By Robert Middleton - Action Plan Marketing
Quick Marketing Review: "How to Get Clients in Four Steps"
1. You make a connection with a prospect, say, through networking or a referral.
2. You send some additional information to educate them about your business and services.
3. You follow up and talk more to learn about each other.
4. You have a selling conversation and the prospect becomes a client.
Independent Professionals, in the beginning stages, are lousy at all four steps. They are terrible at making good connections; don't have any good information to send; avoid follow-up like the plague; and couldn't sell their way out of a wet paper bag!
However, if you master these four steps, you'll have as much business as you can handle.
Today, let's focus on just one of these steps, "sending some additional information." Here's how it works and what you need to do for the best results:
When you connect with someone who looks like a qualified prospect, and the conversation indicates that they are interested, very few people know exactly what to do next.
"Do I set up an appointment, get a card and follow-up later, give them a card and hope they call me, or try to sell them in that first conversation?"
None of those.
When someone is interested in what you do, they want one thing and one thing only: more information. They want to know about you and your services and see if you're real, credible and valuable.
And the very best way to provide this information?
Send them an article or report. But don't just send it, tell them, "I wrote an article that I think you'd enjoy. It's called the 'Ten Biggest Mistakes Technical Managers Make.' Can I send you a copy?"
Guess what? They will say, "Yes!" Remember, they want information and you just offered it. And since so few people do this, they are delighted. But what do you put in this article?
Writing A Winning Article
There are many article formats, but today I'm going to share just one. I call it the "Ten Mistakes Article" as I used in the example above.
A Ten Mistakes Article is effective for five reasons:
1. It focuses on a problem, on what doesn't work. This is always attention-getting. It addresses real issues people are dealing with now and that's always interesting and compelling.
2. It gives a specific number - ten mistakes - which is easy to deal with. You could just as easily use another number as long as it's under ten. Seven Mistakes, Nine Mistakes, etc.
3. The solution to these mistakes is not stated but implied. If you know the ten mistakes, you probably also know the ten solutions and that makes you an expert.
4. It is easy to read and complete. Many articles don't get read to the end. By breaking it down to those ten mistakes (1/3 to 1/2 page for each), you make it very easy to digest.
5. It's easy for you to write. In workshops I've given people 45 minutes to write such an article and most people managed a decent first draft in that time.
All you need to figure out is, "What ten mistakes?" This is simple. Just base it on your primary business service.
If you teach presentation skills for leaders, your title is, "Ten Mistakes Leaders Make in Giving Presentations." If you are a process improvement consultant, your article is called, "Ten Mistakes That Sink Process Improvement."
The article starts with a few paragraphs that give an overview, then outlines the ten mistakes and the basic solution to each. Don't worry about "giving away the store." You're not writing a book, but an article that's five to six pages long.
This article will highlight your expertise and position you as someone who knows what the problems are and how to solve them. You can accomplish this all with one good article. You can even turn this article into a presentation.
Once you've offered this article to your prospect, you've paved the way for a follow-up: "I'd like to get your feedback on the article and also learn more about your business. Can I give you a call next week?" If you've made a good connection they will be happy to hear from you.
The More Clients Bottom Line: The "Ten Mistakes Article" format is a timeless formula that works. Write an article like this for your business and use it to make the transition from an initial connection to a follow-up call and ultimately a selling conversation.
How have you used articles to leverage your connections? Please share on the More Clients Blog.