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Prospecting For Instant Income

who would resist?Prospecting smart is important. Why? Because the marketing of your business is just too big of an investment, too valuable an asset and too time-sensitive an activity to market any other way.

You can’t just look at a single random lead-generation campaign — done infrequently or haphazardly — and get any kind of definitive analysis as to how it will improve your business.

You can’t just focus on one ad or one letter or one commercial and hope that tweaking it will change your business.

You have to look at the whole process, from start to finish, and ask yourself:

• Who are my ideal prospects and how can I get my offer heard, seen or read by more of them?  How can I get more of them to open the envelope, call on the phone, ask for the information kit, respond?

• Does what I’m doing make sense or am I simply doing it this way because it’s how we’ve always done it?  How can I do it easier, faster, with less risk? How can I use one person or one business to reach many more of my ideal prospects while they’re in a buying mind-set?

• What method can I use that other industries use effectively, but that none of my competitors uses?

What can I do to change my prospecting so I do more of it? Lower the cost? Run smaller ads?  Supplement with free press releases?  Automate the response method so my staff doesn’t get overwhelmed with phone calls?

•  Is it easy for my prospects to say “yes” to my offer and take action?

• How can I get endorsements from my customers, vendors, competitors, business neighbors or any other business that is already serving my ideal prospect?

Prospecting the Instant Income way means not only that you run prospecting campaigns consistently, but that you use more than one prospecting method AND make it easy for buyers to say “yes” to you.

Ready for the checklist of proven Instant Income prospecting methods?  Watch for my next email and blog post — arriving in your inbox soon.

To guarantee you receive it, click below to subscribe my RSS feed.  Then, tell me about your biggest prospecting challenges: Do you find yourself constantly start-stopping? Is it too expensive to reach the people who should be buying from you?  Are you frustrated as a local retailer because ‘everyone’ could be your ideal customer?

Leave a reply below and tell me your biggest frustration in getting potential buyers to look a your product or service.

Where to Find Prospects

MarketOne thing you’ll learn as part of the Instant Income series is to pinpoint — or home in on — those folks who might be ideally suited to buy your product or service…people who, as a group, might have a need for it or an even stronger want for it.

The fact is, the number of prospects you generate (and the rate at which you convert them into customers) will almost always be higher when your message is read, heard and seen by qualified buyers vs. the unqualified masses.

That said, the flip side is also true: No matter how good your lead generation device is, your offer is or even your product is, when your message reaches an audience that doesn’t have a need or want for it, your prospecting effort will be futile.

How can the perfect universe of buyers be found?

By knowing who your ideal prospect is and then looking at who is already selling to those people you
want as customers.

Do you cater to people with a particular desire, taste, hobby, job, pet, car, business, fashion or other preference?  If so, it’s likely there are other businesses who are already selling them complementary items — luxury goods, pet care products, hobby tools and so on.

Either replicate what they are successfully doing to generate leads, rent the names of their customers, or do a joint venture with them where they endorse you and your product or service to their customers.

Let’s look at a few examples:

• A winery could rent a list of local subscribers to food and wine periodicals, then invite them to special events at the winery.

• A nutritionist could rent a list of local consumers who subscribe to fitness magazines and who buy supplements through mail order.

• Real estate agents who specialize in selling estate homes know their perfect buyer also owns an expensive car, subscribes to upscale magazines & doesn’t clean their own pool.  The names of local car buyers and magazine subscribers could be easily rented.  And there are dozens of pool maintenance companies to approach with a joint-venture deal.

• An advertising firm looking for new clients could read the Yellow Pages and easily determine that any business with a 1/2-page or larger is probably a great prospect because they already spend serious money on their advertising.

• A marketing consultant I once knew sent his receptionist to the service bay of the local Mercedes, Cadillac and BMW dealers to record which radio stations the car owners had their radio buttons set to. That’s how he determined which stations his client should advertise on.

• An antique store owner could band together with other area antique store owners to create a printed guide that would feature an ad for each store and a detailed map of how to find them.  They could even sell advertising to restaurant owners to defray the cost of printing the maps for each antiquarian.

Where shouldn’t you look for your prospects?

Anywhere “mass media” reigns — local newspapers (unless your product or service truly appeals to “everyone”), shopping carts, billboards, flyers or business cards left door-to-door or on cars in parking lots, ad packs, card packs, ad specialty items like pens and magnets, placemat advertising, and on and on.

While there are some situations where these advertising methods are advised, they’re usually just too expensive and reach too few genuinely qualified prospects.

Just keep your eye on the ball — that is, on your ideal prospect.

Building Instant Interest for Your Product or Service.

I received a great question today on my blog, and it prompted me to share something I used today for my own business…

First the comment:

Hi Janet,

I’d say that prospecting is an incredibly important and very time consuming endeavor. I’ve gotten good at one-on-one prospecting through workshop facilitation, but it is a very slow road to success doing it this way.

I need some ideas that will help me attract a much larger audience, with a much quicker turnaround time.

I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this topic.

Kathleen

Great question Kathleen, here are two ideas for you that I have used to attract large audiences:


1) Distribute a press release online.

Today, I released a press release on the challenges that small business owners — specifically those working from home — face in the current foreclosure crisis.  For this group, the struggle with making mortgage payments not only threatens their family’s home, but also the place where they conduct their business.  It’s a dual problem — and one for which Monday’s much-touted “Small Business Stimulus” holds little in the way of solutions.

As you probably heard, the new Administration in Washington announced a new stimulus plan to support lending to small businesses that was, like all political announcements, sure to get generate a lot of interest.

