A Five Step Guide to Cultivating New Sales Prospects

A Five Step Guide to Cultivating New Sales Prospects
By Dick Rossman, Rossman Consulting

I met a print company owner recently who complained that none of his sales people ever did any prospecting.  “They’re great farmers, maintaining their accounts and servicing them well, but lousy hunters.  They don’t know how to find a new account on their own”.

This five step guide outlines a plan to uncover and cultivate those new prospects.

Research, research, research

First step is to research your prospect companies.  Select an industry that is growing and list its 10 key players.  Using LinkedIn and internet searches, discover what they do or make, who their customers are, what their communications challenges are, and determine how you can provide value to them.  Use your LinkedIn contacts and phone calls to find their print buyers.

Write an introductory letter

Give your prospect a brief reason for your letter, a brief summary about your company and background, and explain what specific value you can provide to this company.  Show your prospect that you understand its business, and explain how you and your company can help improve its performance.

Call your prospect

Call your prospect, and expect and plan for voice mail.  Write your message and rehearse it out loud.  Refer to your letter and explain one sound way that you can solve a problem you believe your prospect is facing.  Say something that shows how you can save them time, save them money or make them money.

Email your prospect

A week later send your prospect an email. Introduce yourself briefly but focus your message on sending them something they will value: an article, a video, notice of a webinar, a newsletter or blog, etc.  Begin to present yourself as an expert and a partner, not a sales person looking for an order.

Continue the cycle

Every 10-14 days send your prospect a letter or note, leave a voicemail or send an email.  Think of all of your communications from your prospect’s point of view and always provide information that they should value. It takes from 6-8 touches before a prospect may make contact with you, so be patient and follow the program.

You will succeed because you will be perceived as someone who can provide value and solutions.  Cultivation is a process, not a one-shot operation.

To see the full article, click here.

My Top 10 Musings on Marketing

  • The most popular way to lose a customer is to lose touch with him or her. Industry-specific data indicates that 60% of customer loss is due to lack of communication.
  • Whether or not you’re marketing to your customers, you can be assured that your competitors are.
  • The average person is only capable of retaining 3-5 brands per category in their memory. If you want to introduce your company into someone’s consideration, you need to push another company out of consideration. Repetition is fundamental to success.
  • The abandon rate for social media is VERY high. Beware of creating marketing graveyards. Ask me about my 3 for 3 approach.
  • Taking a committee approach to marketing often ends in failure. A group of people agreeing to disagree combined with diluted accountability rarely if every produces a positive result.
  • The cost of implementing an effective marketing program is trivial compared to the cost of not implementing one.
  • Don’t discount “little things” like birthday cards and notes of appreciation. Most sales relationships are more influenced by emotions than pricing.
  • People will give business to companies they want to give it to and then after awarding the job, find ways to justify the decision. Price is often an excuse rather than a reason.
  • Well perceived brands command a price premium of nearly 9% over brands perceived as just average.
  • Irrelevant communications contribute to customer defection and alienation. Avoid giving your brand a black eye.

Ask about our comprehensive, easy to implement marketing programs. Outbound, inbound, and social media marketing. We’ve got it all covered!

The Next Level Group Launching Additional CEO Group in May

I would encourage any owner of a printing company today to consider joining a peer group simply because businesses whose owners belong to a peer group have consistently outperformed non-members. The reasoning is that these owners have the ability to:

  • Discuss business challenges in a safe, non-competitive environment.
  • Share and garner ideas and best practices among peers.
  • Create a more focused and strategic approach towards managing their business.
  • Add a higher level of accountability which invariably leads to stronger business performance.

The Next Level Group in particular is an industry leader in this arena and is currently in the process of forming an additional group in May.

What makes them different is that they are facilitated by two successful print executives that “have walked in your shoes” starting operations and managing them for over two decades while building them into multi-million dollar organizations.

Their peer group members are reaping the benefits with:

  • Over half the members showing sales growth last year.
  • More importantly, over 80% showing increased profitability.

There is an interview process to help ascertain if this may be a good fit for you and for them. It also is a “low risk” proposition because if either side doesn’t think it’s a good fit after four meetings, your meeting fees will be refunded.

