Are your phones not ringing? Or is it just my business? Personally, this year has been the worst experienced since I started in 2001.
We have been doing all the 'right' things consistently. Following up immediately on incoming enquiries. Informative monthly newsletters. Out networking. Yet still, actual income producing business is at a molasses drip rather than the water sprinkler of old.
The email newsletters which I have been relying on, though still effective - have significant barriers:
* People are exceedingly overloaded with things to do not enough time to read.
* Too many darn emails
* More and more company email filtering.
* Too easy to put aside and forget to take action
Well instead of boo-hooing, I've taken action.
Here are the eight steps I've just implemented to combat the extreme quiet and lay the seeds of future activity. I'm happy to share the ideas for you to adapt for your use.
Referring to the email newsletter above, I decided it was time to formalise outbound marketing. Not via advertising, but by picking up the phone. I've referred to prospecting in several of my recent columns. You might have read Cold call success, Prospecting is not evil and Using Voicemail to grow business. If not, I suggest you consider doing so.
This time though, we're not just picking up the phone. I have creating a system and documented it. It's so good, I have half a mind to turn it into a packaged saleable product!!!!
Here are my nine steps:
1. Developed a process to follow. A road plan for all the what if scenarios.
2. Bit the bullet and decided to actually increase the hours my part time right hand at the office Marnie, worked. We put on an extra day. My reasoning is that if this process makes one sale it will pay for those extra hours for a very long, long time.
3. Included an incentive for Marnie too. My wins are her wins.
4. Marnie's goal is not to get a sale. It is to get me in front of the prospective client. Staff can't duplicate your passion, your knowledge.
5. We both spent time brainstorming the right opening statements and scripts. They had to be 100 per cent what is in it for the prospective customer.
6. We reviewed and edited, edited, edited the scripts. They had to be succinct, full of bottom line benefits, and we had to have something different to say for every repeated call back (never just Marnie here again from Debbie Mayo-Smith's office).
7. I instituted a money time. That is first thing in the morning (after grabbing a cup of coffee) at 8:30 when Marnie gets in. 10:30 for Australian calls. She does nothing except our scheduled call backs and emails. All other activities are for later on, after the focused money time. At the end of the day, Marnie prepares her follow up list for the next morning so it's ready to be immediately worked. This is an important step as it's easy to waste time fixing lists, looking through emails, doing new items that come in.
8. It is next to impossible not to lose track of follow ups who to call, when, what number follow up is it with not hearing back from them. So with careful thinking, I came up with what has turned out to be an excellent and fool proof Excel system. The only requirement is on the human side you have to be religious about noting down your activity as it occurs.
9. We're careful not to overload. So we are keeping a manageable working list of about 25 prospects at a time. As some come off, we add new ones on.
We have had this process fully in place two weeks now. So far Marnie has set five very good appointments.
Now it's up to me to close the deal.
I, as well as all the readers would love to know what are you doing about generating new business? Please write in and share it with everyone.