; what do you do when you see an email that says, “SAVE BIG!” “WIN A NEW CAR!” or “ALL NEW _________!” If you’re like most of us, you click delete without paying any attention.
Granted, you can save a lot of money by typing one message, adding your email list and clicking Send, rather than getting in your car, driving to your prospect’s door, and delivering the same cheesy message in person. But that’s my point. Why spend any time at all writing, saying or hand-delivering a cheesy, lazy, vanilla sales pitch that your prospects have heard a million times already? Ask yourself this: would you buy from anyone who verbally vomited a canned pitch at you?
If the answer is no, ask yourself, “what WOULD I respond to?” What message would really catch your attention? If you wanted or needed the product that you are selling, what would you want to hear someone say, that would make you buy from them?
When you start answering those questions, you are on the way to successfully marketing yourself and your product.
Once you’ve created a good marketing message, you need to develop a system of follow-up. Let’s say you do have 10,000 people in your email “pipeline”. You’ve created the best informational copy, complete with pictures, video and a great offer. Now what? You could wait by the phone like a 15-year-old girl waiting for that cute guy to call back, but there’s a good chance that won’t produce much other than an angry manager.
Realistically, you need to call back and follow-up. Probably at least 3-5 times.
A better approach is to segment your list into groups. Target each group with 3-5 products. Then, pick one product to discuss when you follow-up. Tell your prospects how the product will benefit them PERSONALLY. If after 1-2 calls, you don’t get traction, wait 2 weeks and call again with another product. Rinse and repeat.
For years, companies have used direct mail to advertise sales, showcase new products and build their brand.
However, in recent years many companies have shied away from direct mail due to the cost. The largest factor in this cost is postage. While the cost of printing has gone down in recent years ( you can get 5000 4″x6″ postcards with full-color on both sides for about $.06 each), the cost of postage has risen. Even with full CASS certification, you’re looking at 27-32 cents each to mail a postcard.
In an effort to increase the volume of mail advertising, the USPS has created a program called Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM. This program drastically reduces the cost of postage on postcards. The typical cost per piece for EDDM is 14.5 cents each, which is a 45% savings! USPS hopes that this program will create a resurgence in mail marketing.
The EDDM program has some important restrictions:
1) The mailer must be rectangular;
-Rounded corners must be no more than 1/8” radius;
-Between 6.125” and 12” High, or
-Between 11.5 and 15” Long, or
-Between ¼ and ¾” thick
2) The mailers must be hand delivered to the Post Office in the ZIP code you intend to mail to.
3) There is a minimum of 200 and a maximum of 5000 pieces per day per ZIP code.
If you have been considering doing direct mail advertising, or are already using direct mail, but want to use EDDM to save on postage, now may be the time. We can save you quite a bit on the printing, and have several sizes of mailers that are EDDM-ready. All you need to do is register with the post office and deliver the pieces to the post office. In addition to EDDM, we also provide full mailing services, including CASS certification, National Change of Address verification, mail list processing, and more for a totally turnkey operation. Call us at (800) 777-0072 for more information.
Accurate Forms & Supplies
In honor of the Nation’s Birthday, here are some interesting bits of information relating to the 4th. Enjoy!
1) The only two signers of the Declaration of Independence who later served as President of the United States were John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.
2) Both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson (bitter rivals) died on the same day, July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration.
3) Benjamin Franklin wrote in a letterto his daughter Sarah Bache in 1784:
He is a Bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly.
You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk;
And when that diligent Bird has at length taken a Fish, and is bearing it to his Nest for the Support of his Mate and young Ones, the Bald Eagle pursues him and takes it from him.
I am on this account not displeased that the Figure is not known as a Bald Eagle, but looks more like a Turkey. For in Truth the Turkey is in Comparison a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America.
He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on.“
4) There were an estimated 2.5 million people living in the newly independent nation in 1776.
Total U.S. population in 2011 is 311.7 million.
5) 87.5% ($2.8 million) of imported U.S. flags are from China.
6) 97% ($190.7 million) of imported fireworks are from China.
Source for the above material:
7) The 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence did not sign at the same time, nor did they sign on July 4, 1776. The official event occurred on August 2, 1776, when 50 men signed it.
8) Thomas McKean was the last to sign in January, 1777.
Have a safe and fun Fourth of July!
I’m in a position that many salesmen would die for. My company has a TON of products. Our line sheet has 64 items, spanning 12 categories. In total, we sell over 20,000 products from about 20 regular manufacturers. This is a stark contrast to the last two sales jobs I had, where I sold commercial energy contracts and international phone cards. Basically, in those jobs I had 1 option. If the prospect didn’t want or need it, I was out of luck.
The difficulty in having such a large variety of products is, how do I communicate everything we do to a brand new customer? If I just start spewing out a laundry list of products or categories, I usually get to about number 4 or 5 before their eyes begin to glaze over. This is actually quite funny to watch, unless you actually plan on selling them something.
As my owner reminded me yesterday, people are busy. They don’t have time to listen to a salesman drone on and on about everything they do or sell. As a salesman, you need to have a plan of attack. Know what your opening statement will be. Know what type of business it is, and what products you have that will likely interest the customer. If you have a lot of products like I do, focus on one or two that that specific customer will need or use and talk about that initially.
For example, for law firms, my owner recommended leading in with HP brand toner. This is because law firms typically use a lot of toner and we are very competitive with HP brand. I ask questions to gauge interest; such as “are you using HP printers? Do you know about HP’s current incentives?” If there is interest, I continue on that product line.
If there is not an interest, or the person isn’t using that product at all, I either ask if there is a product or service that they have trouble getting or a vendor they don’t like dealing with. If I can find a “pain” point, I might be able to get in that way.
If I haven’t struck an interest by then, I graciously bow out and leave my information. On the next call, I plan to take in a different 1-2 items to show. I continue in this fashion until the person either is interested in something or has filed a restraining order on me. All kidding aside, common wisdom seems to suggest that it takes 3-5 calls on a prospect to get a sale. If I try to sell all 20,000 products to a prospect at once, they get overwhelmed.
By spreading my message and products out over several calls, I come across as the idea guy. I’m someone who is thinking of them and their business. People respect that. The people that don’t respect it are often the people who are all about price and nothing else (a losing game for a salesman).
Be knowledgable, stay focused, follow up and truly help the customer. You’ll build your book of business faster than you think.
As salesmen, it’s easy to fall into the trap of constantly pushing your product. I recently caught myself doing this. The sad thing is, I should know better.
I got a better reality on this a few days ago when one of our vendors dropped by. I was on another call, so I wasn’t able to speak with him. I emailed him a while later, asking what his call was about. He responded that he just wanted to find out if we had any new items he needed quotes on.
While there’s nothing wrong with that, I thought to myself, did he bring me anything of value? Did he offer a solution to a problem I might have? Did he introduce a product or service that would help me with a problem? The answer to all of the above was “no.”
I have been doing the exact same thing over the past few weeks, with little or nothing to show for it. Even when I gave them information or ideas on how to use my products to increase or improve their business, I was not really offering to help them with their business. How could I, when I never found out what help they needed?
Last Thursday, I went out and simply asked what they needed help with and how I could be of service. I got 4 requests for quotes!
What do YOU need in your business? What problem is really bogging you down? What do you need to solve it? A product or service, advice, what? Let’s sit down for 15 minutes and see if I can help you. If I don’t have a product or service that will help, maybe I can offer advice or refer you to someone who can help. Then, when you DO have a need for something I provide, remember me.
I’ll end this by saying the obvious: “Can I help you?”