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Push Your Advertising and Prospecting Efforts up a Notch

Follow these 3 steps to entice new prospects to do business with you.

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Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Q:I've started an insurance business. I need my prospects to knowthat the value I offer is different from my competitors, and I wantto get the most business from my advertising and prospectingefforts. What do you suggest?

A:Your question tugs at the essence of what's important forthriving, and even surviving, in business today. Let me suggestthree power steps you can take to the street and thebank:

Step 1: The power offamiliarity.
Help your prospect become extremely familiar with you and yourorganization prior to meeting you. The key operative word here is"prior."

Marketing research tells us that if a person sees and/orexperiences a product or idea seven times, they are then familiarwith that item or concept. When answering prior questions, I'veshared the power of sending correspondence such as letters, faxes,e-presentations and the like. What I'd like to suggest here isthat you create a wave of familiarity around you and your products,services and solutions before your first prospecting call.

Truth be told, your organization would have to spend manymillions of dollars to establish that kind of brand awareness forevery prospect in your sales territory. But you and I can pull itoff at a mere fraction of that cost. I've always felt that itshould be a key priority to do this kind of local brand awarenesscampaign. The following sequence of events can help you establishthe prospect's familiarity with you and your company and thevalue you can deliver.

Create a "wave" of no less than seven pieces ofcorrespondence sent to your prospect as the relationship unfolds.These can include, but need not be limited to, the following:

  1. A letter that either introduces your ideas and value orannounces an accomplishment in your prospect's niche orindustry. (Then you make a phone call.)
  2. An e-mail with a suggested "agenda" and the date andtime of the first appointment. (Then you make a phone call)
  3. A confirmation of the first appointment date, time andlocation. Now you actually have your first appointment with theprospect. Follow with:
  4. A thank-you note after the first appointment.
  5. A note confirming the action items from the first appointment.(You may want to follow this with a phone call to make sure all isagreed upon.)
  6. An e-mail with a suggested "agenda" for the secondappointment. (Then you make a phone call to confirm thesepoints.)
  7. A confirmation of the second appointment date, time andlocation. (Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of a cashregister.)

Now that's what I call familiarity. Let's take a look atthe next power step to win the sale quickly.

Step 2: The power ofurgency.
For your prospects, the element of time is deeply interwoven withevery reward and every fear. Time is the critical factor. You mustclearly articulate how time intensifies the feeling of a specificreward or a specific fear.

Before you show up for your first appointment, I urge you tocalculate your estimate of the total potential value of yourproducts, services and solutions to your prospect. Once you havecompleted this task, you need only to find out what this prospectis motivated by--reward or fear--and when they must take action toachieve a specific reward or avoid a specific fear. You canaccomplish this by asking a question along these lines:

"Mr. Smith, what's personally important to you aboutmoving your operations to southern Florida between now and the endof this fiscal year?" Notice the use of the word"personally," which tells you the "what," andthe incorporation of time, which will give you an idea of the"when."

If you hear something like this--"If I don't, the costof union labor here in New Jersey will drive me out ofbusiness"--then Mr. Smith is making an attempt to avoid fear.Position your solution as the antidote to that fear, and what youpropose will be perceived as urgently important.

If you hear this--"Being located in southern Florida willput me closer to my Central American marketplace and keep me a stepahead of my competition"--then Mr. Smith is making an attemptto obtain a reward. Position your solution as the means to thisreward, and what you propose will be perceived as urgentlyimportant. Once you set the urgency factor, you can move quickly topeak the prospect's curiosity about you and your products,services and solutions.

Step 3: The power ofcuriosity.
Do everything you can (ethically, of course) to raise the level ofyour prospect's curiosity in your business, whether it's inyour correspondence, over the phone or during in-person meetings.In your correspondence, use phrases like: "There's muchmore to discuss that I would prefer to go over in person," or"We were able to deliver an X percent increase in sales forABC Co., while reducing their marketing expenses."

During a phone conversation, mention upfront that before the endof the call, you'll want to disclose an important benefit tothis prospect for the over accomplishment of a certain goal, planor objective. Say, "Please remind me to cover..." or"Before we reach the end of our call, we'll talkabout...".

In person, during your first appointment with your prospect, saysomething very similar to the phrases below (and use them in placeof the typical ice-breaker we've all been taught to use):"In just a moment, we can explore what 65 of the Fortune100..." or "Before too long, let's make sure we talkabout...".

There you have it: three simple ways for substantiallyincreasing sales revenues with little increase in your cost ofsales.

Tony Parinello is the author of the bestselling book Selling to VITO, the Very Important TopOfficer. For additional information on his speeches and hisnewest book, Secrets of VITO, call (800) 777-VITO orvisit www.sellingtovito.com.


The opinions expressed in this column are thoseof the author, not of Entrepreneur.com. All answers are intended tobe general in nature, without regard to specific geographical areasor circumstances, and should only be relied upon after consultingan appropriate expert, such as an attorney oraccountant.

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