I would encourage you to check them out at– the-nextlevelgroup.com to find out more about The Next Level Group, the facilitators and what their members have to say about the peer group experience.

Three Reasons to Take QR Codes Seriously

It is amazing to me how many people still see QR codes as a fad. Whether it’s in comments to industry blogs, online discussion groups, or industry list serves, I hear it all the time.

Let me tell you why you should take QR codes seriously.

In my local Office Depot, the kid behind the counter was looking at my business card. Where a logo normally goes, I have a QR code that sends people to my website. We were even talking about QR codes, but once he saw mine, took out his phone and scanned it. Just to see what it would do.
It took about 10 seconds from taking out his phone to landing on my site.

He couldn’t have typed in the URL that fast.

I asked the kid if he’d seen QR codes before. He said yes, one of the desktop printer manufacturers had put them on its shelf talkers to point customers to product specs. Just the week before, he’d scanned his first code to see what it would do. This was his second.

As we were talking, the girl behind the counter was listening. She’d never seen or heard of QR codes, so the kid showed her what to do. Her eyes opened wide and she immediately got very excited.

“That is so COOL!” she exclaimed. “I have my phone with me all the time. That would make things so much easier. What a great idea!”

As I was leaving, the kid was helping her locate and download a reader.

Top Three Reasons
Here are three reasons to take QR codes seriously:

1. They are a natural fit for today’s mobile culture.
2. Right now, people are willing to try them out to see what they’ll do. Others are watching — and copying. Usage is growing by peer influence alone.
3. QR codes are becoming more practical. Marketers are using them in smart, helpful ways that take users to places and allow them to use them in ways that actually help them make better decisions and make their lives easier.

It’s not about novelty. It’s about making things easy.

Want to find out more about QR codes? Check out “QR Codes: What You Need to Know,” my QR code primer on benefits, case studies, and best practices. Or if you need to educate your customers about QR codes, check out Great Reach’s brandable QR code white paper, “Print’s Next Frontier.”

Top Takeaways From Dscoop6

Another Dscoop conference has come and gone. Kudos to everyone involved in making this a spectacular conference! Below are some takeaways as reported by attendees. I feel like I learn something every time I read them.

“The only way to generate dependable emotional commitment is to allow it to be self-generated.”
—Stan Slap

“Great salespeople don’t have great answers. They have great questions.”
—Skip Miller

“Know me, like me, trust me, pay me, evangelize for me.”
—Jennifer Matt

“Your peers can be one of your most valuable resources. My best learning at DSCOOP 6 came from peer sessions.”
—Dscoop Attendee

“We are living in the DIY Industrial Revolution: people-powered products and businesses.”
—Eileen Gittins

“Use everyone you talk to as a ‘vehicle to brand.’”
—Ed Wiegand Sancoa

“Create an experience your customers recognize you meant to give.”
—Stan Slap

“Everything we do is marketing. Everything that touches our client is marketing.”
—Sonia Simone

“Our beliefs drive our actions. If you’re not managing behaviors, you’re not managing your brand.”
—Gregg Lederman

“We will never create passion in our clients that we don’t have ourselves.”
—Stan Slap

“Get better at the most important things you do.”
—Brian Tracy

Three Quick Ways to Help Grow Print Sales

  • Social media can play a big role in client acquisition, retention and loyalty. It’s all about establishing credibility and building trust. Meaningful interactions with your audience are an extremely effective way to accomplish that. Keep in mind that frequency and relevant content are keys to the success of any social media strategy.
  • Search engine optimization. Increasingly, new leads will be generated via your website as search engines seek content and index your site. If you haven’t done so already, build your site around a content management system or blogging software. Many of these, such as WordPress, are free. Rather than have it read like a capabilities brochure, consider structuring your site as a one-on-one conversation with your best client.
  • QR codes. If you’re not already leveraging this inexpensive and easy-to-utilize technology to your clients, you’re missing a great opportunity to differentiate your brand and drive new print opportunities.

If you’re attending Dscoop, please stop by the Great Reach booth (332) and say hello to Patrick Whelan and Heidi Tolliver-Nigro!