I’m not THAT old.
But I clearly remember the first day that I’d broken away from my previous employer advertising agency, and was sitting comfortably at the desk in my one room headquarters, thinking – OK now’s the time for action!
I did the only thing that made sense to me. I mounted an intensive sales promotion for yours truly.
Here’s how I did it and how you can do it too …
Step #1: Pick your targets carefully
First, I created a mailing list of 400 prospective clients.
Since I was focusing on business to business organisations in East Anglia (this was pre-internet days), I picked all the biggest companies – firms I already knew about – and used the Chamber of Commerce directory to select the rest.
Now with the advent of the Internet, this research is even easier …
If I knew the name of the person in the organization who was the head of marketing, I included that in each address on my list. If I didn’t, I called 100 organisations per week and said, “I need to send a letter to the person there responsible for creating your marketing and advertising. Could you please tell me who that is?”
Step #2: Get their attention
I wrote a short, one-page personalised letter saying that next Tuesday, May 15, would be a Red Letter Day.
The DHL courier was going to deliver a very important package to him/her – a package that would bring a big bump in sales and profits. And I asked my prospect to take a quick look at it, saying that it could be the most profitable few minutes he’d spent reading in years. (You may want to do this with an e-mail – it should work even better!)
Step #3: Deliver the goods
I created a second, short letter to go out with samples of campaigns I had run for my previous employer. I introduced myself, gave a short summary of my accomplishments … said that in two weeks, I’d be filling my writing and consultancy schedule for the second half of the year … that I had some intriguing ideas for boosting his revenues and response … and asked the prospect to take a look at the enclosed material and call me to discuss it.
I told him I’d be waiting for his call, otherwise, if hadn’t heard from him by a certain date, I’d give him a ring.
Get really comfortable with your presentation
I spent time thinking about exactly what I would say if anyone responded:
- I would answer the phone on the third ring – not too eager, not too lethargic.
- I would be polite, friendly, and excited that they had called.
- I would compliment him on the stuff I’d seen coming from his organisation.
- I knew exactly what I would say if they asked, “How much do you charge?” (depends on the product and the promotion – we can discuss that later).
- I knew precisely what I wanted the next step to be – to schedule a call a few days later to discuss potential projects.
- And I knew that I’d ask the prospect to send me a ‘Review Package’ – samples of his best campaigns, issues of his newsletter, etc. – that I could study in the meantime.
Mail 100 introductory letters and 100 sample kits each week
Timing was crucial. I mailed 100 introductory letters each Monday, so my prospects would get them before the samples arrived.
And also on each Monday, I would courier 100 sample kits so the prospects who’d received my Introductory Letter the week before would get my samples exactly when my Introductory Letter said they would – on Tuesday.
I waited by the phone: I didn’t expect anyone to call. Surprisingly, a few did call.
Some politely told me they had all the marketing help they needed at the time. I’d say, “Excellent! Maybe we’ll have a chance to work together some other time.”
Some said they liked what they saw and wanted to know more – in which case, I told them a little about myself, asked what they were looking for, requested the Review Package, and scheduled a call to discuss it all with them in a few days.
Make your follow-up calls RELIGIOUSLY
I set aside at least one full day each week to get on the phone, calling all the prospects who should have called me the week before, but didn’t.
I started with the prospects I knew were the biggest advertisers and worked my way down. If the person was unavailable, I left a voice message:
“Hi James, it’s Richard Lomax. I sent you some samples of my work last week and promised to give you a call about them. I’ve got some ideas to boost your response and I’d like to share them with you. Would you give me a call?” I left my number, and said I’d be in all afternoon.
If they answered, I said, “Hi James, it’s Richard Lomax. I sent you some samples of my work last week and promised to give you a call about them. Did you have time to take a look at them?” – and things progressed naturally from there.
Every pound I’ve earned since can be attributed to this simple campaign (or a variation thereof)
Scrupulously following this plan filled my diary with new prospects. It also made a really good impression at the companies that didn’t need my services at the time, but were open-minded about their future options.
1. Everything you write to promote your Company either increases your reputation, or knocks you down below your competitors, in the mind of the prospect. So take time to make sure each communication is as compelling and interesting as possible — don’t ever think “Oh that will have to do…”. Pull out all the stops.
2. Never let them see you sweat. Coming across like you’re desperate for their business only makes you look … well desperate. Clients assume that if you were any good, you’d already be very busy. So be ready with a reason why you have availability to take on more work.
P.S. I’m preparing my work schedule for the final four months of the year, so if you’d like, we can jump on the phone together for an hour, and I’ll identify where your weaknesses are, and map out a follow-up strategy that will make BIG improvements to your sales over the coming months and years.
Simply go here to book your slot in my diary, and tell me a little bit about your business, and your ambitions and goals.