Because we tied the press release to a current news item, it was an instant hit.  In fact, within two hours of being released it ranked #1 on Yahoo’s small business news page and been added to hundreds of websites.  The phone has been ringing like crazy with media inquiries and prospective client calls.

The most important element of the press release was that it was based not only on newsworthiness, but also on keyword research — it included those words that small business people are searching for online.  Press releases like these also need to be written with news value in mind — it can’t be overtly promotional.

Here are the 24-hour results of the test: More »

Are You Strategically Prospecting?

A Girl and Her Mascot

Strategic prospecting means using new-business development approaches that enhance all your other marketing and sales efforts.

For example, let’s say you have a bonus or special customer benefit that seems to be the common thread helping you close sales.  Strategic prospecting means you would make sure all your marketing and advertising prominently communicates that bonus or benefit to prospects.

In fact, if you make that bonus or benefit the cornerstone of your marketing effort, you could easily have twice as many prospects… and close many more sales than you are now — because you’ve ‘pre-sold’ them with your prospecting effort.

Strategic prospecting also means that generating leads — who can later be converted into buyers — needs to be a continual, consistent process… not just an emergency effort when you desperately need more business.

This ongoing lead generating is especially difficult for consulting businesses, one-person businesses and other kinds of businesses that must stop prospecting once they land a new client or customer… in order to deliver the work.

It’s a vicious cycle, this constant stopping-and-starting.

But there are ways to prospect continually, not only so you generate potential new clients, but also so you build momentum and ‘leading expert’ status in the marketplace.

Another benefit to daily prospecting occurs when you invest in prospecting beyond what your industry “norm” has always been — when you find a new way to reach and communicate with your ideal prospects that’s different from what your competitors are doing.

Why get better at prospecting the same way everyone else does when “getting better” will improve maybe 5% to 10% — at most — upon what others have already refined?

Try something new and different, and suddenly you become a helicopter soaring over the competition — doing 25% to 500% better in your prospecting efforts.

See the difference?  Strategies from outside your industry can provide tremendous pedal power.

In my next blog post, we’ll dig into strategic prospecting in earnest by discussing how to begin looking for these prospects — including who to look for, where to find them, how to communicate with them and more.

Have you registered to get the blog feed yet?  Don’t miss what’s coming up.  Click here to subscribe to my RSS feed.

Finally, feel free to comment on what you’ve read so far. Are you beginning to think differently about prospecting and lead generation?  Tell me by leaving a reply below.

Until next time,

Janet Switzer

Help Your Customers Sell More to Their Customers

If your customers resell your products or services to someone else, the best way to improve your sales is to concentrate on helping these accounts sell more.

One way to generate instant income is to help your dealers, distributors, retailers and accounts sell more to their own database of names — through a proven strategy called “co-op marketing.”

With a co-op marketing program, you put up promotional items and/or bonuses that help your accounts sell more to their end users.

While your first reaction might be that co-op advertising is too complicated for your small business, rest assured that it doesn’t need to be.  In fact, you can create a simple program that’s easy to manage and low-cost, too.

Start by surveying your dealers and distributors with the message that you want to help them sell more.  Survey your least active accounts first.  Ask them what they need in order to sell more of your products and services:

  • Do they need training, stand-up displays, special incentives for their sales force?
  • Do they need a smaller sized package, different case quantities, or a different bundle of services than you offer?

Based on the answers you get, offer to deliver on their requests if a dealer will present a special offer to their customers.  What you’ll create is a true co-op program — meaning that both of you must take action.

Be aware that some dealers might want cash rebates made directly to dealers.  Or they may ask for manufacturer’s discounts, that are then rebated to the stores selling the product.  Avoid these cash giveaways. Investigate other ways to sell your products and services instead.

6 Ways To Encourage Customers to Generate Referrals for You

Most companies get referrals by luck, but a smart business owner will pro-actively contact his happy customers and ask for referrals to family, friends, co-workers and colleagues.  Of course, any business can develop a referral program — including consultants and professional practitioners.

How can you contact customers and ask them to recommend others to you?

  • Include a special letter in their next shipment thanking them for their business and asking them to pass along an enclosed flyer to friends and family.
  • At your website or in your e-newsletter, ask readers to forward the link to friends who can register themselves for your service. Here’s a free tell-a-friend service for your website.
  • Provide referral rewards. When a customer refers someone else, both people get a discount on services.
  • Send personalized letters to your customers who are professional practitioners asking them to mention you to their client base. Offer to provide a free consultation to any of their clients who respond.
  • Credit the customer’s account when they send you new business. Many customers could enjoy free products and services from you when they send you enough new business.
  • Promote bring-a-friend offers. When a customer brings a friend or spouse to enjoy services with them, both people get a discount. This strategy is ideal for slow days or months at your personal-services business.

Referrals typically bring in the best customers. Start your program today.

I’d be really interested in hearing how you get referrals… let me know by leaving a reply below.

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Wow.

Winding Roads - Somewhere in Arizona, USA

We’ve set a record for a Sunday… so far today there have been over 100 people per minute signing up for the Instant Income Planner.

I’ll chalk it up as a sign of the times, and that my plan is just what the doctor ordered.

I am sorry If you faced a delay in accessing the page – we’ve brought in our web server team and they are monitoring it to make sure everyone gets in.

Also, be sure to watch your email for my second part – the Instant Income 10-Day Turnaround – where you can put your whole company on a path to finding the income you need.

Janet

Creative Commons License photo credit: gTarded